Three Keys to be Happy

An article on Time a couple of days ago offered three pieces of advice from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on happiness. Dr. Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced Chick-Sent-Me-High-ee) is a leading researcher on life well-being and director of Quality of Life Research Center at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, CA. He recently established what he called the world’s first Ph.D. program at CFU which focus on positive psychology and the analysis of happiness.

So what are the keys to be happy?

  • Be attuned to what gives you genuine satisfaction. Although many people assume that popular activities like watching TV are enjoyable, their own reports generally indicate that they feel more engaged, energetic, satisfied and happy when doing other things.
  • Study yourself. To better understand their own happiness, Csikszentmihalyi says, people should systematically record their activities and feelings every few hours for a week or two. In recording your observations, try to focus on how you actually feel, rather than what you think you ought to be feeling or what you expect to feel. Afterwards, note the high points, particularly, and the low ones. Then try to adjust how you spend time according to your findings.
  • Take control. Repairing unhappy conditions requires active effort. People often assume external conditions will change for the better or let chance determine their response. That’s a mistake. “Get control,” Csikszentmihalyi says. When things aren’t right, “you have to put in the same effort you would if your business were in trouble. Just as markets move, life changes too.”

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