This month The Secret Society of Happy People is celebrating the 11th Annual Happiness Happens Month (August). To join our Happiness Happens celebration all this month, come to the Affaircare page to sign up for our daily, happiness newsletter–or go to the Affaircare Facebook page or become a friend of Affaircare on Twitter! Learn how to be happy and how to have a happy marriage. All this month, we are going to be discussing and learning about happiness.
According to Merriam-Webster, happiness is defined as: a state of well-being and contentment, joy; a pleasurable or satisfying experience. Happiness is also associated with love, satisfaction, cheerfulness, and hope. Research has identified a number of attributes that correlate with happiness: relationships and social interaction, extraversion, marital status, employment, health, democratic freedom, optimism, endorphins released through physical exercise and eating chocolate, religious involvement, income and proximity to other happy people. For centuries people have pondered what happiness is and tried to identify it’s sources. We do know that many biological, religious and psychological theories have been put forth to try to explain “how to get happiness.”
Is there a biological component associated with happiness? Studies have shown that high concentrations of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine leads to feelings of elation and euphoria. But some scientist describe “happiness” as nothing more than a biological state brought about by the release and blocked reabsorption of certain neurotransmitters (primarily norepinephrine, dopamine, and sertonian) triggered by physical and cognitive activities.
Philosophers and religious thinkers often define happiness in terms of living a good life, or flourishing, rather than simply as an emotion. Augustine accepted the basic tenet of the ancients’ ethical theory: we should aim our behavior toward the achievement of well-being or happiness, the only universal desire. Aquinas concurred with Aristotle and Augustine: happiness is the basic human pursuit. He also agreed that happiness had to do with intelligent reflection. The highest form of happiness derives from the highest use of the intellect: thinking about spiritual matters and in particular about God.
For many years, the field of psychology concentrated on mental illness. Since Martin Seligman‘s landmark book, Authentic Happiness, a new and exciting branch of psychology called Positive Psychology is focusing on the good life, happiness, and well-being–what it is and how we can pursue the good life with greater success. While direct measurement of happiness presents challenges, tools such as The Oxford Happiness Questionnaire have been developed by researchers. Positive psychology researchers use theoretical models that include describing happiness as consisting of positive emotions and positive activities, or that describe three kinds of happiness: pleasure, engagement, and meaning.
So join our Happiness Happens celebration all this month. Over the next weeks, we will focus what happiness IS, how you can be happier, and how to have a happier marriage!