Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I've been reading through some old blog posts lately, with the idea of making a compilation of favorite posts. Of course, I've been thinking about that for over a year and it hasn't happened. But, hope springs eternal, it could. It might. It will.

In looking back through old live journal posts, I found this one from three years ago - almost exactly three years ago - that I posted on 9/17/2004. I was working on a speech, which I still give, about how to increase your happiness level. Oddly enough, it's not something most people are too interested in. I think it's the "forgiveness" part that trips them up. But... just in case it's something you might be interested in... here is the outline.

This is all based on science - not just Patsy making stuff up.

Here's the post:

Happiness - It's Yours for the Learning
We are all born with a "set point" of happiness, but we now know that it is also a learned behavior and just because someone isn't born that way, they can be that way if they chose to be. Genetics determine about 50%.

Important in learning to be happy:
1. Meditation
2. Journaling (esp. gratitude)
3. Fake it till you make it. Faking happiness causes the same chemical reactions as BEING happy and eventually will create the happiness. Actions matter - act happy.
4. Surrounding yourself with friends and family is a huge factor in increasing happiness.
5. Having your own sense of self and no interest in keeping up with the Joneses is helpful.
6. Doing activities that put you in the "flow" where you lose sense of time and enjoy it, increases overall happiness. The more of those you have, the better off you are. Doing what you're best at.
7. Must have a capacity to love and be loved.
8. Altruism
9. Spirituality
10. Creativity

Damaging to happiness:
1. not forgiving - huge - the biggest stumbling block - the single biggest determining factor in someone's happiness level
2. materialism

1. Major health problems, such as loss of mobility, have no long term effect on people's general happiness. After about 90-180 days they return to their pre-incident level of daily happiness.
2. People are very bad at predicting what will make them happy. Better to trust human resilience than human prediction.
3. More choices you have the more likely you are to be unhappy. People feel with so many choices, there's no excuse for failure. Choices also make people question every decision.
4. Happiness comes mostly in daily little bits. People get thrills out of finding a quarter or getting an unexpected gift. The emotion actually makes them more generous, friendlier, flexible, creative and better at solving problems. Small bursts of this feeling caused radiologists to make more accurate diagnoses in one study.

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