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Small choices for happiness

June 4, 2012

Here’s a great idea…

In his book, Authentic Happiness, Martin E.P. Seligman says, “We often choose pleasure (and worse, displeasure) over [happiness]. In the nightly choice between reading a good book and watching a sitcom on television, we often choose the latter—although surveys show again and again that the average mood while watching sitcoms on television is mild depression.” (p. 117)

In other words…

We’re all looking for easy happiness. But research has shown that there are no shortcuts to that kind of happiness called gratification, the fulfillment that comes from using our strengths and virtues. Gratification can only be achieved through designing our lives to use our strengths in productive activity.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life…

Next time you are bored and tempted to rely on a shortcut to happiness, such as television, web-surfing, or snacking, do something that builds a sense of accomplishment. You might make something, pull a few weeds in the yard, cook a favorite recipe, call a neighbor, or read a good book. Try it today. Then look for that feeling of gratification.

To Find Out More…

about personal well-being, check out The Personal Journey or Managing Stress programs at arfamilies.org, follow us at facebook.com/navigatinglife or contact your local county Extension agent. You can also read Authentic Happiness.

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