Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Finding Happiness

 Charles Darwin believed that emotions were biologically determined and universal in human culture. We know that emotions helped us survive by ensuring our physical, social, safety and well-being. These internal states were meant to motivate us and assist us achieve our best chances of survival by either withdrawing from threats or approaching rewarding things around us. Our emotions are important subjective feelings within us. In other words, in general, emotions are internal states that exist for three reasons: 1.Focused our intention on important things that affect our personal or social, safety or well-being. 2. Motivated us to do whatever we need to do about these things in order to get what we need or want. 3. Caused physiological changes in the body, like breathing and heart rate that allow us to do whatever we need to do. Further emotions are short, dominating and focused, which means they are short-lived in duration. They typically come and go in seconds, minutes, hours, and are simply not present for long periods of time.  Emotional states are connected to specific thoughts or environmental situations.

Within that short or brief background, let’s add a few other ideas regarding happiness: 1. Thomas Jefferson said there was a universal right regarding “the pursuit of happiness”2.  Greek philosophers believed - by living ethically, guided by reason, motivated by exhibiting their virtues, associating happiness with obtaining pleasure for the greater good, imposing a strict regulation on desire, and an absence of pain, coupled with emphasis on pleasure in the mind as contrasted to physical pleasure. 3. Sonja Lyubomirsky’s concluded-happiness level is 50% genetically determined. 10% affected by life circumstances and situation and the remaining 40% subject to self-control. More recently, psychologist Martin Seligman asserted that happiness was not a drive for external or monetary pleasures and humans seemed happiest when they have: 1. Pleasure [tasty food, warm baths, etc.] 2. Engagement [or flow, the absorption of an enjoyed yet challenging activity] 3. Relationships [social ties] 4. Meaning. [Perceived quest or belonging to something bigger] 5. Accomplishments [Having realize tangible goals].

To be continued

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