Specifically, he recommended gaining rational control over your desires and harmonizing the different parts of your soul.
This 3-part documentary ends tonight on PBS.
Featured in the third episode is Dr. Edward Diener, who has studied happiness across cultures and has pinpointed some universal reasons that people are happier. I had the opportunity to interview Dr.
Why does religion seem to make people happier? Many studies find that religious people on average are happier. In our book on happiness, my son and I argue that one key ingredient is positive spirituality, feeling emotions such as love, awe, wonder, respect, and gratitude that connect us to others and to things larger than ourselves.
That is, spirituality can focus us on larger causes than our own personal welfare, and this can give us purpose and meaning. Also, this broader focus on others and purpose can help us quit worrying so much about ourselves.
And it can help us connect to others. Religion has been associated with happiness for other reasons. For instance, religion often gives people social support and contact. People meet other like-minded people at church, and in many instances can count on those folks when they need help.
Another reason that some religions might increase subjective well-being is that they provide optimism for an afterlife. Another reason that religion can help happiness is that it provides a moral compass, rules to live by. We need something more than our own hedonism to guide our behavior, and religion can help to provide guidelines to follow in order to have an orderly and moral life, that helps us get along well with others.
Finally, religion can provide answers to large questions, such as where did the universe come from, why is there evil, etc. In our research, we are surprised to find that the happiest nations are often relatively nonreligious, such as Scandinavian societies.
This is surprising, because we also find that religious people have more positive feelings in most nations. So it is a puzzle as to why people in wealthier societies are so frequently turning away from religion.
It seems from our analyses that people most turn to religion when conditions in their society are tough — poverty, conflict, and so forth.
When conditions are good, fewer people in a nation continue to be religious. Even then, the religious individuals report more positive emotions.
What are some other key principles to happiness? Rather, in our book my son and I write that happiness requires a recipe of ingredients mixed in the right amounts. When a person is depressed, it can be for a number of reasons, and the same is true of happiness. For some, happiness comes primarily from their relationships, and for others they obtain a lot of well-being from the contributions of their work.
At the same time, we can say some things about statistical averages, and the common causes of happiness: Having supportive relationships is very important. We found that all happy people have them. Being a supportive person to others is also important. People who help others seem to be better off.
Some data show that people who help others a lot are healthier. Having purpose and meaning in life is important, a devotion to people or goals that are larger than ourselves.Happiness is a life in which there exists free action (including meaningful work), loving relations, and moral character and in which the individual is not plagued by .
(3) The influence of religious belief, which declares certain acts to be offensive to the Deity, and to lead to punishment in a future life. (4) The belief expressed in the saying, "Honesty is the best policy," and expanded into the general principle that the moral life is, emphatically, the happiest life.
Being overly moral in any domain would be to go to one extreme and not to be virtuous. One should drink some wine, but not be a drunkard. To drink no wine is just as much an extreme as it is to be a drunkard, but the virtuous person will drink with moderation.
Being Happy. So character matters to happiness. It is the foundation that holds up the house. but who is sometimes buried under the emotional and moral rubble of our own creation. You are, after all, engaged in the sacred work of sculpting a man or woman of integrity and character and picking up a deeper, more abiding brand of happiness.
Greek Virtue, Self-Actualization, and Happiness To the ancient Greeks, happiness is the end goal of life. Virtuous behavior contributes to moral excellence. Moral excellence can contribute to a happy life.
Thus, being a moral person is essential to living a life of happiness. A person achieves happiness by possessing the.
Virtue is the largest constituent in a eudaimon life. By contrast, Epicurus holds that virtue is the means to achieve happiness. His theory is eudaimonist in that he holds that virtue is indispensable to happiness; but virtue is not a constituent of a eudaimon life, and being virtuous is not (external goods aside) identical with being eudaimon.