The Secret to Happiness

The Lasting Happiness And Success Formula

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The Lasting Happiness And Success Formula Summary


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Assessment Of Pain When Communication Is Impaired

When pain is suspected in a person who is unable to communicate verbally or to understand, such as the case with receptive aphasia often seen after strokes, the assessment of pain will depend heavily on being able to recognize aberrant physical or behavioral responses (10,11). Body language that has typically been associated with pain unfortunately also may be associated with other etiologies. For example, grimacing or wincing may be associated with nausea, disgust, or distaste. Fist clenching or muscle tightening may be associated with anger. Withdrawal can be reflexic or occur when frightened or startled or even in response to tickling. Crying, of course, can reflect sadness or, in many circumstances, even happiness.

The Nature of Positive Well Being

There are two broad perspectives on positive well-being that have been delineated in the research literature over the past 20 years. The first focuses on subjective well-being or the experience of high positive affect, low negative affect, and satisfaction with life (Diener, 1984). This affective experience has also been described as happiness, hedonic well-being, pleasure, and enjoyment of life. The second construct has come to be called eudaimonic well-being, and

The Determinants of Positive Well Being

Positive well-being has multiple determinants at the individual, social, and ecological levels, and these have been extensively studied by a variety of social scientists ranging from personality psychologists to economists (Diener et al, 1999 Dolan et al, 2008). There is good evidence that positive affect is moderately heritable (Lykken and Tellegen, 1996), and this association may be mediated through temperamental dispositions such as high extraversion, low neuroticism, and optimism. Positive well-being is strongly related to satisfying social relationships and social engagement, though the causal sequence can be difficult to disentangle (Lyubomirsky et al, 2005). The issues of causation and reverse causation also bedevil analyses of the relationship between positive well-being and income or wealth. There is evidence, on one hand, that changes in income stimulate changes in well-being and, on the other hand, that high positive well-being predicts future increases in income and...

Positive Well Being and Health Protective Characteristics

One of the difficulties in evaluating the contribution of positive well-being to health is that it does not occur in isolation, but tends to be associated with a range of other psychosocial characteristics that may themselves have health benefits. This is illustrated in Table 14.1 with data from around 700 men and women aged 60.7 years on average, who were members of the Whitehall II epidemiological cohort (see Steptoe et al, 2008b for further details). Positive affect was assessed using EMA ratings of happiness obtained four times over a single day, while eudaimonic well-being was associated with the autonomy, self-realization, and control scales from the CASP-19 questionnaire (Hyde et al, 2003). The table summarizes the associations between these two dimensions of positive well-being and a series of psychosocial factors relevant to health. All analyses were adjusted for age, gender, socioeconomic status, employment status, and self-rated health. It can be seen that both positive...

Positive Well Being and Physical Health

Fortunately, other studies provide stronger evidence. A good example is Kubzansky and Thurston's (2007) study of emotional vitality and coronary heart disease (CHD). A cohort of 6025 men and women aged 25-75 years who were initially free of CHD were followed for an average of 15 years, during which time 1141 developed CHD. Emotional vitality, a combination of vitality (sense of energy and pep), positive well-being (happiness and life satisfaction), and emotional self-control (feeling emotionally stable and secure), was assessed at baseline. Participants with greater emotional vitality were at markedly reduced risk for CHD, and this effect remained significant after accounting statistically for age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, educational attainment, blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index (BMI), smoking, alcohol use, physical activity level, diabetes, hypertension, and psychological illness. All three components of emotional vitality appeared to contribute to the health...

