My head is still buzzing from the comments responding to Wednesday’s post, Tips for how NOT to be happy. So many provocative and insightful comments to consider.
I’m very sorry that in trying to be funny and counter-intuitive, and because I didn’t include the scientific references to explain how I’d come up with my tips, I ended up coming across as obnoxious and condescending. Lesson learned.
For the record, I’ll observe that studies show that extroversion (even for introverts) and exercise (even for couch potatoes) are highly correlated with happiness, and expressing and dwelling on anger and annoyance are highly correlated with non-happiness. That’s how I came up with those tips.
Now, I’d assumed that most non-academics aren’t interested in definitions, but it turns out that they are quite necessary.
I can’t muster the kind of analysis necessary to tackle such questions while on vacation, but when I get back, I’m going to grapple with:
What is “happiness”? (Preview: my happiness formula is: To be happy, you must think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth.)
Are “unhappiness” and “depression” different, and if so, how? (Preview: I think they ARE different.)
What is the opposite of “happiness”? (Preview: unhappiness and happiness aren’t opposites, but, studies show, are separate constructs; and I think depression is in a different category entirely.)
So stay tuned…