There is much being written and talked about in the subject of happiness. Martin Seligman wrote Positive Psychology and spurred a movement. There is a clever movie on Netflix called “Happy” that is shared within families, church and school communities. The “pursuit of happiness” is thought to be a uniquely American trait, associated with the New World, connected to the American Dream… and NOT related to Gross Domestic Product or Net Worth.
In fact, there is a movement called the Happy Planet Index, which measures the national well-being against resource use.
The happiest nation? Not Denmark or Switzerland… It is Costa Rica. Which stopped funding an army in 1949, has a commitment to renewable energy, and that “Latin vibe” that encourages social connection. One good reference on the Happy Planet Index (HPI) is statistician Nic Marks, on www.Ted.com, August 30, 2010.
Happiness is elastic. We experience happiness at different times, and some people are more happy than others. We know the reward mechanisms of the brain are reinforced when we do certain activities. And when we reinforce those behaviors, we can be happier. Some activities, such as mindfulness, are now being taught in MBA programs… so that people become more happy.
Here is step 1 of 5:
Our social relationships define our success. Extroverts have always known that they need social reinforcement in order to feel comfortable. Shared housing movements are increasing from Scandanavia to Sun City, USA. When we are dis-stressed we typically go to a group (think about Alcoholics Anonymous, a sacred church, or Starbucks…) When we are in transition we seek groups for social connection (think social media, affinity groups, job seekers…)
So, how are you connecting today and this week? Who else do you need to connect to?
Recently, on my birthday, I received many Facebook emails. They were nice. (Thank you.) And I treasure the phone calls even more, from loved ones or long-lost ones… But I will never forget the friends and family who stopped by to visit. There are never enough of those visits.
On a scale of 1-10, how connected are you now? What do you need to do to increase that number?