Experimental Studies of Biology and Well Being

However, all these studies involved very short-term changes in mood. More relevant for the investigation of potential health effect is the comparison of people high and low in trait measures of positive affect. For example, Tugade and Fredrickson (2004) tested cardiovascular recovery following challenging tasks, and found that individuals high in resilience showed more rapid post-stress recovery. This association was accentuated in people high in positive affect. We have carried out two studies assessing these phenomena. The first involved 216 middle aged men and women from the Whitehall II epi-demiological cohort who were monitored during and after the administration of two standardized tasks color word interference and mirror tracing (Steptoe et al, 2005). Positive affect was assessed by aggregating EMA assessments of happiness obtained every 20 min over a working

Interventions and Implications for Health

There are as yet no large-scale studies that have convincingly demonstrated that improving positive affect results in favorable changes in objectively assessed physical health outcomes or biological responses. Several intervention methods have been proposed for enhancing happiness and resilience, using treatments such as Fordyce's happiness program, and gratitude and mindfulness interventions. These interventions may not only augment happiness but also build resilience resources that enhance effective coping with trauma (Cohn et al, 2009). It is important to investigate the impact of interventions on potential biological and behavioral mediators, and ultimately disease etiology and prognosis, in order to establish the true importance of positive affect in health. It is even possible that some of the benefits of cognitive-behavioral

Personality Development and Disorders

The number and variety of a person's experiences increase with age. For most children, the journey of life begins in a family setting and expands to the community, the school, and the world of work. Depending on the appearance and behavior of the individual, as well as the nature of the social situation and the people coniprising it, social encounters may be friendly or unfriendly, successful or unsuccessful. Relatives, peers, fellow students, and coworkers can be competitive or cooperative, accepting or rejecting. In general, the more socially active a person is, the more friendly and unfriendly contacts he or she has. More frequent social interaction produces sympathetic, helping behavior as well as quarrelsomeness and aggression. Throughout it all, most individuals learn that social and psychological survival depends on being able to give and take, and that happiness requires attention to the needs of others as well as oneself. Most people learn this lesson in childhood, whereas...

Homosexual Relationships

One often hears about wedded bliss or matrimonial harmony, but these are obviously not descriptive of many conjugal relationships. It may be that marriages are made in heaven, though it is doubtful unless one is a bride of Christ or married to the church. Duration is certainly not a sure-fire indicator of marital happiness. Most people who get married probably intend to stay that way, but, as one young woman explained to me, If it doesn't work out there are always divorce courts. Still, you can't equate marital stability with marital satisfaction. One 90-some-thing-year-old couple celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary by untying the knot. They confessed that they had never really liked each other but decided to wait until the children had grown old and died before going their separate ways.

Goals Strategies And Societys Options

The answers to several fundamental questions will influence perceptions about mental health and older people and the distributional issues that inevitably arise in their care. First, what goals should mental health care serve Second, how do interventions relate to outcomes Third, how much or what kind of care should society provide (Sabin & Daniels, 1994) Each of these questions has contestable answers. For older people, mental health care can focus on any of three ends helping to make well those already suffering from mental illnesses or impairments of various kinds developing and implementing strategies that might help older people avoid mental illnesses and striving for improved mental health and therefore enhanced potential for happiness. The first approach is circumscribed the second and third approaches are more expansive, focusing not on the absence of mental disease but on the individual's ability to function in desirably positive ways, that is, to experience a subjective...

The positive affect neurotransmitters

Neuroscientists and many others are convinced that psychic events, like mood states, are nothing more than processes within the brain. Such a conviction makes it legitimate to ask for the neurochemical substrates of, for example, mood states. Positive affect, or pleasure or happiness or whichever vulgar expression we prefer to use, is a theme attracting attention from people even outside the circle of neuro-scientists. Because of the double audience, it might be worth the trouble to make some comments on this topic here and now.

