Thursday, December 24, 2009

Spread Happiness

What is happiness? Measures of happiness have been studied for years. In fact, for ages youth was considered a measure of happiness as people searched for the "fountain of youth." With all of the money spent today on looking and feeling youthful and ageless, it is obvious there is still a market for youthfulness as a measure of happiness. Sometimes the amount of money we spend is considered a measure of happiness. Positive psychologist Martin Seligman has been studying happiness for many years. His research on authentic happiness has led to a Master of Applied Positive Psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Center.

Happiness is even being studied as link in economic development. Since the meaning of happiness seems to be a bit subjective, the study of happiness can be ambiguous unless it is clearly defined. In the Wall Street Journal Online, The Numbers Guy discusses research on the self-perceived quality of life or well-being in his article, "On a Scale of One to Four, How Happy Are You?" Is quality of life the same as perceived happiness? Can happiness be quantified, defined, and qualified? Do you even know if you are happy at any given moment? Positive Psychologists have developed assessments for measuring Authentic Happiness and now have a website for measuring and improving "Happiness." But sometimes the question of happiness is more of a comparison: "Am I happy compared to what?" Unless you decide to be happy, or know how to make yourself happy, you may find yourself less than happy at any time or place.

The Christmas season with the lights, gifts, family, and often spiritual context can bring out joy and happiness in many, but it can be a source of unhappiness for others if they expect the season or other people to make them happy. Gratitude, giving, sharing, music, exercise, and relaxation promote happiness. Find ways to spread happiness this holiday season rather than waiting for it to come to you. Enjoy the season!

With Love and Happiness,

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