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Old 09-23-2013, 03:59 PM
Location: Northeastern US
14,189 posts, read 9,033,372 times
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Originally Posted by Design7 View Post
... Scientific American reported: “Religiously active people also report greater happiness. One Gallup survey found that highly religious people were twice as likely as those lowest in spiritual commitment to declare themselves very happy. Other surveys, including a 16-nation collaborative study of 166,000 people in 14 nations, have found that reported happiness and life satisfaction rise with strength of religious affiliation and frequency of attendance at worship services.”
The key is reported happiness. These are happiness claims, which can be the result of having a declared image to live up to. And many people like to kid themselves about their personal happiness and success. Giving credence to this kind of survey is to confuse association with cause and claims with proof.

In my experience much of religious gathering is really a circle-jerk where everyone tries to outdo each other declaring how happy and joyous they are but it has little to do with whether their lives at all reflect their ideals, hopes, dreams or aspirations.

In reality there are other studies that indicate that there is no measurable difference in divorce rates between believers and unbelievers, and no disproportionate (under)representation of either group in prisons. And there are studies that attempt to measure objective happiness in various nations and the results of that don't seem to correlate with religious affiliation or devotion.

If we define happiness as living a life that you consider subjectively meaningful, and if meaning arises from successful interaction with the symbolic meanings created by our cultures, then it follows that happiness exists to the extent you are a successful participant in your culture -- it is in general a function of helping others and doing meaningful work with reasonable health. Which means there's an element of both self determination and luck in finding happiness. You can do this in any number of ways and religious sentiment is one tool you might use with varying degrees of success depending on how seriously / literally you expect religious ideas to play out in the real world.

As Soda120 ably pointed out, it may be that contentment is far more achievable than happiness, and it's a happy (!) coincidence that contentment tends to be more achievable in old age because you are past the discontent and hubris of youth, and you just largely don't give a rip anymore. There's no point in putting up with people's BS anymore, and not enough time or energy for grandiose goals and pursuits. Sipping a hot cup of coffee may be the high point of your day (that, and successfully peeing afterwards) -- when your standards are that low, and your ambitions that limited, you can't help but take satisfaction in your day ;-)
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Old 09-23-2013, 04:32 PM
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Great responses about happiness. When i get up in the morning and i have a few things i need to do, some place to go, meet a friend, it puts a smile on my face. So i make sure i am involved in things that make these possible.
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Old 09-23-2013, 06:28 PM
Location: Buxton UK
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Happiness is just an illusion filled with sadness and confusion.
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Old 09-24-2013, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Design7 View Post
“Happiness does not appear to depend significantly on external circumstances,” reports the magazine Scientific American.
This scientific journal also stated: “Wealth is also a poor predictor of happiness. People have not become happier over time as their cultures have become more affluent. ... In most nations the correlation between income and happiness is negligible.”
The studies indicate four traits that characterize happy people: They like themselves and have high self-respect, they feel that they have control over their personal lives, they are optimistic, and they are extroverts. In addition, good marriages and close personal relationships are factors in happy lives, and these tend to increase health and longevity.

It is of interest that Scientific American reported: “Religiously active people also report greater happiness.
Take a glance at the Employment and Health Forums. Money does not make people happy but it does
help. Therefore, they do not have control over their personal lives if they have been searching for work.
This leads to my second point, belonging to a community. This could be work, family, friends and yes
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Old 09-24-2013, 12:07 PM
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I think happiness and the relationship one has with people plays a huge role in overall wellbeing. Nobody needs ALOT of friends. But if you have good relationships with even just a few people, then you can feel alot happier.
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Old 09-28-2013, 06:56 PM
Location: SW MO
23,605 posts, read 31,371,200 times
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On happiness, my thought is that too many here are over-thinking it.
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Old 09-28-2013, 11:35 PM
Location: Venice Italy
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Happiness; more l chase it... more it eludes me, anyway.. if l do not think about it and do other things, it is behind me wherever I go. "
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Old 09-29-2013, 12:54 PM
19,081 posts, read 21,830,534 times
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I don't see a difference between contentment and happiness. Being content, being at peace with myself is what I have been striving for all my life. So, that's all wrapped up in the little things. I find that it ebbs and flows, but I'm ok with that.
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Old 09-30-2013, 08:26 AM
Location: World
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happiness is when positive emotional stuff will be superior to mind. so thoughts are not important and do accompany our feelings.
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Old 10-03-2013, 08:48 AM
Location: Maine
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Originally Posted by R. Crusoe View Post
Happy: adj / fortunate; lucky; feeling or expressing pleasure, contentment, satisfaction, etc.

I’ve been alone, sick and tired for an extensive period of time due to my long term illness, which leaves me exceeding out of touch of my own happiness. I have no wife, no kids and no family to call my own. Great part of my life has been devoted to my career and my employer; my personal life has been grossly neglected as a result. I really couldn’t recall the last time I felt truly happy. In fact, I don’t even know what happiness is anymore.

It seems that the definition of happiness changes from time to time as a person gets older. A kid is happy when he gets his favorite toy; a teenage boy is happy when he passes his important exams; a young man is happy when he marries that desirable pretty girl; an old man is happy when he is with his grand kids, etc.

So what is happiness to you? When was the last time you truly felt happy?

Everyone is as happy as he chooses to be. Happiness is less a product of one's circumstances and more a product of one's outlook on those circumstances.

Count your blessings. It's a cliché, but do so literally. You have a job. I assume that provides you with income for a place to live, food for your table, and even medicine for your sickness. There are so many people in this world that would give their right arm for those things.

You don't have a wife or any children. Those things can be a blessing, but they can also be like a ball and chain. With them, you are almost obligated to be stable. You can't freely change jobs or move around, because you have to take them into consideration. Without them, you could decide to take a year long sabbatical to backpack around Europe, and there's nobody to stop you. My point is: don't bemoan your lack, rejoice in your freedom.

Don't compare yourself to others, either. Don't think "I have an apple tree, but my neighbor has an orange tree. I wish I had an orange tree."
Instead, think this: "Yahoo! I have an apple tree! Free food!"
The circumstance is the same, but the outlook is totally different. The hard part is: You have to choose to see it that way.
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