Happiness Defined

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If I asked you to define happiness, how would you respond? Would you say lots of money would do it? How about a happy home life? Maybe it would be a better education. More than likely most of you would say it would be a combination of many things. I think true happiness must come from your soul; and to be truly happy you must have peace from your past, productivity from your present, and optimism on your future. Not one thing will make you truly happy, but just maybe we can figure out the combination of things that can. The first question we must ponder is what is happiness? According to the text,”A Balanced Psychology and a Full Life” written by Seligman, Parks, and Steen this question has no one true answer (418). Instead they try to define some components of happiness and how we can build them (418). They define these constituents as pleasure, engagement, and meaning (418).They define pleasure as increasing positive emotion (418). They believe we can boost our positive emotion on our own by forgiving those who have wronged us in our past (418). We can also increase emotion about the present by savoring things and being mindful of others (418). The way to stay optimistic about your future is with hope (418). Our authors also say this can only take us so far because much of our positivity is determined by genetics (418).Here in the United States we can make people feel defective if they are not happy enough because we put so much emphasis on being cheery and upbeat (418). The second component has to do with gratification. They believe the key constituent of gratification is how engaged we are with something (419). There is no fast way to true gratification, it has to be something we feel deep in our soul (419). True gratification is not eating cookies, doing drugs, or a hour long full body massage (419). It has to be something that pushes us, that makes us feel alive. We have to use our god given talents to truly reach gratification, and maybe a few other skills...
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