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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Happiness 101

This article on positive psychology in the New York Times is long, but worth reading from beginning to end. It seems that this trend is appearing in scientific and educational studies and not simply in self-help circles. Read it through and tell me what you think.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Bart said...

Read it. .. hmmm. what I think? ... first of all.... I have often wondered about the fact that I was taught so much at schools, but not how to live life. I can not really recall being told about friendship, love, happiness, sadness, aggression or how to deal with disappointment more than just it being mentioned somewhere.
So my first reaction is something of.. well.. finally they are told something of "true value" :-)

The fear of it turning into a kind of religion is not so strong in my point of view, as I assume that we humans have all sorts of religions, ideologies, moral standards etc etc. As long as there is the freedom of choice I am not really worried, but welcome the possibility to share thoughts.

A large part of the article deals with the issue whether it can be called science or not. I understand that is of importance for some, but for me, personally, it is not the value of the course whether it is scientific enough or not. The value of it for humans, at this moment in our type of society seems to outweigh it clearly to me.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Nita said...

Thanks for your thoughtful response, Bart.

11:08 AM  
Blogger Sydney said...

I read the article. College is difficult, not just the classes. It's emotionally difficult. I suppose you could say the same thing about high school too. I think a class like this is a great idea.

Any new area like this is going to cause some controversy. While I can see why some professionals might be leary of the idea, I would think there's room for both sides. My view is that while introspection is valuable in order to know why I am the person I am, at some point it's time to move forward and focus on the positive aspects of my life. I'm not knowledgeable enough about the mental health field to judge the scientific validity of this field. My gut says it's a valuable part of anyone's development.
After all, don't many (all?) of us spend much of our lives determining what makes us truly happy. I little guidance in that area couldn't hurt.

Thanks for pointing out the article.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Nita said...

I agree, Sydney. While some people may think this is too much of a "Happy Days" approach to life that is often described in the mid-twentieth century, as one who was raised during that period I have to say I think it's preferable to all the doomsaying and negative vibes that surround us today. I think most people confuse "happiness," a general state of mind, with "being happy," which can be momentary and fluctuate rapidly. Most people are probably happier than they think--but they've gotten into the habit of complaining all the time. Once they're made aware of this, they tend to think more positively. Anyway, I'm "happy" that science is looking into it and that psychologists are considering the positive angles instead of just the negative ones.

12:51 PM  

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