Happiness According to Psychology, Spirituality, and Science
Modern psychology suggests that happiness is emotion that comes from the rational mind as a result of obtaining reasonable and personal goals. Their argument is that many people might be very giving, and still never be happy – if being giving is not a natural goal for them.
The same goes for becoming very wealthy. As many would expect, there are many persons who have become wealthy and yet still never find happiness. On the contrary, however, there are people who are alone and hard-working that have had financial success that actually become very happy.
The interesting things about this view of happiness and psychology is that it goes against what many people think of when they try to figure out where finding happiness might come from. The somewhat simple answer to what is happiness, according to psychology, is that it comes form wherever you really want it to – as long as it is reasonably obtainable through working toward a goal.
What is Happiness | Spirituality
Most Buddhists believe that happiness comes from just the opposite of what modern psychology believes. According to much of Buddhist philosophy, having happiness does not depend at all on being concerned with our individual welfare. In fact, according to these teachings, the more self-centered we become the less happy we become. Ultimately, a totally unhappy person is one who only has concern for himself.
The road to happiness must then stem from the notion of totally forgetting oneself. Examples would be finding happiness in helping others, thinking of loved ones, or being so absorbed in a creative activity that the self is forgotten. Thus Buddhists mostly believe that being able to forget one’s self is done only by finding ”bodhisattva” which is kind of like the same thing as saying that you are concerned with everyone else completely and not yourself at all.
What is Happiness | Science
Now let us add scientific research to the question, “what is happiness”. Science says that as far as wealth is concerned, once basic needs are met, additional income does little to increase satisfaction with life. Education or a high IQ does also not increase happiness as found in scientific case studies.
Older people tend to be happier than younger people, so you can also scratch youth off of the list as far as what might make us happy. A recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that people ages 20 to 24 are sad for an average of 3.4 days a month, as opposed to just 2.3 days for people ages 65 to 74.
What about marriage and happiness? It has definitively been found that married people are happier than single people – though it is also argued and been proven that happy people are more likely to get married in the first place. So it is argued that there is no solid proof in that study.
If you ask people in Detroit and Southern California who is happier, people from both locations will answer Southern California – though both groups be wrong – neither is happier than the other.
People that seek out religion become happier than as if they did not. People with strong ties to friends and family – and also spend time with them – are happier than people who do not – but again happy people are more likely to be more social in these ways.
The biggest of these are losing a spouse and losing a career. It takes five to eight years for a widow(er) to regain his or her previous sense of well-being.
Similarly, the effects of a job loss linger long after the individual has returned to the work force.
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