Paying Attention to Happiness

“It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.”

–  Chuck Palahniuk


Hard to remember happiness . . . and hard to pay attention to happiness even when it is happening.  As I learned on iTunes U,  we are hard wired for happiness, we search for it everywhere as Cognitive researcher Nancy Etcoff discusses. So why is it so hard to remember happiness and to be present for happiness as it occurs?

Etcoff tells us that research shows that we are happiest when we are “in flow” (absorbed in what we are doing) and when we are with other people, actively engaged (with loved ones; having sex with a partner; participating in a team activity.)

Through participation in an academic study, I have personally experienced Etcoff’s findings to be true.  I’m participating in a study at University of Canterbury, NZ in which the researcher checks in several times a day to find out what people are doing at that moment, with whom they are doing it and measuring how “pleasurable, meaningful, engaging the activity is and how happy the person is at that moment.  I got involved because I’m a member of NZ Association of Positive Psychology and I saw the researcher Carsten Grimm was looking for participants for his well-being study.  I’m doing it not only because I like to help out in the research of Positive Psych, but also because I relished the idea of someone checking in on me and my happiness.  What a wonderful reminder to be present and to pay attention!  Several times a day I am asked if I am truly engaged in whatever activity I am doing and if I am aware of my level of happiness.  What a gift!

 

 

Please let me know your thoughts Nancy Etcoff’s TED talk at iTunes U, and I’d love to hear about how you pay attention to happiness.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.