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Friday, August 9, 2013

What is Happiness and Where Do You Find it?

As far back as the ancient Greeks and beyond, people have been asking the question, "What is happiness?"  The journalist, Eric Weiner, has written a book called The Geography of Bliss where he travels around the world in his quest to discover what happiness is and if there are certain countries where most people are happy.  


What is Happiness and Where Do You Find It?

His travels take him to the Netherlands; Switzerland; Bhutan, where they keep track of Gross National Happiness instead of Gross Domestic Product; Qatar, the richest country in the world; Iceland; Moldova; Thailand, Great Britain and India.  

The Geography of Bliss is well written, thought provoking, enlightening and entertaining. As Weiner travels from one country to the next, asking people about their happiness, their culture and philosophy of life, he experiences different ways of life and engages in his own self exploration.

What is Happiness and Where Do You Find It?

I won't spoil the book by giving it away. But if you've ever asked yourself the question:  "What is happiness?," I recommend that you read this book The Geography of Bliss - One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World.

"Are You Happy?"
It's interesting that when someone asks you, "Are you happy?," it becomes a difficult question to answer.  It might even make you feel uncomfortable.  Often, people respond to this question by not even being sure what happiness is.  How do you know if you're happy?  Is it a state of mind?  Is it too elusive to gauge?

Will Having Lots of Money Make You Happy?
Many people are sure they'd be happy if they had a lot of money.  And, since many people feel this way, social scientists have been curious about the possible connection, so there has been a lot of research about happiness and money.

As you might guess, based on this research, it seems that you need to have at least enough money so you feel comfortable (however you measure that).

Most people who are struggling in dire poverty find it difficult to be happy.  But, beyond feeling comfortable, the happiness that people feel initially after they've either inherited a lot of money or won millions in the lottery is short lived.  So, more isn't always better.  In fact, there have been many stories of people who won millions who end up feeling miserable.

What Makes Us Happy Can Change Over the Course of a Lifetime
For most of us, the answer to "What is happiness?" changes over the course of a lifetime.  When you're a child, happiness is getting a new toy (at least for a while, until you get tired of it).

What Makes Us Happy Can Change Over the Course of a Lifetime

When you're a teenager, you might imagine that happiness would be getting away from your parents, having your own place and your independence.  When you're in your 20s and 30s, happiness might be succeeding in your career.

Meaning and Purpose in Your Life
Ask 100 people what happiness is to them, and you'll get at least 101 different answers.  For many people, happiness is finding meaning and purpose outside of themselves, something that is bigger than they are.  This might be their religion or their spirituality.

For others, happiness means having loving family and friends.  For others, happiness is knowing that they are rooted in a long line of ancestors and the family line will continue beyond them.

What is happiness to you?  I would love to hear your responses.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist.  I am certified in mind-body psychotherapy.

I work with individual adults and couples, and I have helped many clients to overcome obstacles that keep them from leading a fulfilling life.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me: josephineolivia@aol.com



photo credit: h.koppdelaney via photopin cc



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