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How happy is happy enough?

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by SFG75, Feb 9, 2008.

  1. SFG75

    SFG75 Well-Known Member

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    A recent TIME article has noted an interesting backlash of sorts building against the happiness movement. It is argued that a good degree of melancholy is good for you. It's what propels you to go to back to school when you are dissatisfied with your life, it propels you to action. Look at Abe Lincoln, Mozart, and Woody Allen just to name a few. Why are the melancholy famous and talented? Is a person who is too happy just dumb? One observation I found interesting in the article was the mentioning that college students will show up at the university clinic wanting to be prescribed zoloft because they broke up with their boyfriend/girlfriend.:rolleyes: Yes, that is just soooooooooooo crushing. Have we had enough of our soma?

    So, how much happiness is enough? Is it good to have a healthy doese of melancholy? Who is to say that having a lot of it is bad? I don't know-I justknow the "self-improvement," the prescription drug mood culture, and the happinesss movement in general is in need of a big downer.
     
  2. Sybarite

    Sybarite New Member

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    The what?

    In answer to your core question, let's put a slightly more philosophical slant on matters: if you're never unhappy, how can you recognise happiness?
     
  3. SFG75

    SFG75 Well-Known Member

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    It would be the entire "self-help" garbage that comes out. I'd even connect it with the likes of Robert Shuler and other "positive message" advocates.

    And that is something else isn't it? The most creative and active minded people are those who have a good dour dose about them. In working with a mental health juveniles, the key thing I've always heard from therapists and psychlogists, is that depression must be a persistent finding, not just "oh, I broke up with my boyfriend, so I'm depressed and need zoloft" kind of garbage. I'm horrified about the article and how kids are streaming in for a pill because of their lack of desire to cope.
     
  4. Flor

    Flor New Member

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    It seems as though some expectations of happiness are so removed from a normal mixture of stability, with some sadness and some joys thrown in, that comprise a healthy state of mind. These books promising unending, floaty, rhapsodic harmony and bliss are just worthless. Isn't a large part of happiness an ability to feel sorrow and to bend and flex as needed?
     
  5. ylris611203

    ylris611203 New Member

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    There is no such thing as real happiness. Maybe contentment is a better word. If there are no real bad thing happening in your life then you should be happy, but not every one is.

    If you have good health and do not worry about having to pay the next bill that arrives then everything else is a bonus.

    But the odd £1,000,000 or two wouldn't go amiss :)
     
  6. Sybarite

    Sybarite New Member

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    Really? Why not?
     
  7. ylris611203

    ylris611203 New Member

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    Because, contentment is what most people think of as happiness.

    Discribe what real happiness to you.
     
  8. Sybarite

    Sybarite New Member

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    I am well aware of what contentment is (and it's no bad thing), but I have had times that are way beyond contentment; a real, deep sense of pleasure – of joy, indeed. Laugh-out-loud delight.

    Being profoundly in love and knowing that it is reciprocated.

    Listening to great music or watching great theatre or seeing great art or eating great food or reading a great book.

    Standing beside the canal and seeing the first buds that signal the coming spring.

    Creating something.

    Such things do not occur all day, every day. But when they do, they go way beyond 'contentment' for me.
     
  9. silverseason

    silverseason New Member

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    Satisfaction?
    Contentment?
    Pleasure?
    Joy?
    Bliss?
    Ecstasy?

    I'm not sure whether by happiness we mean some or all of these, but whatever we mean I can't envision being happy all the time. As someone has already sad, how would you know you were happy if that was your continuous condition. What must really be distressing is feeling you have lost the capacity (possibility?) for feeling any of those states listed above.
     
  10. Sybarite

    Sybarite New Member

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    Indeed. Although conversely, it's an extraordinary experience to discover that one has the capacity for feeling real, genuine emotion where previously one had not.
     
  11. ylris611203

    ylris611203 New Member

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    I may be splitting hairs here but what you have described seem to be 'happy' moments or times, which come and go. The work 'happiness' suggests to me something very long term and uninterruptible, a kind of nirvana.........in other words a constant state in which what ever bad things may happen you would still feel happiness.

    That’s why I'm not sure there is such a thing as happiness. Unless you are a monk........maybe.
     
  12. saliotthomas

    saliotthomas New Member

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    "Happyness is a warm gun.....yeah,yeah"The beatles
     
  13. blurricus

    blurricus New Member

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    So is it possible to agree on what we can define happiness as?

    Perhaps we should move to Belgium, which was voted happiest country in Europe. I still can't believe that they didn't make it as happiest country in the world.

    Anywho, I believe that I am truly happy. I actually believe that happiness is my underlying characteristic, and that other states of being simply cover it up occassionally. For example, I am always happy, but occassionally I get angry or frustrated.

