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Happiness

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/quizzes/

This UC Berkeley site has info on happiness and quizzes to take to understand yourself and others better.

http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/Default.aspx

This is a similar site at the Univ. of Penn.

Edwin Edebiri. My Happiness Journal: Growing Happier with Compassion

iamhappyproject.org He recommends:

Marci Shimoff. Happy for No Reason

Bob Nozik, M.D. Happy 4 Life: Here’s How to Do

Scientist Candace Pert explains the biology of happiness: “I believe that happiness is what we feel when our biochemicals of emotion, the neuropeptides and their receptors, are open and flowing freely throughout the psychosomatic network, integrating and coordinating our systems, organs and cells in a smooth and rhythmic movement.” She adds, “I believe that happiness is our natural state, that bliss is hardwired. Only when our systems get blocked, shut down, and disarrayed do we experience the mood disorders that add up to unhappiness in the extreme.

We have a genetic predisposition to be happy or not so happy, affecting as much as 50 percent of the way we respond, according to the Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart. About half of our predisposition to be happy and optimistic is genetic, about 10 percent is shaped by our situation, and 40 percent is our thinking patterns.[i] Recent lottery winners and paraplegics usually return to their level of happiness before the big change, but we can use various ways to become happier. Remember there are at least 50 percent we can influence with our “self-talk,” looking at the glass as half full rather than half empty. These include getting enough sleep, exercise, spending time with people we love, smiling, forgiving people, doing service for others, learning, creating, and meditation or prayer.

Martin Seligman is the author of more than a dozen books and father of the Positive Psychology movement, which studies the processes that contribute to optimal function of individuals, groups and institutions. He defines three parts of happiness: pleasure (the least important), involvement with what you love, and meaning—serving a bigger purpose. Just being happy helps others because happiness spreads. Seligman says that “happiness-building exercises” can increase contentment because they can change a person’s memory and perception of the past. His website above includes free tests you can take to identify your strengths and your happiness and depression levels.


[i]Happiness Can Be Inherited,” Reuters, March 6, 2008www.enn.com/top_stories/article/32384

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