Happiness CHAPTER 14 Philosophical Views on Happiness Aristotle A life of leisurely and intelligent reflection leads to happiness. The Cultivation of Virtues Happiness is the Ultimate Good John Stuart Mill Excitement and peaceful contentment are the two sides of happiness. Impediments to happiness are selfishness and lack of mental cultivation. Wisdom comes from the realization that one’s own happiness and self- interest are intertwined with the good of humanity. Sacrificing personal happiness for the happiness of others is the highest virtue. Mill’s Two Sides of Happiness For Mill, happiness consists of excitement and contentment. Your Turn! According to Mills, does happiness come from having lots of fun and pleasure? Bertrand Russell Unhappiness is fostered by envy, misguided morals, bad habits, and a life out of balance. Happiness can be gained by cultivating a friendly interest in people and things. Bertrand Russell’s Perspective Happiness is promoted by a focus on external affairs, such as the state of the world, on gaining knowledge, and by paying attention to loved ones. Happiness can be achieved by doing something that engages the full measure of one’s abilities and that is considered important by society as well. Peter Singer Fun vs. Happiness Fun is momentary and typically derived from external sources of amusement Happiness is an ongoing state of being that emerges from one’s internal state, attitudes and expectations Buddhism and Happiness In Buddhist tradition, the true causes of happiness and well-being are rooted in a wholesome way of life, through the cultivation wisdom and compassion. The acquisition of material goods, financial security, power, and fame may lead to happiness but are transient. Psychological Perspectives on Happiness Psychoanalytic Freud Healthy adults enjoy both love and work Sexual expression promotes happiness and mental health Sexual expression provides a safe outlet for one’s destructive urges that build up over time Adler Friendship- an important source of happiness. “What can I contribute to further human well- being?” Psychological Perspectives on Happiness Humanistic Carl Rogers The “good life” requires courage and the ability to launch oneself fully into the stream of life. • Open to experience • Live in the moment • Trust oneself Psychological Perspectives on Happiness Humanistic Abraham Maslow Openness to peak experiences = happiness Viktor Frankl Embracing life’s challenges is the only viable route to happiness because it holds the possibility of accomplishment To shrink back or hideout from life’s challenges causes us to lose self-respect Psychological Perspectives on Happiness Cognitive Behavioral Aaron Beck Expectation of gain Whether or not a person experiences happiness depends on the meaning he or she attaches to a particular situation or object Any event or idea that represents a meaningful addition to one’s life is sufficient to produce happiness The Scientific Study of Happiness Happiness defined A pervasive sense that life is good, meaningful, and satisfying What are the experiences and circumstances that enable people to be happy? What traits and attitudes enable some people to experience happiness and others not? Happiness How happy are people in general? About 80% say they are at least “fairly” happy About 35% of people say that they are “very” happy. Do Life Circumstances Create Happy People? Age A Sound Body Parenthood Money Gender Intelligence Ethnicity Community Age Are younger, the middle- aged, or the older adults happier? Happiness and Age There is remarkably little variation in the level of satisfaction with life as a function of age. Researchers found no correlation with age. Young adults, the middle aged, and the aged reported the same degree of life satisfaction. Empty Nest Syndrome Mid-Life Crisis Happiness and Parenthood Marital happiness goes down when the first child is born and goes up when the last child leaves home. Happiness and Parenthood Having children is not necessarily a predictor of happiness. Compared to childless couples, parents worry more and have more marital problems. Happiness and Gender No difference were found among men and women on their level of happiness. This is despite very substantial objective differences in career opportunities, personal income, and opportunities for self-expression throughout our society. Happiness and Ethnicity There were no differences in blacks or whites on level of happiness. Happiness and A Sound Body Are able-bodied people happier than disabled people? Disabled individuals describe themselves as no less happy than do able-bodied individuals. Happiness and Money There is a positive correlation between wealth and happiness, up to a point. Once the basic necessities of life are met, there are diminishing returns. Beyond poverty, increased wealth doesn't increase happiness. Happiness Equation Attainments Happiness = ----------------- Expectations Happiness Intelligence While intelligence has been correlated with outstanding achievement, researchers have not found a correlation between IQ scores and happiness. Community There was no difference in reported happiness among people living in urban, suburban, or rural areas. Predictors of Well-Being The Personality Traits of Happy People Personality Extroversion Health Social Activity/ Social Self-Esteem Support Personal Control Love and Marriage Optimism Work Faith Happiness and Personality Personality refers to enduring patterns of behavior, over time and across situations. There is a high correlation between people's reports of positive affect in the moment and their general level of happiness. Happiness and Genetics Happiness seems to function something like a personality trait. Health and Happiness Good physical health is moderately correlated with well-being. However, sound health alone doesn’t account for personal happiness because people tend to take good health for granted. Exercise Happiness and Self-Esteem • Happy people like themselves • Self-Esteem and Social Class • Self-Esteem and Educational Attainment • Self-Serving Bias Happiness and Self-Esteem Happiness, Personal Control, and Optimism Happy people believe they choose their own destiny. Optimists have a higher expectations Extroversion Social Support Close relationships are a predictor of happiness. Happiness and Social Support Happiness, Love and Marriage A predictor of happiness is a close marital relationship. Happiness and Work Happiness and Faith, Hope, Joy Religion or a spiritual commitment is correlated with happiness Among the elderly, religious belief and health are the strongest predictors of happiness People who are religiously inclined have more favorable mental health records Happiness and Faith, Hope, Joy What faith offers the religiously inclined: Social support Meaning and purpose Ultimate acceptance Focus beyond self An eternal perspective Happiness and Faith, Hope, Joy Among the elderly, religious belief and health are the strongest predictors of happiness.
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