    Somebody else may have sadness as their underlying feature. They may have contentment appear over their sadness for a while. Let's say it's negative or positive on the number scale. Sadness is negative and happiness is positive. It takes a lot of positive numbers to change from the negative scale to the positive.

    How'd you like that? Lame enough for you? I thought you'd like it.
     
  14. saliotthomas

    saliotthomas New Member

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    Hat's off !-have you ever though about a diplomatic job?
    what about clever enough?riche enough?free enough?....
     
  15. BeerWench13

    BeerWench13 Active Member

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    Isn't happiness really just a chemical reaction in the brain as are all other emotions? If this were not true, how is it that chemicals could be introduced, such as psychotropic drugs, hallucinogens, ecstasy, coffee, alcohol, herbs, zoloft, xanax, etc. to alter the brain's chemistry, and, therefore, the emotions? Even chocolate supposedly releases the same chemical in the brain that creates the sensation of love.

    In the light of this information, we are each continually experiencing a 'drug induced state', only it is via our own complex brain structure. For, if our psychological structure were not chemical, how could it be affected by any chemical? The question is, if this is true, initially, does emotion create the chemical, or does the chemical create the emotion?
     
  16. blurricus

    blurricus New Member

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    Are you suggesting that we do drugs in order to be happy?
    Also, should we be allowed to have drugs in order to prevent people from being happy? What would happen if all those goths, emos, punks, freaks, etc. had the choice and ability to be happy? What if people started putting drugs in their drinks to keep them happy? Shouldn't they have the choice to be unhappy also?

    BeerWench13, you are correct about it being a chemical balance in the brain. There are many ways to make sure that the chemical balances in your body are sustained as intended. Excercise is a good example. Spirituality/religion in its various forms also work wonders. Even singing in the shower has been shown to release chemicals that give you a temporary happiness.

    I like the question you pose. Which came first, the chemical or the emotion? One might argue that because of drugs, the chemical happens first. Then again, another might argue that the desire to BE happy (desire = an emotion) means that the emotion came first. But perhaps a chemical reaction created that desire...
     
  17. saliotthomas

    saliotthomas New Member

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    It's the egg and chicken question!
    I don't know any drugs that make you happy.Relax,feverish,sleepy,stupid,hilarious,warmish,....but happy?
    The only drug that bring happyness is love,and it's the most dangerous of them all,the only one i ever been addicted to(12 years),and somtime i wish i'd never tryied it!
     
  18. BeerWench13

    BeerWench13 Active Member

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    Not at all, though some take drugs to forget that they're unhappy. I'm also NOT advocating drug use to appease emotions. I was simply asking the question regarding the chemical makeup of the brain and its effects on us. Are some people predisposed to depression because of their natural brain chemistry? Conversely, are happy people "happy" because of the same?

    I'm a relatively happy person (except when my hormones go nuts every month) and, though I drink, I don't do so to make myself happier or to forget my problems. I simply enjoy the taste of beer. The buzz is a pleasant side effect for me. Others drink because they are unhappy, which is ironic since alcohol is a depressant.

    It is basically a "chicken or the egg" question. I just wonder what makes morning people morning people and night owls night owls. Are we all predisposed by chemistry to have our personalities or does our personality cause or change our chemisty?
     
  19. blurricus

    blurricus New Member

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    I advocate the use of drugs in all situations for any reason. I don't do them myself, but anyone who wants to alter their state of being is allowed to do so without punishment from me. Judgement, yes, punishment, no.

    The chemical imbalance in the brain does lead some people to be predisposed to depression. There are ways to combat this though. Doctors have found a lot of links between depression and lack of testosterone in the body. This is why depression was often viewed as a "woman's disease." Lack of excercise and manliness can really bring a person down.

    Morning people and night owls have to do more with the food you eat and your normal schedule. You can adjust to things very easily. A night owl can very easily become a morning person if they just realize they need to get their blood flowing right away instead of having 16 cups of coffee first.
     
  20. BeerWench13

    BeerWench13 Active Member

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    Speaking as a night owl, I must disagree. I have been a night owl all of my life. I don't fall asleep well (even when I'm exhausted), nor do I arise in a chipper mood. I HAVE to get up at dawn every day because my job dictates it. I'm used to it, but I'm certainly not happy about it. I've tried everything under the sun to become a morning person, but it's just not in my blood. My dad is the same way. He's tried for 66 years to find a way to be a morning person and everything has failed. He had to be up at 5am every day for work and usually didn't return home from work until well after 6pm. Even though he was exhausted, he still had trouble sleeping at night. I inherited this from him, I believe. In fact, the older I get and the more I study, the more I am inclined to believe that genetics and chemistry have a huge amount to do with our habits, inclinations and personalities.
     

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