Judith Tutin, PhD,ACC,CMC
August, 2010
LifeCoachNotesTreesHello Friend,
Summer's lease hath all too short a date, but no need for thy eternal summer to fade.  I'm sending along a few happiness-boosting tips to take you into fall and beyond.
Judy Tutin
Happiness is...

Happiness is enjoying an explosion of attention, with books promising the secrets of, strategies for increasing, and solutions to problems with happiness.   Ben-Shahar says happiness is answering 3 questions and doing 7 meditations.  Lyubomirsky says happiness is five "hows" and 12 activities.  Peterson and Frederickson say people matter.  And you remember what John Lennon said about what happiness is, right?


Here are my top contenders for what happiness is.


1.  Happiness is in the overlap you find when you answer the 3 questions:


* What gives life meaning?

* What gives me pleasure?

* What are my strengths?


Consider which happiness-boosting activities to take on (e.g., being more grateful, optimistic or forgiving).  Then ask the 3 questions.  Is being more grateful likely to give you a sense of meaning, pleasure and play off your strengths?  When you set goals for yourself, big or small, ask the 3 questions before you commit.


2.  Happiness is not found on the hedonic treadmill, in other words, humans habituate.  This means that when you have a great experience (think first kiss), it will not continue to be great if you keep doing it over and over in precisely the same way.  You will adapt and the thrill will wane.  Which is why that beautiful BMW you yearned for is great for a time but the wow quickly wears thin.  It's why Beethoven's Pastoral won't give you the chills if you listen to it daily.  In contrast, the family trip to Italy was unique, with many memorable experiences, and brings a warm glow each time you think about it.  The Pastoral continues to excite if you listen to it once a month.  Go for the meaningful experience, vary activities, or leave enough time between them to counteract habituation.


3.  Happiness is in your intentions.  You have a set-point for happiness, your normal happiness level, determined by genetics.  Your particular life circumstances (e.g., gender, age, winning the lottery) also affect happiness, but considerably less than you may think.  Regardless of your genes and circumstances, happiness is greatly influenced by a third factor, your intentions for living a happy life.  Strategies that increase happiness (e.g., giving more to others, savoring the good, taking better care of your body) can actually make a difference. 


4.  Happiness is the ultimate human currency.  It is not money, fame, fortune or power.  For clues to what makes you happy, consider what you have that would be worth all the money in Fort Knox.  Surely not your house, your car or your wardrobe.   It would probably be something more like a loved one, your freedom or your work.  What would increase your happiness by 5%?  Could something as simple as spending more time with a friend, spending less time at the office or helping your neighbor, increase your share of the ultimate currency?


Happiness is hard work.  My recipe for happiness is to take any combination of happiness-boosting activities you can commit to, that you believe will bring you meaning and pleasure, and practice them regularly.  These activities include being grateful, giving, joyful, passionate, optimistic, kind, forgiving, social and in flow.  They are also coping, savoring, simplifying, pursuing goals, living in the present, taking care of your mind, spirit and body and being your best possible self.  Happiness is finding the combination that works best for you.

Coaching uses tools to help you create a happy life.  Get in touch with me for a complimentary coaching session.  We coach by telephone--you can be anywhere.
Happier.  Tal Ben-Shahar
The How of Happiness.  Sonja Lyubomirsky
Sonnet 18.  William Shakespeare
 Happiness is a Warm Gun.  The Beatles
Judith Tutin, PhD,ACC,CMC
Licensed Psychologist, Associate Certified Coach,Certified MentorCoach
Life Coaching & Psychotherapy
Blog: lifecoachblog  postdivorceblog
Success is a journey, not a destination
Copyright 2007-2010 Judith Tutin