Authentic happiness results from identifying and developing ‘signature strengths’ and virtues (AIPC, 2011). It is suggested that in order to achieve authentic happiness, people should pay attention to their strengths rather than their weaknesses (AIPC, 2011).
Happiness is not the result of bouncing from one joy to the next; researchers find that achieving happiness typically involves times of considerable discomfort. Genetic makeup, life circumstances, achievements, marital status, social relationships, even your neighbors—all influence how happy you are, or can be. That’s how we think. Research shows that much of happiness is under personal control. So do individual ways of thinking and expressing feelings.
Kringelbach and Berridge argue that the neuroscience of both pleasure and happiness can be found by studying hedonic brain circuits. This is because, according to most modern perspectives, pleasure is an important component of happiness.
On the internet and in bookstores, a thousand gurus tout different remedies for human misery. How can we find out which remedies work? We need to consult one of our greatest gurus, the scientific method. Recently we have seen a dramatic upsurge in scientific studies on Positive Psychology and the science of happiness or to put it simply, discovering what makes happy people happy. Fortunately, many of these studies point to specific ways of thinking and acting that can strongly impact our sense of happiness and peace of mind. The resulting discoveries are enriching the practices of counseling, clinical psychology, psychiatry and life coaching.
Attaining happiness is a global pursuit. Researchers find that people from every corner of the world rate happiness more important than other desirable personal outcomes, such as obtaining wealth, acquiring material goods, and getting into heaven.
In 2016, the report listed Denmark as the happiest nation, followed by Switzerland and Iceland. The US was the 13th happiest country with the UK ranking 23rd. Nordic countries feature prominently as being amongst the happiest societies in the world (Helliwell, Layard and Sachs, 2016).1
Under the tree named happiness’.
In other words, happiness exists when positive emotions are dominant, with the experience of negative emotion minimal. The so-called ‘pleasant life’ is one which involves enjoyable and positive experiences.
Given that wealthy countries are highly developed and prosperous, it is easy to assume that positive affect is linked to wealth. A common wish in our modern age is to possess more money: wealth can signify success and increases a person’s purchasing power, giving them choices that they might not have been able to make before. But can money buy happiness?
This article is misleading because it doesn’t tell you that: a) psychologists can’t agree on what happiness is or how to measure it (anymore than say, what love is or how to measure love). This is why there are so few books on either subject in psychology libraries. Psychologists don’t necessarily measure what’s important – they measure what can be easily measured. b) even if there was agreement they would still be clueless as to what causes happiness. c) there is an unfortunate trend in modern psychology that tries to explain everything through cognitive processes – in other words it makes out that how we feel is primarily down how we think about something – playing down or dismissing the role of automatic, natural, uncontrollable instinctive processes. The pain of bereavement is for example, instinctive. This is all part of fashion for dismissing the contribution of earlier psychologists such Freud, Jung or abrahm Maslow – on the grounds their theories are difficult to measure. For example, happiness may depend on consistently and sufficiently gratifying the id, the ego and superego. for example, who can be happy if they are not gratifying very basic needs? d) that the advice given is pretty much as subjective as a typical magazine article – ie. one person’s belief.
Happiness is often an elusive experience – people will go to great lengths for a fleeting moment of happiness.