Yeah! I am back on the happy horse again. In the past, I believe that happiness and fulfillment were neglected. It’s like what happened to butter – it was once a no-no, with potentially fatal consequences (it and a lot of other stuff too).
Now we find that butter is really good for you. Suddenly old fashioned cooking and remedies are the in-thing. We should have stuck with our grandmother’s advice – after all, it was based on centuries of experience. Who said: Too much learning is a dangerous thing? Give him a banana!
And so with happiness, the traditional approach to mental conditions, attitudes and behaviour has been from the unhappy end of the spectrum: cause and cure research has been focussed on the unhappiness in anxieties, neuroses and psychoses.
Lately, the realisation has dawned that the other end of the spectrum is the cure to many of those ills and greater attention has switched to positive psychology.
So prevention and cure could be: Don’t worry be happy!
Positive Psychology is the scientific study of human flourishing and an applied approach to optimal functioning. It has also been defined as the study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals, communities and organisations to thrive
A Daily Telegraph article by Philip Johnston highlighted the new focus on happiness and wellbeing:
- More than 200 colleges either have research institutes or offer courses in positive psychology.
- Politicians are saying things like:
- “the best society is that where the people are happiest, and the best policy is the one that produces the greatest happiness”.
- “The first thing we know is that in the past 50 years, average happiness has not increased at all – despite massive increases in living standards.”
- Economists have noticed one apparent paradox: that despite a substantial increase in GDP in the industrialised West, the levels of human contentment have remained static.
More and more countries are developing a happiness and well-being index and measuring progress.
In 2011, the United Nations invited all countries to measure the happiness of their people and to use this to help guide their public policies. The first World Happiness Report was published in 2012. The 2017 Report is available online.
My point is that if it’s happening on national levels, then everyone should be measuring their own happiness and well-being and working at improving it and spreading happiness.
As you may detect, this is not all my own stuff: I am doing a free course on Happiness and Fulfillment offered through Coursera.
If you are interested, have a look; there are 100’s of free info-only courses. I am on my third one!