Gender Race and Social Status

American society has become increasingly diverse during this century. In the past 150 years, there has been a multifold increase in emigration to the United States by people of other nationalities, races, religions, and backgrounds. To many of these immigrants, this nation held out a promise of personal status, affluence, and happiness they could not hope to achieve in their native countries. Unfortunately, the differences between these people

Social Class Differences in Behavior

Differences also exist between the behaviors and attitudes of upper, middle, and lower-class adults. For example, greater percentages of people in the middle and upper social classes hold conservative viewpoints on political issues, and hence are more apt to vote Republican than those in the lower social classes (Lazarsfeld, Berelson, & Gaudet, 1944). Violence and mental illness are also more common in the working and lower classes than in the middle and upper classes. Personal health and happiness, however, are higher in members of higher social classes (Berger, Cohen, & Zelditch, 1973 Markides et al., 1990 Srole, Langer, Michael, Opler, & Rennie, 1962).

Location And Relocation

In most cases, the living environment is sufficiently supportive of the needs of people to make them want to stay. The network consisting of family, friends, medical facilities, schools, jobs, stores, and other people and organizations should provide the necessary support systems for individual growth, productivity, and happiness. Sometimes, however, the environment or the individual changes in such a way that there is no longer a good match between what the individual requires or desires and what the physical or psychological environment of a community has to offer.

The Importance of Behavior

Census Bureau, 2004), a trend that is fast becoming global and carries immense implications for all world cultures and economies. Moreover, in addition to aging of the general population, demographics within the aged group itself are also shifting as the category of oldest old (80+ years) is growing faster than any other segment of elderly. Now, along with increased longevity provided by scientific achievements, science should also work to increase life satisfaction and happiness for growing numbers of aged. Extended years should be years lived well, if possible. It is our view that aging research should be collaborative across disciplines as an understanding of the biological bases of aging without consideration of behavior or individual differences, or vice versa, is an incomplete understanding.

Personality and the NHP Model

Typically, psychological well-being in nonhuman primates is measured through behavioral observations and or hormonal analyses. However, at least one recent study has shown that well-being or ''happiness'' can be reliably estimated by human raters who are familiar with the individual (King and Landau, 2003). In these studies, zookeepers or researchers with extensive experience working with or observing individual chimpanzees were asked to rank them on overall mood, quality of social relationships, extent to which they were successful in achieving goals, and how much they would like to ''be'' a particular chimpanzee. Results showed that reliability across raters was as consistent as have been found in human studies of subjective well-being. Furthermore, this construct appears to be heritable and generically correlated with dominance (Weiss, King, and Enns, 2002). There was a strong correlation between personality and subjective well-being in chimpanzees, and many aspects of well-being...

Adjusting to Retirement

For most older adults, retirement is an active, rewarding period of their lives. They now have time to pursue interests and complete tasks that they had to postpone or devote less time to during their working years. Not only do most people adjust well to retirement, but also their health and happiness may actually improve when they are no longer required to conform to the daily grind (Betancourt, 1991 Herzog & House, 1991 Quinn & Burkhauser, 1990). For these reasons, retirees are, on the whole, satisfied individuals who retain a sense of usefulness and pride in themselves and their accomplishments.

Conflation of concepts

Which is in conformity with any other.220 The same is true in the context of liberty. For example, Berlin has noted that 'Almost every moralist in human history has praised freedom. Like happiness and goodness, like nature and reality, the meaning of this term is so porous that there is little interpretation that it seems able to resist.'221

The Influence of Adaptation and Appraisal Processes on QOL Evaluations

Clinicians have often noted that their clients are continually adapting to their illness and recognize that often patients who would be expected to feel despair given their physical health report being happier and more satisfied with life than expected. Over the past 10 years the QOL field has taken note of the possible influence of response shift on the QOL assessments. When individuals experience a health-state change, they may change their internal standards (i.e., recalibration), values (i.e., reprioritization), or meaning (i.e., reconceptualization) of the target

Theoretical Foundation of Response Shift

Empirically based research on adaptation increasingly highlights that the personal level of happiness is more flexible and thus changeable than was previously thought (Diener, 2006). The field of positive psychology has provided mounting evidence that sustainable increases in happiness levels are possible via interventions that teach ways of refocusing one's perspective and priorities, and that these increases are sustained over time (Lyubomirsky and Sheldon, 2005 Lyubomirsky et al, 2006 McCullough, 2000 Otake et al, 2006 Seligman et al, 2005). In contrast to this demonstrated flexibility is the increasingly documented genetic influence on HRQOL (Christensen et al, 1999 Kendler et al, 2000 Leinonen et al, 2005 Lykken and


