The Science of Happiness
Did you know that there is a free MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) through Edx on The Science of Happiness? It is the first MOOC to teach the groundbreaking science of positive psychology, which explores the roots of a happy and meaningful life. If you really want to explore the research and practice of happiness, this course is a thorough, enjoyable and information experience. As you think about what happiness is for yourself here are some definitions.
According to Websters Online Dictionary, the word happiness is 1 : good fortune : prosperity; 2a : a state of well-being and contentment : joy; 2b : a pleasurable or satisfying experience.
Research in the field of positive psychology and happiness often define a happy person as someone who experiences frequent positive emotions, such as joy, interest, and pride, and infrequent (though not absent) negative emotions, such as sadness, anxiety and anger (Lyubomirsky et al., 2005). Happiness has also been said to relate to life satisfaction, appreciation of life, moments of pleasure, but overall it has to do with the positive experience of emotions.
What gives you happiness?
I have many definitions of happiness. Mostly it is an inner state of calmness and well being. It is not a permanent state and often is in flux, sometimes minute to minute. But that feeling that things are well is a touchstone telling me that I am happy.
One thing that consistently both makes me happy is hiking in the mountains. I love the entire process. I get my day pack ready the night before with water, food, rain gear and bear spray, a necessary protector and something I do know how to use. I enjoy figuring out which hike to go on, read about it, make a copy of the trail description and bring along a map of the area. The anticipation is a big part of the the enjoyment. Then on the day of the hike, this past Sunday, I love getting up early, 6 a.m, Because of the preparation the day before, the morning is quite simple, get up, get ready, make coffee and go. Another happiness point is stopping at my local bagel place to get my breakfast. Then I headed up to the hike location.
It was a clear, cool, sunny morning. Have you ever noticed how still it is in the early morning? And the scents? I can smell the spruce trees, the roses, the air. There were few if any other vehicles. Now here is one of my extreme happiness points.. Am I the first or one of the first to park? Will I be alone on the trail? And I got my happiness. There were only two other vehicles. Since it was 7:30 a.m. I surmised that they were in the back-country campground. I was thrilled with this, got ready and off I went. I was the only one on the trail going up to the pass, sitting at the pass and heading down. It was a really good day. And now I have a memory to draw from any time I want a feeling of happiness. Savoring the experience afterwards is a big part of what brings me the positive feeling all over again.
Experience, Collect, Savor
What experiences do you have that bring you happiness? Experience them, collect them, savor them.
Here here is an article that talks about how to maximize the happiness from your vacation. One part is the first few days and last days being positive have a more lasting effect on your happiness going forward.