Are You Happy?

What makes one person happy and not another?  Many years ago the Sociology Department at Duke University did a study on “Peace of Mind”.  After studying hundreds of people, both happy and unhappy, nine factors were found to contribute to emotional and mental stability.

l.  The absence of suspicion and resentment.  Holding a grudge was the major factor in unhappiness

2.  Living in the present and the future. Much unhappiness stems from an unwholesome preoccupation with past mistakes and failures.

3.  Not wasting time and energy fighting conditions you cannot change.

4.  Cooperating with life, instead of trying to either demolish it or run away from it.

5.  Forcing yourself to be outgoing with others-instead of retreating within-during times of emotional  stress.

6.  Refusing to pity yourself or seek self-justification in easy alibis that make you appear “noble” to yourself   and others.

7.  Cultivating the old-fashioned virtues of love, honor, loyalty, thrift.  ( We add courage to the list at Living in  Courage.)

8.  Not putting too much pressure on yourself.  When there is a wide gap between the standards you set for yourself and your actual achievement, unhappiness if inevitable.  If you cannot improve your performance, try lowering the demand instead.

9.  Finding something bigger than yourself in which to believe. Self–centered, egotistical, materialistic people score lowest of all in any test measured for happiness.