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Old 01-06-2017, 04:47 PM
 
Location: San Diego
156 posts, read 149,591 times
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If you're really interested in this, you need to watch the fascinating TED Talk by Professor Dan Gilbert on "The Surprising Science of Happiness." He begins with the provocative question of whether you'd be happier if you won a lottery or had a serious accident and ended up in a wheelchair! He goes on to say that actually your level of happiness you feel in your life would be about the same either way. Maybe just a tad higher if you won the lottery.

It does make a little bit of sense in that we've all heard stories about lottery winners who went on to make a mess of their lives. Money doesn't buy happiness, etc. His point is that each of us has a sort of "set point" of happiness that is unique to ourselves, and our satisfaction with life and overall happiness stays in that range.

I've only seen that TED Talk once or twice, some time ago, but it made a huge impression on me. (I should view it again.)
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Old 01-06-2017, 05:13 PM
 
3,135 posts, read 1,726,907 times
Reputation: 3514
jghorton

Quote:
But, who is consistently able to draw that happiness out of themselves in an unpredictable, ever-changing world - where one's health, stability, loved ones and life are at risk every day? I would suggest that it is those who have learned the "secret" of being content in every situation (something much more valuable than always wearing a perpetually "happy (or foolish) grin.") -- They are the ones who have learned not to depend on the world, others, circumstances or themselves for their contentment and "happiness."
I wonder about that contentment. If you son has lost his job, or broken up with his girlfriend and depressed, or your friend is dying, in those circumstances where does one "draw" that contentment out of? One can say, I suppose, well at least he is not dead, at least I can bring my friend food, and in that way settle for what you CAN get. Is that contentment?.

I also find memories of past suffering at a younger age, in an abusive situation or a loveless relationship, or getting fired unfairly, refused service, they can be painful to endure even by only remembering them. One can always think, so I am retired and happy now so who cares about the horrible boss, and feel happy for NOW. But those feelings never go away. I think of those who were sexually abused as children, that trauma lasts for ever. How do you find contentment even if you have everything you would want to day, money, house, kids, happy marriage.

Perhaps the secret to happiness is not contentment but not desiring in the first place so there is no disappointment?
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Old 01-06-2017, 05:13 PM
 
Location: ☀️ SWFL ⛱ 🌴
2,435 posts, read 1,669,408 times
Reputation: 8696
Quote:
Originally Posted by cb2008 View Post
I don't know if this should be in the Psych forum but I would like to post this here because I think age gives us a certain perspective that is more interesting to me. We have more to look back on as well as years yet to live which is informed by our experience in the past.

I think we can all agree happiness is fleeting. We may be elated about an upcoming vacation, have a great time, return and our happiness index falls back in place in time until the next something happens. Maybe we all live on a small bubble of happiness every day which takes us through our daily like.

But do we make a conscious choice to be happy, think happy thoughts?

What about when there is strife? Your daughter blames you for a bad childhood, your parenting skills when you did the best you knew how?
What about when a friend suddenly stops being a friend and simple leaves your life?
And what about, and this is really the worst of all, when you are haunted by doubt and guilt that maybe you did do some bad parenting back then, maybe you offended your friend, or maybe you think of your Mom and how you failed her for some reason?

Guilt and regret, the worst feelings that can deflate that bubble of happiness leaving you wide awake at night. How do you choose happiness then?

What do you think?
My Mom was exactly like you: reliving past decisions and behaviors, beating her self up and enduring sleepless nights and then placing blame on others in the end as a way to cope. I love my Mom, but being a positive person is not one of her strengths.

I grew up with this and emulated it, but married young and changed by osmosis. I didn't understand how my husband and his mother never had guilt. I had it wrong, of course they had guilt but while they acknowledged it and reflected on it, they never ruminated on it. What was done, learn from it and move on.

I tried for years, early in our marriage, to make my husband feel guilty, it just wasn't right not to and I was determined he should see the light. Luckily I was the one that had my eyes opened. I could feel bad about something but I didn't not have to relive it over and over. I couldn't change what happened, but I could learn from it. Every day did not have to be Ground Hog Day (the movie) over and over until I got it right.

What a revelation to me. Do I still ruminate? Of course I do, but I recognize it now and can chose to mire in it or raise above it. So yes, I think happiness is a choice.

This is a simple 5 step article on how to stop reliving painful memories.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amy-mo...b_9560258.html

It may help or make you realize you could use outside help from someone else with this. I feel for you, I've been there too, but there is a way out.

Last edited by jean_ji; 01-06-2017 at 05:46 PM..
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Old 01-06-2017, 05:19 PM
 
3,135 posts, read 1,726,907 times
Reputation: 3514
Darth Vespa;46739548]
Quote:
If you're really interested in this, you need to watch the fascinating TED Talk by Professor Dan Gilbert on "The Surprising Science of Happiness." He begins with the provocative question of whether you'd be happier if you won a lottery or had a serious accident and ended up in a wheelchair! He goes on to say that actually your level of happiness you feel in your life would be about the same either way. Maybe just a tad higher if you won the lottery.

