Happiness, Inc.

spring

Spring has sprung. Just like the flowers opening up on the trees, everyone seems to be out, smiling, happy (even if it’s barely warmer than L.A.’s coldest day). So, when I happened upon this article about happiness in the New York Times Sunday morning paper, it seemed too timely not to discuss. The article is about the author Sonja Lyubomirsky and according to her you have a happiness set point. She says it’s partly encoded in your genes and that no matter what happens, good or bad, you’ll always end up back at your set point. Well shit. I can just see this weekend’s happy New Yorkers out enjoying their favorite cup of coffee, reading that article and their smile deflating.

Having spent the last six months heavily devoted to practicing meditation and gratitude, I have to say, my experience has been very different. While by no means a research psychologist with a Ph.D, and my sample size is all of one, I can positively say that I’m happier, more alive feeling and joyful than ever before in my life. Anxiety especially has been a constant pillar of my emotional makeup since forever, and it’s such a relief to feel, well, essentially the opposite. I’m still new at this, still learning, but I can’t read an article like that and not want to discuss it. It also makes me wonder if Sonja factors in the soul to her research.

So, if any of my readers have any interest in meditation, please let me know, I’m *happy* to discuss. Also, here are some books that I love and are great intros to living a more whole-hearted life:

The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama

Everyday Grace by Marianna Williamson

Quiet Mind: A Beginners Guide to Meditation 

**I’ll update you on my favorite, fantastically inspirational podcasts next week

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6 comments

  1. I don’t believe that article either. While I do think genes have a factor in anxiety or depression. I think that you can always take action to better your life. I have spent a lot of time thinking about this very subject. And I know for me being happy is a definite journey. I used to think it meant, the right relationship, the right job, the right life. Now it means taking time away to smell the roses and being kinder to myself. Part of happiness is realizing that while you don’t have control over circumstances, the way you view or handle them is in your control. Also, being happy is not complicated. That also took me awhile to learn, the things that make me the most happy are really basic…sleeping in, a really good cup of coffee, a heart to heart with my mom or sister, etc. FYI: having a ph.d. does not make anyone an expert on happiness. It’s a individual concept and different for all of us.

  2. I believe that opposites define each other. So if you are unbearably sad at one point you have full capability of being equally unbearably happy at another point. I guess i would modify her statement in saying that everybody probably does have a hapiness set point (although genetics doubtfully plays a part) but it is created by life expierances and you have the capability of retuning to your happiest state whenever you truly have the desire to.

  3. I need to catch up on these issues but you clearly are very serene, and it is so refreshing. If I can get half way to where you are I will also be a lot happier able to rely on myself. Thanks so much for your blog and it’s daily wisdom!

  4. I’m obviously new in this but i like meditate, i try to practice gratitude on a daily basis and i’ve just finished Cold Tangerines and The Happiness Project.
    I definitely love seeing (reading) happy people and i do like your blog a lot 😉

  5. I definitely have always been plagued with anxiety all of my life. Most especially when I lived in NYC where I grew up. I just wanted to do a million and 1 things. I have, as of late, learned gratitude and am still working on meditation. Acupuncture helps me with anxiety as well. As Denise said above, everything begins with loving yourself, and taking time to appreciate the simplest things in life……..Thanks for the book tips above. Love your blog.


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