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“It's good to be just plain happy, it's a little better to know that you're happy; but to understand that you're happy and to know why and how and still be happy, be happy in the being and the knowing, well that is beyond happiness, that is bliss.” Henry Miller

Saturday, October 2, 2010


I am reading a new book on one of my favorite topics. Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar makes happiness seem accessible to anyone.  Ben-Shahar teaches the positive psychology class at Harvard University.  He borrows heavily from Martin Seligman and others in the relatively new positive psychology movement.  I found that Ben-Shahar added to other excellent books on the subject with his emphasis on meditation, and he devotes a whole section of his book to this topic.

I also resonate with the thoughtfully chosen title, as it highlights the theme that a happy life is not an event, but a journey.  Each chapter is full of exercises, thought provoking questions and ideas for meditation that urge the reader along the path toward happiness.. 

One chapter highlights the simple, yet empirically proven practice of daily gratitude.  This is a principle that I use with most of my clients in my own counseling practice.  I designed a simple handout to record Three Good Things.  About Good Thing, the client is asked to list a way that they contributed to the Good Thing that happened.  Of course, God is credited for our blessings, but we must make ourselves available to participate in the blessings. Optimism is that realization that each individual can do things that make a difference.  It's a walking away from helplessness and passivity. 

Happiness is a journey that each of us can set out on.  Happier  acts as a map for the trip; each  set of expectations and exercises is a guidepost encouraging the reader along the way.



Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all.  William Faulkner

List three good things that happened to you today. Make them specific.





Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. Helen Keller

Write a possible explanation of why these good things happened





Kiwi said...

that sounds like a great book. we all need to learn how to be happy rather than just running around looking for some elusive "thing" that's going to flip the happy switch.

Janet Jergins said...

Thanks! I loved this book! We need to get together again soon!

Kiwi said...

yes, we do. i'm sorry last weekend didn't work out. computer training took longer than it was supposed to. i think we got it down, though. you know what it's like to try to work out a new system LOL.