Hint Number 1: The world is full of advice on happiness, and there is plenty of research on happiness, too. A word of advice: investigate before you “buy” into information or guidance on becoming happier. Happiness, like beauty, is not something on which people universally agree. Sometimes happiness refers to having fun; at other times, it refers to a more enduring state of life satisfaction, meaning and purpose.
Here’s an example: a few years back, some researchers announced that their study indicated that having children decreases “happiness,” and that’s the headline. Under the headline, deep in the research, you find a narrow definition of happiness used that reduces happiness to little more than an assessment of how much fun one might be having at any given time. For most parents (I hope!), while there are certainly aspects of parenting that are not as much fun as others, that is not the same as being substantially less happy – finding life less purposeful, less rich with meaning and emotion – than before kids. So, as you seek answers, be aware that often hundreds of pages of research have been selectively narrowed to a blurb. The “facts” presented to us are often just the tip of the iceberg.
Dr. Lori Puterbaugh