How you define happiness may well determine how happy you are!

How you define happiness may well determine how happy you are!

Satisfaction and personal growth may be preferable to hedonism and the pursuit of fleeting pleasure…

…is this happiness? 

Well, it all comes down to definitions but such definitions may well be important determinants of our experience of happiness and life in generaly. 

In a thought provoking article from the Sydney Morning Herald, Frank Bures invites us to reflect upon this different terms…

When the Dostoevsky subway station opened in Moscow in 2010, there was concern that the grim scenes from Dostoevsky's novels, artistically depicted on the grey marble walls (Crime and Punishment's Raskolnikov about to murder the old woman with an axe, the troubled protagonist of Demons holding a gun to his head), were so depressing that people, overwhelmed by the bleakness, would start throwing themselves onto the tracks.

Fortunately, the feared rash of suicides has not materialised. This could be because people do not make those kinds of decisions based on subway art. Or it could be because Russians have a different attitude about happiness than most Westerners. One recent study shows they tend to have darker, more negative thoughts. They also worry less about those feelings and thus experience fewer depressive symptoms than Americans. Russians might brood more, but they don't dwell that much on their brooding. Americans, on the other hand, brood about their worrying and end up more depressed than the Russians.

It is, perhaps, a simple fact of life in the West: we expect to be happy. The right to pursue happiness is part of America's Declaration of Independence, after all. The feeling has been heightened by the booming field of "happiness studies", which has produced a flow of news stories and books about what will and will not make us happy, about the happiest places to live, and about how to structure our lives so we can be happy almost all the time.

Some important findings have emerged. Too many choices lead to dissatisfaction. Chronic pain has a more negative impact than a single accident. We habituate quickly to our acquisitions. A good marriage is worth about $100,000 a year in terms of how happy it makes us.

But this headlong rush towards happiness might backfire…

…keep reading the full & original article HERE