A Bit on Happiness

Can happiness increase forever? In “Happiness: Enough Already” by Sharon Begley in Newsweek, she explores the concept that maybe there is too much happiness. She argues that due to increases in happiness until the 1970’s (presumably due to increase in technology which has helped people work less, make an average of more money, and create more free time), people fear sadness more which has increased cases of depression. She then maintains that many of these cases which are classified as clinical depression are really normal bouts of sadness. So does happiness have a limit? Is happiness actually making us crazy, jumping from bouts of depression to bouts of manic happiness like someone with a bipolar disorder. I actually agree, but does that mean that we should decrease our happiness? Hell no! That would be like quitting a job because you just got promoted and your worried about the responsibility. Since when has it been acceptable to not want to move forward for the betterment of one’s self because your worried that being better at something might have consequences… never. I thought about this because as I was texting Chelsea this morning, I was expressing how happy I am. Disregarding humility for a minute, I’ve got a lot going my way! An amazing girlfriend, great friends, success in business, school, and personal ventures (such as gym results), all the while living in one of the best cities in America! Which got me thinking… what if it all came crashing down? Which brings me to this… if you are moving forward, it won’t! I think all to often people get up on their high horse, then let something knock them off. Don’t let ANYTHING knock you off! I also believe too often people lose control of their feelings, well here’s the truth, we have full control over our feelings. If your sad, then take control of your life and take steps to make yourself happier. Maybe you won’t be happy in an hour, a day, or even a month, but keep moving forward and you will be happy. I believe that happiness down to the deepest core is our minds recognition of things that improve our lives and sadness is the recognition of things that hinder our lives. By focusing on your happiness, you will be taking steps to improve your life, but by drowning in sorrow, you are quite literally drowning your life. Well can we be too happy? Or does happiness have a ceiling? Yes and no. I think people put to much into what the material that they have. If you want to focus on the bad parts of my life, I’m currently lost as to what I want after college, I do not actually own any home myself, and I’m working my butt off with all the jobs I have… But you don’t see me focusing on that… I know they are there, I’m being realistic, I have goals and dreams, some I believe I will attain, some that I realize the odds are strongly against me, but overall I am happy! I think as I take steps to complete my goals I know I will not complete them all, its impossible really, which brings me to the question of the happiness ceiling. It exists but I believe we approach it like the inverse of an exponential curve, which for all of you non-science/math peoples, means that as we approach that ceiling we do not ever stop increasing our happiness, just that the amount of increase decreases with time, so we are always becoming happier, but we just are not become happier as quickly. This dismisses setbacks in your life, such as the death of a family member, or a break up, etc. but I believe those things are “setbacks” not stopping points… keep moving forward!

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