Category Archives: Happiness

If You Want to Be Happy . . . Find the Meaning in Your Life

If You Want to Be Happy...Motivational psychology hinges on the idea that understanding what is most important to any individual person is the key to changing behavior. I’ve heard this idea referred to as mission, as purpose. It’s easy to think that following your mission and living your purpose would mean happiness, but what if it doesn’t? Continue reading If You Want to Be Happy . . . Find the Meaning in Your Life

Controlling Your Way to Happiness?

PRIVATE PROPERTYIn some ways, control is at the heart of the most common clinical approaches to mood disorders like depression. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), the “gold standard” talk therapy for depressive disorders, focuses on controlling one’s reactions to troubling events. By exerting control over thoughts (cognitions), people can gradually reduce their negative emotional responses to events. Eventually, the process becomes more automatic and the person is, hopefully, able to reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms of depression. Continue reading Controlling Your Way to Happiness?

The Secret Ingredient to a Lasting Marriage? Kindness.

The Secret Ingredient to a LastingIt seems silly to say this. The person you marry is supposed to be the person you love most. Of course you would be your kindest, most giving self to that person, right?

In reality, people show their prickly sides to their spouses. We become confident that we are loved and as a consequence don’t always put as much effort into nurturing the relationship. Continue reading The Secret Ingredient to a Lasting Marriage? Kindness.

Finding Happiness By Settling

Finding HappinessChoice is a funny thing. Having autonomy is one of our basic shared human needs, and depriving people of choice certainly leads to unhappiness. On the flip side, too much choice is paralyzing, and can lead to regret and rumination if people feel they haven’t chosen correctly.

I recently came across an article in The Atlantic that framed the path to happiness as being ok with some choices being “good enough” rather than perfect. Continue reading Finding Happiness By Settling

Using Art to Connect with People

Using art toA few weeks ago, I wrote about how asking other people for help is a way to forge a connection. The post was inspired by the book The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer. I loved the core message that making yourself vulnerable by revealing a need and permitting someone else to fulfill it is how relationships are made and strengthened. Continue reading Using Art to Connect with People

Where Home Is: Bill Murray on Authenticity

Where Home IsI’ve been collecting perspectives on authenticity as a way to be as happy as possible. I believe that being yourself helps ensure contentment;  although life sometimes demands we do things that are not what we’d choose, being true to our core selves as much as we can helps us be our best selves. Evidence increasingly shows that we do better when we focus on the things we love and have talent for. Continue reading Where Home Is: Bill Murray on Authenticity

Finding Your Strengths, Feeding Your Competence

Finding YourMartin Seligman, one of the founders of Positive Psychology, points out that many resolutions are about quitting a bad behavior. People give up junk food, vow to drop weight, or swear off cigarettes. And, as the folks who took up gym memberships in January are realizing about now, these types of resolutions don’t often stick.

[A note on these New Year’s gym rats: I’d argue they’re not taking up exercise so much as trying to give up their sedentary lifestyle. There’s a survey waiting to happen there.] Continue reading Finding Your Strengths, Feeding Your Competence

Blizzards and Happiness: Hedonic Adaptation

Blizzards and Happiness- HedonicLast week I was in Portland, Oregon for work. The weather was about 45 degrees–a temperature that usually signals the onset of winter for me. Yet, after being pummeled by multiple snowstorms and near-zero temperatures in Boston, I couldn’t get enough of the “warm” Portland air.

I went for two outdoor runs–without gloves or a headband. When the first 45 degree days roll around in Boston, I at least debate pulling out the winter gear. Not this time. Continue reading Blizzards and Happiness: Hedonic Adaptation