Monday, November 9, 2015

Happiness Science

Today's newspaper features an article in the Life section, "Understanding the science of WHAT MAKES US HAPPY."  The article refers to a study which indicates that today's 30+ generation fears that they will not find as much happiness with age as previous generations found.

Allow me to make some observations.
  • Neither the study nor the article tells us much about the "science" of happiness.  It merely reports statistics about people's reported happiness and expected happiness.
  • To a large degree, the article correlates happiness with material wealth.
  • Efforts to study happiness scientifically seem to reduce happiness to a formula, typically including material wealth, physical health, convenience, education, and relationships. 
Some elements of happiness, however, cannot be measured.  It is mysterious.  Certainly health and convenience can contribute to happiness, but it hinges on attitude more than anything else.  The way we choose to perceive life allows us to be happy.

Ironically, if we pursue happiness, we may not find it.  Being self-centered rarely makes one happy.  So, as we put others first, and choose a good attitude, we experience happiness as a byproduct.  I don't think you can put that into a formula.