Forty women who had been selected by L. Terman (1925) in 1921 for a study of intellectually gifted California schoolchildren were reinterviewed in 1987 when their mean age was 77 yrs. These Ss had been prospectively followed by questionnaire over the intervening 65 yrs. Their capacity for creativity (putting something in the world that was not there before) was assessed by review of their prospectively gathered questionnaires and by retrospective interview. The 20 Ss viewed as most creative (usually for literary publication, art, music, or starting an organization) were more likely in the past to have manifested generativity, and at the present to have adjusted well to old age. Although the ego defenses of sublimation, humor, and altruism were more frequent among creative Ss, no differences were noted in the happiness of their childhoods or their health prior to the present. (Reprinted with permission of the American Psychological Association, publisher of Psychological Abstracts and...


Our review highlights the fact that the issues of aging are fundamentally religious realities that must not be medicalized or reduced to objects of biology. Each religion speaks to our humanity in its own distinctive voice, shedding light on how we must care, cure, and cope with our mortality. On the one hand, there is profound trust in the goodness of God on the other hand, there is acceptance of nature's laws. Therefore, what counts is not longevity but quality of life. To have this sense of spiritual creativity is the great happiness and the premier proof of being alive.

Social Environment

Social networks constitute another important influence on a person's attitudes and behavior. Friends help set examples and provide conditions conducive to health-related behaviors and attitudes. Studies of the patterns of the distribution of health habits, obesity, and psychological characteristics such as happiness in the population have documented their similarity to patterns of social connections (Christakis and Fowler, 2008 Fowler and Christakis, 2008).

Traits and Types

Although many theories and research findings have contributed to the development of personality assessment instruments, the most influential of all conceptualizations have been those that view human personality as a conglomeration of traits. Broadly defined, a trait is a cognitive, affective, or psychomotor characteristic that is possessed in different amounts by different people. A type, on the other hand, is a larger dimension of personality, consisting of a particular complex of traits. For example, Reichard, Livson, and Petersen's (1962) five clusters of personality in older men (mature, rocking chair, armored, angry, and self-hating) are personality types. A related example of types is found in the results of Neugarten, Havighurst, and Tobin's (1968) study of the relationships of long-standing personality characteristics and social activity to happiness in a sample of people aged 70 to 79. This study was concerned with four major personality types integrated, armored-defended,...

On Dying Well

People should be enabled to ''die well.'' Again, as noted earlier and contrary to some myths, people do not fear death so much as the loss of well-being and a painful decline (Gallup & Newport, 1991 Saunders & Baines, 1989). But decline is not simply equatable with physiological or biological deterioration. Decline in quality of life can occur quite without physiological or biological deterioration. Even the argument that a minimal condition of ''health'' is a necessary condition of ''happiness'' does not, and cannot, claim that ''health'' is a sufficient condition of happiness. Moreover, and perhaps more important, decline of ''health'' does not necessarily or for all persons entail diminishment of self and sense of self as an integral individual human being. Of course, there are a variety of contingent matters and conditions that can contribute to a loss


Certain psychologists and psychiatrists, viewing heterosexual union as a sine qua non of mental health and happiness, have considered chronic bachelors and spinsters as self-centered, neurotic, and often sexually deviant individuals who live lonely, dispirited lives. Although some research studies have found lifelong singles to be lonelier than marrieds, most singles appear to be happy, socially adjusted individuals who are satisfied with their lifestyles and interact frequently with their families, friends, and coworkers (Cargan & Melko, 1982 Essex &Nam, 1987 Rubinstein, 1987). Many women who have remained single are professional careerists who value their personal freedom and economic and social independence more than the emotional, sexual, and financial security of marriage. Such women may be highly educated, but a substantial percentage of those who remain single have a less than average amount of formal education (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1992).


