The Key To Happiness
Scientists have announced that the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” will be publishing results of what is supposedly the key to happiness. I’ll paraphrase the Washington Post here, which in turn is paraphrasing the Telegraph:
Happiness = baseline average mood + what you can settle for + what you’ll get as a result if you take a chance + the difference between that and what you actually get. ~ WashingtonPost
A typical example would be that if you ordered a meal in a restaurant. It was the best meal you ever had. Your expectations were exceeded. Does this mean you should expect nothing? No. According to the Scientists, your pessimism could ruin their whole theory and therefore your happiness. So what is the problem with this scientific approach to happiness? The algorithm is based upon outcomes.
Happiness is NOT about Outcomes
Science is ill suited to define happiness, without understanding what it actually is. Obviously these scientists are not even studying “happiness” but instead a sort of manic emotional boost. In order to understand and therefore research “happiness” first we have to understand that it is a decision. For instance, I can be facing near term death. Certainly the “outcome” in this situation is about as ruinous as I can expect, correct? And yet, I can find serenity in the chaos, by deciding that happiness is mine to choose.
When we ride the roller coaster of outcomes, we are surrendering our happiness to outside influences, people, events. If we surrender our happiness to outcomes, then we are practicing as much misery as happiness. We are artificially promoting waves of manic mood swings. Scientists who don’t even understand happiness themselves are mistakenly leading us into manic behavior! Eventually, negative news, world events, recessions, even sports gaming outcomes will shape our moods instead of us shaping our mood.
Happiness is a decision we make, and is certainly NOT based upon outcomes, what others say or do, or how good my meal is at a restaurant. Indeed, people search their entire lives for happiness only to find out it is an inside job. At some point in the day, we ask ourselves: “Do I want to mope about this, or do I want to change my mood, and be happy? I choose happiness”. And most assuredly this is the case with ordering a meal at a restaurant. It could be the worst food I have ever ordered anywhere, and that doesn’t mean I have to mope about it, or become mean spirited.
Moments are Ours to Turn Around
We don’t have to turn bad moments into bad days. Humans have the ability to stop dwelling on negatives and refocus on a brighter better moment. We can decide to be happy in the face of that bad experience, just as quickly and assuredly as if we were having a great moment. Where happiness avoids us, we mistakenly place the feeling upon the outcome, or another person: “My boss just scolded me rudely” or “My spouse seems to be losing her/his mind”… When we mistakenly apply “blame” to someone else for our mood, we are being dysfunctional. Happiness is a matter of accepting responsibility for our emotions, and then instead of blaming someone or some event, we choose happiness in the very face of negativity. As long as we think our mood is determined by outcomes ~ it is. When we realize that our mood shapes outcomes ~ our mood changes things.
Many Things we Can do When we Choose Happiness
Happiness provides us choices that science still does not understand. Laughter, smiling and giving for instance. These actions, when used in the face of negative mood swings will alleviate much if not downright turn that mood around. Tuning into the Comedy network for instance if we are home, or thinking of a funny anecdote ~ whatever it takes to make us laugh: WORKS! There are scientific studies, which only verify what mankind has intuitively known for centuries: Laughter is a Merry Medicine. Smiling can change an entire room, or bring about a change in ourselves in others. And often leads to laughter.
Lonny is Founder of PronetworkBuild a marketing firm which uses modern sociocultural and subcultural data mining in Social and SEO to perfect results for clients. Lonny is also Founder of Social N Worldwide, Inc. the largest privately held group of Social Media connections on the planet, with tens of thousands of connections in each Top U.S. Market. 571-501-6129