Friday, June 28, 2013

Happiness as a pursuit

Yesterday morning I heard a TV discussion on the current issue of TIME magazine, which features the cover story "The Pursuit of Happiness." The article discusses the American focus on pursuing happiness—a focus even built into our constitution!

The article says that since 1972, only a third of Americans describe themselves as "very happy," according to surveys funded by the National Science Foundation.  It also cites a new TIME poll showing that, since 2004, the "share of Americans who identify themselves as optimists has plummeted from 79 percent to 50 percent."

Further, the article cites a 2012 study by psychologist Ryan Howell of San Francisco State University that's now being expanded and that lends support to the idea that "another mistake we make is choosing to buy things rather than experiences." In discussing things vs. experiences, the article continues: "Your vacation to Rome or your family camping trip, however, are much more particularly yours since nobody else in the world did exactly the same things or shared them with exactly the same people you did. And far from wearing out, the memories of the experience grow richer over time."

So what makes you happy? And how do you define happiness? Do you think much about happiness? Do you try to stay positive and happy? Or isn't it even a pursuit for you? It's fascinating to me that there's so much talk about it in the media these days. I'd love to hear what you think about it all.

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