A number of factors are associated with enduring marriages. Included among them are the relative maturity of the partners when they are married, the degree of financial security, and a feeling that the relationship is an equal one (Diamond, 1986). Among other factors that can interfere with marital happiness and have an effect on the length of a marriage are pregnancy or delivery prior to the marriage ceremony, the physical appearance of one's spouse (Margolin & White, 1987), whether or not there are children in the home, and the personal and behavioral characteristics of the spouse (dependency argumentativeness addiction to alcohol, tobacco, and drugs). With older couples, the situation in which the husband is retired but the wife continues to work outside the home can become a source of conflict and dissatisfaction in marriage (Lee, 1988). ence periods of cooperation and conflict, like and dislike. The longer two people live together, the greater their investment in the marriage...

Child Rearing

Because a child competes for their attention and often dominates their lives, the parents' personal happiness and satisfaction with their marriage frequently suffers (Wallace & Gotlib, 1990). Mothers in particular complain that they are tied down by children and that children limit their ability to work outside the home and achieve financial stability (Jacoby, 1982 Roper Organization, 1985). In a study by Thompson and Walker (1990), one-third of the mothers who were interviewed reported that they derived no meaning or enjoyment from motherhood, and another one-third had mixed feelings about it. These negative responses should, however, not be interpreted as meaning that parenthood is without rewards. A child brings love, joy, and meaningful-ness to most mothers and fathers, and the process of bringing up a child can have a positive effect on the development of both the child and the parents. For example, Lowenthal, Thurnher, and Chiriboga (1975) found that the parents they interviewed...

Case Study

Y struggles with genuine wishes to kill herself and tends to make repeated suicidal threats or gestures, either as a cry for help or as an effort to manipulate others. She tends to feel unhappy, depressed, or despondent. She has a pervasive sense that someone or something necessary for happiness (e.g., a relationship, youth, beauty, or success) has been lost forever. Although she has a limited or constricted range of emotions, her emotions can also change rapidly and unpredictably. She tends to alternate between undercontrol and overcontrol of needs and impulses (e.g., she sometimes acts on desires impulsively while at other times denying them entirely). When upset, she has trouble perceiving both positive and negative qualities in the same person at the same time and tends to see others in black or white terms (e.g., swinging from seeing someone as caring to seeing him or her as malevolent and intentionally hurtful). She tends to deny, disavow, or squelch her own realistic hopes,...

Leisure Activities

Merely because an activity is not absolutely necessary for survival does not mean that it is unimportant to one's sense of well-being. Time spent away from the demands of work or duty, or from the exercise of vital functions, is not always wasted or valueless. Leisure activities, pursued either inside or outside the home, may be just as essential to happiness as anything else that people do. Reading, listening to music, watching television, parlor games, and engaging in exercise and various hobbies frequently occur in the confines of one's living quarters. However, many leisure activities jogging, field sports, attending the theater and restaurants and other spectator or participant activities take place outside the home.

Religious Faith

According to James Fowler (1981,1986), faith develops throuqh a series of six stages, reminiscent of but not paralleling Lawrence Kohlberg's (1976) conception of six stages in the development of moral reasoning. By faith, Fowler does not mean religious faith exclusively, but rather anything that provides people with a reason for living and hope for happiness. Stage 1 in Fowler's theory intuitive-projective faith is a faith based on magic, imagination, and fantasy. At this stage, which is characteristic of children between the ages of 3 and 7, the power of God and the mysteries of life and death are interpreted magically, At Stage 2 mythic-literal faith religious myths and stories are accepted as literally true and the power of symbols is believed in. This kind of faith, which is characteristic not only of middle childhood but also of some adults, involves the notion of reciprocity God rewards or punishes those who obey or do not obey His laws.