Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Are You Happy?

Earlier today, I was watching an Oprah episode on happiness.  This episode was originally aired in January, if I'm not mistaken, and thanks to our DVR, I've finally gotten around to watching it.  They covered a number of facts based on research on happiness some of which are the following:  that experiences create more happiness and a kind of happiness that lasts longer compared to the kind achieved through possession of material things (e.g. going on vacation vs. buying jewelry); that taking just one minute of complete silence per day can increase one's happiness levels; that showing up just once a month to a club you're a member of creates the same level of happiness as doubling your salary; that there is a genetic component to feeling happy/being able to experience happiness (eureka!).  Again, these are the facts I remember most and keep in mind that for the most part, they were referring to 'average' Americans.  I'm not clear as to what that means exactly, how they did their sampling, operationalized their variables or what the overall methodology was.  This was the Oprah show and not a scientific lecture I attended.  If you're interested to learn more though, you can grab this book-- Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way

Anyway, all this talk about happiness made me think (understatementof a number of things about my own sense of happiness. Though it would be terribly unwise and irresponsible to be 'verbally' incontinent about all my reflections and realizations, I think I can safely share with you a few experiences that I feel make me genuinely happy:

*enjoying a remarkably exquisite meal (Charlie Trotter, let me just say that you once made me extremely happy and I will remember that meal for the rest of my life!).  By the way, food doesn't have to be expensive to be exquisite.  It just has to be interesting to the palate and quite memorable.
*having deep, meaningful conversations with people...I think nothing else makes me feel more connected to another human being than this and bathing in this feeling truly makes me happy.
*getting unexpected tight hugs, kisses and 'i love you's' from my two boys
*knowing that I've helped someone in real need, knowing I've made a difference in someone's life through expression of generosity, material or otherwise
*making my parents happy and proud of me...Believe it or not, it still counts even at my age.
*thinking, writing, finishing a meaningful blog entry, hitting that 'publish post' button....I guess I'll be happy very, very soon!

Have you thought about what sorts of experiences bring you happiness?


  1. Your examples prove that a huge part of finding happiness is simply about opening your eyes and looking around you :)

  2. Some things that make me happy are hugs from small children and helping people out. :-)

  3. 4.7.11 9:15am via FB

    i'm just happy to go to bed and wake up with my husband everyday. i know soon we'll be back to cyber goodnight kisses and good morning hugs..that is if we are in the same time line.

  4. Sometimes, it's the little things that really matter and make you happy! Like, the Boobah calling me in Vegas to greet me Happy Birthday! That was really nice. My baby also called me right at midnight here in Chicago, so it was 10:00 pm in Vegas at the time. How sweet of her to call me right at midnight Central time! Precious moments!

  5. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments on my blog and it's so very nice to meet you!

    Yes, many Asians related to that post and many white women who were married related to the part about their husbands not reading their work lol. It's wonderful to see how we're not alone in our experiences - it makes it so much easier to bear!

    This is such a hard topic that you blog about - I totally agree it's the experience that really makes us happy, but my Cantonese boyfriend was raised to believe that material goods will bring you happiness (he's a Southern Californian, unsurprisingly :P). It's been difficult to get him to see otherwise, but at least he understands and respects my point of view.

  6. Sophia--yes, you pointed out an interesting thing about the men in our lives not even reading our work *sigh*...It's so frustrating sometimes! haha! Thanks for stopping by to comment. :-))

  7. Some things that make me happy are hugs from small children and helping people out. :-)


Let me know your thoughts!