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Old 01-06-2017, 02:24 PM
 
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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?
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Old 01-06-2017, 02:45 PM
 
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Used to think it was, but now as I look back, no.
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Old 01-06-2017, 03:01 PM
 
Location: Florida -
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In almost every circumstance, location, financial condition, status in life and Spiritual condition -- one can find people who are happy and others who are not. Perhaps that can be attributed to different backgrounds (nurture vs nature), but even so, among those with similar backgrounds, some are happy and some are not. In that respect, I would suggest that "happiness" is indeed a choice.

However, happiness is only temporary - and of limited lasting value. One may fondly remember happy times yesterday and smile ... even in the midst of today's trials and adversity, but are rarely happy with immediate pain, difficulty, obstacles and suffering itself. Nevertheless, even in the face of the most trying circumstances, some are able to find peace and contentment, if not happiness. In that respect, I would suggest that "happiness" is an inner condition one chooses to embrace regardless of outward circumstances.

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."

"Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:11-13

Last edited by jghorton; 01-06-2017 at 03:10 PM..
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Old 01-06-2017, 03:26 PM
 
Location: Idaho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cb2008 View Post
But do we make a conscious choice to be happy, think happy thoughts?
...
What do you think?
cb2008,

I read your post after taking my husband to the doctor's office to check his back pain. While waiting for him, I browsed a 'kiddie' magazine called "Scouting" and came across an article about Scouts' characters which I found the link below

Research proves Scouting builds character in youth

I was so impressed to learn that these responses were what the surveyed scouts chose to be most like themselves:

Quote:
Kindness: “I’m kind to other kids” and “When my friends are upset, I try to make them feel better.”

Trustworthiness: “I can be counted on to tell the truth” and “I take responsibility when I make a mistake.”

Hopeful future expectations: “I will have a happy family” and “People will think I am a good person.”

Helpfulness: “I help people in my family” and “I help my friends.”
I fully agree with jghorton statement below

Quote:
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 myself have never been a scout but always wish that I were. All the scouts or former scouts that I know are nice, happy and contented people. I think that we all could learn a thing or two about the secret of happiness from the scouts by striving to adopt their life attitude. We are never too old to learn, to change or to improve.

Last edited by BellaDL; 01-06-2017 at 03:43 PM..
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Old 01-06-2017, 03:43 PM
 
Location: southwestern PA
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Yes, happiness is a choice.
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Old 01-06-2017, 03:49 PM
 
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The unhappy people I know should be happy, but they have some mental or chemical imbalance that doesn't make it possible.
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Old 01-06-2017, 03:58 PM
 
Location: SoCal
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I think you are born with a general happiness level regardless. I think it's even inherit trait. My mom was a handicap and sick a lot but generally a happy person and like to crack jones, tell funny stories. I'm the same, though not as sick. My youngest child inherits this happy gene.
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Old 01-06-2017, 03:58 PM
 
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Up to a point.

It's like pain: you can "fight through" and play mind games etc, but once it surpasses a certain point there's nothing more you can do.


Even Job cursed the day he was born.
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Old 01-06-2017, 04:08 PM
 
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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?
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Old 01-06-2017, 04:16 PM
 
Location: Idaho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cb2008 View Post
But is contentment just cessation of aspiration?
No. IMO and experience.

https://defeatdespair.com/2015/04/13...nd-aspiration/

Quote:
“We are not to make the ideas of contentment and aspiration quarrel, for God made them fast friends. A man may aspire, and yet be quite content until it is time to raise; and both flying and resting are but parts of one contentment.” — Henry Ward Beecher
Here are some of my further thoughts.

First, I do not think that thread is not off-topic in retirement forum. There are quite a few studies showing that older people are happiest Americans.

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=4688191
http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/sen...pier-with-age/
http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/n...-for-happiness

The second article is interesting in the sense that it is in contrast to the more prevalent sentiment expressed in this thread

Are You Becoming a Curmudgeon as You Get Older?

I'd like to think that either many of the negative responders in that thread were being facetious or the thread title attracted grumpier people. Personally, I find myself happier, more tolerant and contented as I get older. Life is short and it is shorter as you get older so why waste it with anger, resentment and unhappiness.

Regarding some the previous comments in thread, while I tend to agree that personalities or levels of happiness are defined by one's genes, I don't believe that a person can not make a conscious choice to be happier or more contented. I do believe that chemical imbalance for whatever causes (physical or external factors) can affect a person's life outlook and mood. Some mental illnesses illnesses like bipolar are harder to treat than other. Depression especially the milder form, dysthymia, can be treated with the right medication. I have witnessed amazing improvement, people literally have their life turned around when they find the right treatment.

Last edited by BellaDL; 01-06-2017 at 04:46 PM..
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