Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Question of Happiness

As a manager in my day to day job I often get the opportunity to attend various courses or seminars, lectures, receive information of new books being published etc.
Tal Ben-Shahar is a psychologist, author and lecturer who currently teaches "Positive Psychology," the most popular course at Harvard University, also "The Psychology of Leadership," the university's third most popular course.

Ben-Shahar is also the author of The Question of Happiness: On Finding Meaning, Pleasure, and the Ultimate Currency. He calls for a happiness revolution and believes that "Happiness never decreases by being shared. Lets just say he is very well qualified and has a earned a good deal of respect from his peers. Now I am normally a little bit cynical when it comes to these new found fads from Guru's but I actually found the piece I read very interesting. Some of these listed below are bloody obvious but some not so, let me know what you think..

Tal Ben-Shahar's Six Tips for Happiness

1. Give yourself permission to be human. When we accept emotions — such as fear, sadness, or anxiety — as natural, we are more likely to overcome them. Rejecting our emotions, positive or negative, leads to frustration and unhappiness.

2. Happiness lies at the intersection between pleasure and meaning. Whether at work or at home, the goal is to engage in activities that are both personally significant and enjoyable. When this is not feasible, make sure you have happiness boosters, moments throughout the week that provide you with both pleasure and meaning.

3. Keep in mind that happiness is mostly dependent on our state of mind, not on our status or the state of our bank account. Barring extreme circumstances, our level of well being is determined by what we choose to focus on (the full or the empty part of the glass) and by our interpretation of external events. For example, do we view failure as catastrophic, or do we see it as a learning opportunity?

4. Simplify! We are, generally, too busy, trying to squeeze in more and more activities into less and less time. Quantity influences quality, and we compromise on our happiness by trying to do too much.

5. Remember the mind-body connection. What we do — or don't do — with our bodies influences our mind. Regular exercise, adequate sleep, and healthy eating habits lead to both physical and mental health.

6. Express gratitude, whenever possible. We too often take our lives for granted. Learn to appreciate and savor the wonderful things in life, from people to food, from nature to a smile.

"Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities". Aldous Huxley

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