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Posted on February 4th, 2009 by DreamBank

Psychology Today (one of my favorite magazines) tackles the elusive issue of balance – that is, the balance between being happy overall, and denying your emotions.

It’s a challenge I face often, and one that clearly others battle as well.  We looked at the nebulous “happiness” subject in our series, but it’s worth examining again.  See, I consider myself an optimistic and happy person.  I enjoy life and I am hopeful about my own possibilities and that of others.

That said, there are days… Like yesterday when the printer, the computer and the buses all seemingly conspired to keep me from getting anything done.  It is those days that have me wondering: how happy am I really?  If it is so easy for me to get mad over things that are out of my control, am I truly joyful – or just generally repressed?

Carlin Flora’s article “The Pursuit of Happiness” reports on the “surest ways to find well-being”. But how to evaluate this concept, in the first place?
Young couple for DreamBank

“What is happiness? The most useful definition—and it’s one agreed upon by neuroscientists, psychiatrists, behavioral economists, positive psychologists, and Buddhist monks—is more like satisfied or content than “happy” in its strict bursting-with-glee sense. It has depth and deliberation to it. It encompasses living a meaningful life, utilizing your gifts and your time, living with thought and purpose.

It’s maximized when you also feel part of a community. And when you confront annoyances and crises with grace. It involves a willingness to learn and stretch and grow, which sometimes involves discomfort. It requires acting on life, not merely taking it in. It’s not joy, a temporary exhilaration, or even pleasure, that sensual rush—though a steady supply of those feelings course through those who seize each day.”

OK, that helps.  As does the rest of the piece.  Though I don’t agree with everything there, much of it gives me great comfort – as well as some useful things to work on.

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