Watching the movie Happy today on Netflix – I love the opening quote “The Constitution only guarantees the American People the right to pursue happiness.  You have to catch it yourself.”  The movie attributes this quote to Benjamin Franklin though I believe it to be a fake quote as it was the Declaration of Independence that had the right to pursue happiness and I don’t think Franklin would have made that error.  Regardless though the quote is fantastic because being happy is not a right – it’s not guaranteed but we can catch it if we try.

Great movie – “What do you want?”  To be happy.  It is what my blog is about and it is what most people want.  How much or how little do we really need to be happy?  It is a question I am always asking myself.  The movie shows a rickshaw driver who has very little but he is happy.  good neighbors, the love of his son, his needs are met even if it’s just rice and salt to eat.

I love how in just 30 years the field of psychology has bloomed into something more positive.  Happiness can help you reach other goals – If you are happy you will do better at your job, have better relationships because people will like you more if you are happy.  I have found through working in the social services field that when you focus on weaknesses or negatives then these are what people focus on but when you focus on strengths or positives people tend to be more successful.  I think the same is true in psychology – if you are always focusing on your depression then you are more likely to be depressed but if you focus on your accomplishments you are more likely to be happier.

The movie states that 50% of our ability to be happy comes from our genetics.  That means 50% comes from other factors!  Our circumstances only account for 10% – which means income, social status, where we live, social status and health.  We are focusing on the wrong things for increasing our happiness.  Intentional activity or actions we choose to do make up 40%.  Change is important so change things up even if it’s just going to work using a different route or changing up your exercise routine!

“Use it or lose it” – I didn’t know that as we age we lose dopamine synapses.  Pretty concerning as this is our feel good chemical.  So the best way to maintain healthy synapses is to do activities that encourage the production of dopamine.  Unfortunately for me however they recommend exercising – it always comes back to the exercising.  I really need to start – I know.

Novel ways are the best – they showed the gorilla run.  it made me think of the zombie run!  now that seems fun.  I think I would enjoy running (if i could) if it meant that I was avoiding zombie obstacles.  Run for your lives Zombie 5k has some videos on youtube that will show you how awesome this is!

I found an app called Zombies, Run! that I am interested in but it’s $7.99 which may not seem like much but I have this habit of not following through especially with exercise related things – the reason i think this game would be so awesome is because you use headphones and go for a run (walk) while playing the game and you can hear the zombies coming for you.  It’s an audio story game that you follow along with while you are running and you are gathering supplies for when you return home that you can use for your virtual base.

“try to work so you’ll be able to live your life in tranquility.”

They talk about being in the zone – it is one of the 50 things mentioned in Better than Chocolate – Flow theory (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi) is comprised of 4 key components

  1. the activity is challenging
  2. it is clear how we are progressing – have very clear goals.
  3. it takes all of our concentration
  4. we are making progress and feel in control

It builds with time the feeling that life is worth living.  Flow can happen anywhere!  with family, at your job.

The ever-present discussion of money and happiness was discussed – to sum it up I really liked the answer.  Money doesn’t buy happiness is an untrue statement and money buys happiness is an untrue statement.  Basic needs must be met or else it puts a strain on your happiness.

I’m not familiar with the term hedonic treadmill  but belief in this can be detrimental to our happiness.  Kate Shaw wrote a pretty decent article called “Getting off the “hedonic treadmill” and getting happier.”  Another great article is “Some Dark Thoughts on Happiness

Close supportive family and friends appears to be important to happiness.  personal growth, relationships, desire to help are examples of intrinsic goals and are satisfying within themselves.  Money, image, and status are examples of extrinsic goals.  Studies are showing that people who focus on intrinsic goals tend to be happier.

I learned that Bhutan seems to be a great place to live – instead of GDP they focus on gross national happiness – it makes you think about what you are doing.  Denmark is also great as it is the happiness country – free education through college and free healthcare for life.  There are also co-housing communities.  They showed a co-housing community of 20 families living together – each family has their own space but they share communal parts of the home and share chores/ tasks.  So they share cooking – could you imagine only having to cook maybe 2 times per month?  Less work and less expense.  So about 4-5 hours one day of cooking and washing dishes instead of 2 hours per day doing the same. children at age 14 start with helping with the cooking.

Sharing your day-to-day life with others – i think it would be very overwhelming for me but i think in the long run it would be better.  Sharing my day-to-day life with my daughter and husband brings me happiness.  I talk almost every day with my mom now and I noticed that this brings me happiness too.

Cooperative interactions help.  Compassion leads to happiness. Counting your blessings on a regular basis helps.  Acts of kindness helps a lot!


Happy – Check it out – great movie




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