Thankfulness: Gateway to (synthetic) Happiness

November 22, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 4:07 pm   Category: Happiness,Life

Jacob’s recent post came to mind today in sacrament meeting. With Thanksgiving coming up this week we had a few excellent talks on gratitude. I was struck by how closely the stories of gratitude matched with the idea of synthetic happiness described by Dan Gilbert here. Further, it is striking that this so-called “synthetic happiness” — the state of happiness we can attain when we make peace with not getting what we want — is a form of happiness that is just as real as the “natural happiness” we feel when we do get what we want.

The interesting thing is in all the stories told today the specific method used to arrive at this real form of happiness was to consciously count one’s blessings. In other words, it seems from the stories that more grateful people are more happy people. And if Dan Gilbert is to be believed, the kind of happiness we can arrive at after not getting what we want is just as “happy” as the kind of happiness we arrive at after getting what we want.

So count your many blessings folks. Name them one by one. According to Lehi the purpose of life is to have joy, and being grateful may be the most sure-fire way to be joyful.

Synthetic Happiness TEDTalks 1

November 17, 2009    By: Jacob J @ 10:31 pm   Category: Happiness,Life

This talk by Dan Gilbert is one of my all-time favorite TEDTalks, I must have listened to it a half-dozen times. I can’t help but think of my mom who has as one of her principal catch phrases, “I like to keep my options open.”


Happy Happy Utah

March 11, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 10:27 am   Category: Happiness,Mormon Culture/Practices

Anyone else see this article today? Apparently the current happiest states in the union are Utah, Hawaii, and Wyoming.

Here is a quote:

Looking for happiness — it’s family-friendly communities for some, tropical paradise or the rugged West for others. A survey of Americans’ well-being, conducted by Gallup in partnership with Healthways and America’s Health Insurance Plans, gives high marks to Utah, which boasts lots of outdoor recreation for its youthful population.

Speaking of outdoor recreation, the islands of Hawaii took second place and Wyoming was third in the poll that rated such variables as mental, physical and economic health.

But fun outdoors obviously wasn’t the only criteria — “wild, wonderful” West Virginia was ranked last among the states.

And the bluegrass state of Kentucky was 49th, with Mississippi 48th on the list.

The anti-Mormon crowd, or at least the anti-Utah crowd might be in mourning today because of this study… Seems like some folks just can’t do enough crowing about that old “Utah has the highest anti-depressant usage in the country” report that has gotten so much play in recent years. (Of course maybe the anti-depressant companies can use both reports to show how good their products work…)

Anyhow, the upshot is Utah has the happiest Americans around right now according to this report.

Happiness and The Fall

January 25, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 11:56 pm   Category: Before Abraham,Happiness,Theology

There has been all sorts of talk about happiness lately in the ‘nacle. (See here, here, and here.) I think these happiness discussions dovetail nicely into my recent posts and comments about the Garden of Eden story being allegorical. Since I promised I would flesh this idea out better, I figured I could start that process by looking at how an allegorical Fall of Adam and Eve could or should affect our expectations for happiness in this life. (more…)

Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!

August 16, 2005    By: Kristen J @ 10:14 pm   Category: Happiness,Life

It seems that most of us spend a lot of time whining over the bad things in life. I know I have done my share of wishing for a new day when I will be a college graduate, or I can quit this crappy job, or have a baby, or have the baby sleep through the night. The list could go on for quite some time. It’s a hard urge to fight, yet fight we must because “men are that they might have joy.” (more…)

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