Pursuit of Happiness in the New Normal

Pursuit of Happiness in the New Normal

As most of you would probably know, I spend most of my professional life speaking and writing about happiness.

And as I do so, I spend much of that time busting myths and misconceptions about happiness and wellbeing.

One of the biggest myths is that happiness is essentially … selfishness or hedonism or taking care of one’s own needs.

There are, obviously, times we need to look after ourselves but REAL happiness is just as much, if not more, about what we do with and for others.

Which is why I love this Psychology Today article by Tayyab Rashid that encourages us to shift the focus from individualism to collectivism …

KEY POINTS

  • Happiness is not merely a “feel good” state, rather an experience that comes from doing good.
  • Happiness is not a straight and narrow path. It entails trials & error, trying different things to build a rich variety of emotional experiences.
  • People often think holding on to anger and resentment will hurt others, but it hurts themselves more.
  • Make your happiness pursuit a highly personalized journey. To shape this journey, you need to author it

What may the pursuit of happiness look like in the new normal? Let me share with you seven observations:

1. Happiness is doing good and feeling good.

New Age apps and an abundance of pleasure apparatuses try to meddle with our mind and mood, making us believe that attainment of pleasure is the path to happiness. Rigorous lines of research have shown that pleasures are important for happiness. We do like castles, caviar, iPhones, and Louis Vuitton. However, we need to expand our horizons of happiness beyond the feel-good notions of happiness and give others equal attention, engagement and meaning.

A recent narrative meta-analysis of 64 neuroimaging studies showed that happiness as pleasure has specific and localized neural activity, but so does happiness that comes from pursuing things that deeply engage us (Tanzer & Weyandt, 2020). Happiness, in the new normal, may not be best understood as a mere feel-good state but better understood as doing good. Happiness is doing good, and when we do good, we feel good.

2. Happiness is learning from failures.

Happiness is not a straight and narrow path. Make room for trials and error. Allow yourself to experience failure without sliding into a downward spiral of pessimism. Try different things to build a rich variety of emotional experiences. These experiences will, in turn, increase your psychological flexibility—the ability to modulate your strengths in response to situational demands. Happy people tend to be open to new experiences…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE