I should have been a pioneer. Back before laughter yoga, random acts of kindness, and play therapy were invented, I mused about creating a newspaper that was full of only happy news. It shouldn’t come as a surprise from someone who traveled in Up With People, but I wanted to research happiness. Maybe I missed my professional calling, yet I’m still fascinated by the concept. Now studying happiness is a full-fledged field. Experts compile it categorically into rank and file. That sounds kind of strict to me, but maybe I’m not an expert. I’ve never considered myself all pie in the sky 24/7. I’m happy, but I’m a realist. And I have strong feelings about phony happiness, fake positivity, and all smiles all the time. Too often people gloss over real problems in their quest to be eternally sparkly, no worries, mate, everything’s a-ok. A good attitude is a wonderful thing, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes life does throw lemons at you and creates a soggy, overripe, sticky, smelly mess to clean up while you’re making lemonade.
I should be better about compiling the things I read on this subject. After Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow series there have been several psychology books and articles I’ve come across over the years. Here’s an article that my dad sent me recently. It was written by the same NY Times reporter who just worked on the happiness study in Somerville, MA. A New Gauge to See What\’s Beyond Happiness. What creates value in your life?