It does make a little bit of sense in that we've all heard stories about lottery winners who went on to make a mess of their lives. Money doesn't buy happiness, etc. His point is that each of us has a sort of "set point" of happiness that is unique to ourselves, and our satisfaction with life and overall happiness stays in that range.
I buy that, that it is possible that happiness is the same level under both circumstances you describe. But it is fleeting. I have also read a book increasing your happiness from the "set point" which basically talks about counting your blessings (contentment), helping others (so you don't think about yourself), SMILE!, live in the moment and so on. It seems to be all about distracting yourself from your state of unhappiness or discontent or off-mood, which is not a bad thing.
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Old 01-06-2017, 05:29 PM
 
3,135 posts, read 1,726,907 times
Reputation: 3514
jean_ji;46739781]
Quote:
My Mom was exactly like you: reliving past decisions and behaviors, beating her self up and enduring sleepless nights and then placing blame on others in the end as a way to cope. I love my Mom, but being a positive person is not one of her strengths.

I grew up with this and emulated it, but married young and changed by osmosis. I didn't understand how my husband and his mother never had guilt. I had it wrong, of course they had guilt but while they acknowledged it and reflected on it, they never ruminated on it. What was done, learn from it and move on.

I tried for years, early in our marriage, to make my husband feel guilty, it just wasn't right not to and I was determined he should see the light. Luckily I was the one that had my eyes opened. I could feel bad about something but I didn't not have to relive it over and over. I couldn't change what happened, but I could learn from it. Every day did not have to be Ground Hog Day (the movie) over and over until I got it right.

What a revelation to me. Do I still ruminate? Of course I do, but I recognize it now and can chose to mire in it or raise above it. So yes, I think happiness is a choice.

This is a simple 5 step article on how to stop reliving painful memories.
5 Ways to Stop Reliving Painful Memories | The Huffington Post

It may help or make you realize you could use outside help from someone else with this. I feel for you, I've been there too, but there is a way out.
Great post. Yes I totally identify with your mom. I ruminate a lot about everything from my childhood to last night and can get myself really unhappy, even about things nobody else even thinks about. But I feel I have always been this way, as far back as I can remember being 10 years old, I could manage to get myself quite sad over nothing at all. I get out of it now by counting my blessings, and prayers, but it is still a a bad feeling and it can wake me up at night.

Maybe I have a knack for choosing unhappiness even when I am lucky and have a good life. So yes, happiness can also be a choice.
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Old 01-06-2017, 05:45 PM
 
Location: SoCal
13,235 posts, read 6,335,450 times
Reputation: 9854
Quote:
Originally Posted by cb2008 View Post
I no longer believe that people who joke around and laugh a lot or nescessarily happy, and happy people may be introverted and quiet.
I agree contentment breeds happiness.
But is contentment just cessation of aspiration?
Maybe this is a problem, your mind, or People who think they know better than the actual people who claim to be happy and content.
For me, I couldn't care less what people say, if they claim they are happy, I'm happy for them. You want to read there is problem then there is a problem. It's all in your mind. Nobody can change that.
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Old 01-06-2017, 05:52 PM
 
Location: SoCal
13,235 posts, read 6,335,450 times
Reputation: 9854
Quote:
Originally Posted by cb2008 View Post
jghorton



I wonder about that contentment. If you son has lost his job, or broken up with his girlfriend and depressed, or your friend is dying, in those circumstances where does one "draw" that contentment out of? One can say, I suppose, well at least he is not dead, at least I can bring my friend food, and in that way settle for what you CAN get. Is that contentment?.

I also find memories of past suffering at a younger age, in an abusive situation or a loveless relationship, or getting fired unfairly, refused service, they can be painful to endure even by only remembering them. One can always think, so I am retired and happy now so who cares about the horrible boss, and feel happy for NOW. But those feelings never go away. I think of those who were sexually abused as children, that trauma lasts for ever. How do you find contentment even if you have everything you would want to day, money, house, kids, happy marriage.

Perhaps the secret to happiness is not contentment but not desiring in the first place so there is no disappointment?
Like Mariah Cary said, "Sh1t happens", but I don't dwell on it.
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Old 01-06-2017, 05:58 PM
 
Location: SoCal
13,235 posts, read 6,335,450 times
Reputation: 9854
Quote:
Originally Posted by cb2008 View Post
Darth Vespa;46739548]


I buy that, that it is possible that happiness is the same level under both circumstances you describe. But it is fleeting. I have also read a book increasing your happiness from the "set point" which basically talks about counting your blessings (contentment), helping others (so you don't think about yourself), SMILE!, live in the moment and so on. It seems to be all about distracting yourself from your state of unhappiness or discontent or off-mood, which is not a bad thing.
Accordingly to you, I no longer believe SMILE is actually contentment. Same with jokes and laughter.
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Old 01-06-2017, 06:01 PM
 
1,316 posts, read 1,736,341 times
Reputation: 1696
I believe it is once one understands that and it can take a lifetime. Living in the moment is a good start. My new mantra is "as if" meaning I purposely smile as if I am happy and just the act of smiling makes me feel happier.
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Old 01-06-2017, 06:04 PM
 
3,135 posts, read 1,726,907 times
Reputation: 3514
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewbieHere View Post
Maybe this is a problem, your mind, or People who think they know better than the actual people who claim to be happy and content.
For me, I couldn't care less what people say, if they claim they are happy, I'm happy for them. You want to read there is problem then there is a problem. It's all in your mind. Nobody can change that.
Oh thank you for pointing out my problem. But I am not just discussing my problem but I am also wondering about the nature of happiness. It is a philosophical question that may not have quick answers, or solutions, but that is ok. I am interested in what other people in this forum think about this.

I know people who cover a lot of things with laughter - fear, rage, embarrassment, and sadness. Maybe I do it myself at times. It is not always about happiness.

I understand if this annoys you, it is not for everyone. You should just ignore this thread then.
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