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    Living a Happier LifeDove, carrying an
        olive branch.

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Preface

This page contains some links and informal suggestions for the general reader from a strictly lay point of view that may be helpful starting points for persons seeking to find greater lasting happiness, contentment and joy in their lives.
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This page is intended to be independent of specific philosophical and religious views, though it will have an underlying tendency toward Christian thinking in the western world and toward so-called "new age" thinking. This page recognizes that religious views can be pivotal in both understanding and implementing any improvements in a person's sense of contentment and well-being. Those specific aids and remedies are best found among the person's religious beliefs and their reliable sources of religious thinking and teaching. Dr. Fordyce points out, for example, that "happy individuals have well-developed philosophical or religious beliefs that provide them the satisfying sense of meaning, importance, and significance in their life. They seem to have a marvelously developed sense of personal direction that comes from those beliefs and values" that are completely independent of the specific religious or philosophical beliefs themselves.
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The items presented here are oriented toward what has been found by researchers and others among broad populations holding widely differing philosophical and religious views. There is a surprising uniformity of beliefs and values associated with well-being and contentment across the ages and across cultures and philosophies. And there is wide agreement that happiness is one of the most important goals we seek. Although as a field of study, it is only a few decades old, a few sources of research findings and suggestions are mentioned here in the hope that they will be helpful for those on a quest to improve their own everyday levels of happiness, contentment, inner peace and joy.
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“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present.”4
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Living a Happier LifeDove,
          carrying an olive branch.

Happiness, joy and contentment are very hard to define for others. But virtually all of us know them when we find them in our own lives. Most of us do not know, however, how to improve any of them, except for specific instances. This page contains some of what I have learned about finding lasting happiness, joy and inner peace; and all are contained here in the hope that some of them may also be helpful to others.
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All these resources are freely available so far as I know; and the books are available at most libraries and bookstores.
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There is, apparently, no one silver bullet that, if you do it, or acquire it, will lead you to lasting happiness. On the contrary, it seems to be a series of individually-tailored activities, thought patterns, attitudes, habits and built-in attributes which everybody can engage in or develop to some degree, the sum of which improves your happiness (even if no individual obtains greater happiness in all [or even many] of the areas identified in the research). Further, there doesn't seem to be a single nirvana at which one ultimately arrives; but rather, there seems to be a continuous series of processes unique to each person in which they are continuously expanding, improving and modifying the levels of happiness and joy which they recognize and experience. Ultimately, all these activities and thoughts become a series of more-or-less permanent habits based on sound principles, the end product of which is increased happiness. Over time, as you adjust and improve them, your level of overall happiness increases. And the very large numbers of possibilities can give substantial hope to anyone wishing to increase their level of happiness. Since there are so many possibilities, there is merit in trying them at different times, and from different stages of development. Often, something that failed (or made little sense) at an earlier time will bear fruit in present circumstances. And some of them will produce some degree of success, for sure. Every individual is unique; cultivate and preserve the ones that work for you. My hope is that some of the following will spark some of these processes for you.
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"The winds of happiness are always blowing; but it is you who must raise a sail."1
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“What I am looking for is not out there, it is in me.”2
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"A Happy person is not one in a certain set of circumstances, but rather
a person with a certain
set of attitudes." - Gretchen Rubin.
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Dr. Csikszentmihalyi  takes the view that it is not things nor experiences which create lasting happiness; rather, it is the way we interpret them. Therefore, his focus is on how to interpret rather than how to acquire or develop riches, relationships, skills, etc.[As you read Dr. Csikszentmihalyi, keep in mind that Dr. Haidt takes the view that some happiness (perhaps the most enduring) comes from within; but other happiness comes from without. You also need to take steps to change your situation and circumstances when you are able. His view is that it is the balanced application of both these two (which balance-point fluctuates, of course) that produces enduring happiness over time and evolving circumstances. You will see that Dr. Csikszentmihalyi takes this view also; but his focus in this book is on how we interpret our experiences.]
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Title: Living a Happier Life: Simple steps anyone can follow to find true lasting happiness, contentment and joy.
Contact for further information about this page: Chet Meek.
Voice: 780+433-6577; E-mail: cmeek@ocii.com
The primary URL for this page is at:  http://www.GoChet.ca/happy.htm
Page last updated: 21 August 2014 (Sm 2.26.n, w/SC; Win7pOnLower case Lambda - 16 high,
          transparent background). Page created: 2 April 2008.