6.9.10 Happiness
Happiness is
We feel happiness when we feel we are achieving our goals, and especially so when we achieve a hard-won goal. Positive anticipation and attendant happiness happens when we predict that we will achieve our goals and feel confident about those predictions, perhaps because they have been right recently.
Czikszentmihalyi (), in his long study of happiness identified what he called an 'autotelic' personality - a person who set their own goals, short- and long-term, and then had great fun in achieving them.
Triggering happiness
Happiness can be triggered by things that remind us of happy things, from up-beat music to comedies. A particularly powerful trigger of happiness are words. Read a paragraph that contains words like 'new' and 'exciting' and 'wonderful' and you will start to feel good.
Internally, happiness is caused by seratonin being created in the brain. Happy people produce lots of seratonin, whilst sad people produce very little.
Happy people tend to be more optimistic and adventurous. This appears in such as shopping habits, where happy people will buy more and also buy more different and unusual things.
Happiness is not a permanent state, and no matter what we get, we will always swing between happiness and sadness. Just look at the miserable rich people out there. In terms of income, it has been shown that once we have a roof over our heads and food on the table, increasing amounts of money cannot buy more happiness.
So what?
So if you want someone to do something adventurous, get them happy. Do this by helping them to set and achieve goals (or at least believe that they will achieve them some time soon).
See also
Czikszentmihalyi, M. (1992), Flow: The Psychology of Happiness, London: Rider [also published as 'Flow: The psychology of optimal experience']