Articles in Pathway 1 “Pleasure”
From Paul Dolan’s talk about his new book, Happiness by Design, I gained 3 important insights to shape my thinking about happiness in the new year.
When they want to feel more loved, valued, respected or connected, most people give away their power. They ask (or want) others to be different, which means someone else’s behavior determines how happy they will be.
What do happier people do?
Can practicing gibberish exercises, over and over again help us accept real life as it is by helping us play with nonsensical events instead of being victimized by them? Can it help us be better prepared for future surprises that can shock us? Can practicing nonsense help us to find our own meaning and purpose in life?
Much of what I enjoy and appreciate listening to is actually in a minor key, often in a key intended to induce sadness. Why would I gravitate toward experiencing a negative emotion such as sadness?
In various models of well-being, positive emotions seem to have less gravitas than other factors. One reason may be that they are often equated with hedonic pleasure. So it was with great curiosity that I stumbled across a philosophical approach to pleasure that suggests that there is more to the hedonic life than initially meets the eye.
The holiday season and the New Year can be pretty stressful, but this time of year provides us with some ideal opportunities for savoring – noticing, appreciating, and enhancing the things which are already positive in our lives – and there is nothing easier to do. The rules of savoring are simple to follow, and you don’t need any special skills or equipment. In fact anyone, young or old, rich or poor, can learn how to savor and reap the benefits.
Sometimes I feel as if the entire field of positive psychology is embroiled in a massive, one-sided debate. I hear many psychologists arguing vehemently for the importance of not turning our back on the negative. But who’s on the other side?
New research by psychologist Iris Mauss and colleagues suggests that valuing happiness itself could be self-defeating and actually lead to disappointment. They conducted two studies, one a correlational study and another that manipulated how much people valued happiness.
One of my fascinations with positive psychology is the existence of its many paradoxes. So as soon as I came across this new research report Money Giveth, Money Taketh Away, my eyes lit up. The researchers explored the widely-held belief that experiencing the best things in life undermines your ability to enjoy life’s little pleasures.
To further elaborate on why the riches are not equivalent to happiness, I adopt the approach used by Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, of looking at happiness as moment-to-moment experience instead of general well-being or flourishing. When we break down happiness into moment-to-moment experience, riches do not necessarily make people happier. Why not?