Wednesday, July 30, 2008

How to be happy longer

What's the secret to long lasting happiness? I asked my lunch companions. Short term happiness seems pretty easy...I remembered being very excited when we first bought our house or sometimes when I get something I really like, like the monogrammed towels. The excitement has worn off in both situations. Am I supposed to buy another house or get new towels to inject some joy into my life?
I thought about what I read once, that happiness is a pretty stable factor. They took two groups of people, measured their levels of happiness before and after a really happy event like winning the lottery or a really tragic event, like becoming a quadriplegic. Surprisingly, after some time has passed, the levels of happiness was the same after the initial high or low of the unhappy or happy event.
So except for short bursts of excitement and sadness, I'm pretty much doomed to my current levels of happiness regardless of what I do?

5 comments:

Farnk said...

I think your right that initial happiness or sadness eventually returns to the same level of unhappiness or joy that you normally feel. I must say, though, at the risk of sounding trite, that certain things make me happy on a continual basis: like my espresso machine. That's the human condition: to be weighed down with worry and angst, and hope for brief interludes of relief so that we can keep going. Though sometimes it's hard to see why we would want to except we know that our children or our parents need us....I love your thoughtful blogs....

Haik Bedrosian said...

Regression to the mean.

js said...

As long as you have hope, I think one can be happy ... and there is some happiness even in achieving some of the things one hopes for - if you're of that sort of mind. In the end, it's really more chemical than anything else, but I think with training and practice (or drugs), you can become more accustomed to those brain synapses, and even stimulate them easier, more often as a result, and tune one's brain better for happiness ....

RC said...

I'm much more satisfied now that I no longer strive so much to be happy. I think it is something people chase, but the chase itself is what makes you so unhappy. If you can find things in life that give you satisfaction, that to me is "happiness".

Cassandra Jupiter said...

RC, your comment is a funny one. I think you're basically saying the key to happiness is to be happy. Pretty good. I like to say the key to a long lasting relationship is to stay in one.