My husband e-mailed an article to me today – thinking I might find a way to “work it in” to a speech. Hmmm… could I work in comments from Harvard, Dr. Daniel Gilbert, author “Stumbling on Happiness“, in support of one of the major premises of my book? You bet I can.
Dr. Gilbert suggests people do not make good decisions about our own happiness because we are looking for something big.
“Our culture implores us to buy bigger, newer, better things, but research shows “stuff” does not buy happiness. By and large, money buys happiness only for those who lack the basic needs. Once you pass an income of $50,000, more money doesn’t buy much more happiness, Gilbert said.
Our genes hardwire us to reproduce, but children have a small negative effect on happiness, research shows. If you’re a parent reading this, you’re most likely shaking your head. But Gilbert said the findings are clear when parents are asked about their level of happiness in the moment.
…our imaginations fail us, Gilbert said, because when we envision different futures we see either perpetual gloom or happily ever-after scenarios. In fact, neither unhappiness nor joy last as long as we expect. As you’ve probably guessed, winning the lottery will not guarantee a life of bliss.”
In the Notice the Wildflowers chapter of Passion For Life, I contend true happiness comes in the small moments, like wildflowers along the path. If you don’t slow down, you can pass them by, never noticing the beauty.
“Nancy Segal, a professor at California State University Fullerton, has spent her professional career studying twins and happiness. We all have an innate level of happiness, Segal said. The best we can do is boost our happiness a little bit above this natural “set point.”
With that in mind, Segal said we should pass on buying lottery tickets and find small things we can do every day that bring us joy, whether it’s going for a walk or cooking a meal or reading a book.”
- Did you notice your wildflowers today?
- Did something make you smile?
- Did your kid do something cute?
- Did you complete a project or learn something new?
- What made you laugh?
Even on the darkest days – there are good things. Slow down, look around – you’ll find them!
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Eliz Greene is the Busy Woman’s Guide to a Health. Drawing on her experience surviving a massive heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins, struggling to lose the 80 pounds gained during her pregnancy, and her background as an adaptive movement specialist, Eliz developed simple strategies and tips to help other busy women be more active, eat better and manage your stress.
As the Director of the Embrace Your Heart Wellness Initiative, Eliz travels the country energizing and inspiring audiences in keynotes and workshops on women’s heart health. She writes one of the top 100 health and wellness blogs. Find more at www.EmbraceYourHeart.com.