Synthesized Happiness

I have always found that listening or observing both sides of a story will help you in your understanding of any situation.  So, when I research I like to find both ends of the spectrum.  Here is what I found.  Our brains have the capability of synthesizing its own happiness out of our current situation.  Meaning that we have a strong ability to find the silver lining eventually.  I learned a lot of this from another TED talk.

In the talk it discusses how a few months after a person becomes paraplegic they have the ability to be just as happy as a person who won the lottery a few months before.  That is a pretty incredible concept but it is much the same as saying, “Time heals all wounds”.  Another major part of the talk was about how synthesizing our own happiness produces just as strong of feelings as happiness that comes from getting what we want.  We have the ability to decide that life is good. It was interesting how he talked about the power of choice and the effects that it had on our happiness.  It felt a lot like he was saying to make decisions and be good with them.  If you leave yourself to constantly be open to options it actually depletes our happiness.

The other part of this is discussed by Timothy Pychyl Ph.D. when he talks about he downsides to this theory in his article, “A Downside to Manufacturing Our Own Happiness”.  The idea of his article is that constantly synthesizing your own happiness will make you to comfortable with your current situation.  There is nothing wrong with being comfortable in your situation but it has the possibility of making you to comfortable and keeping you from making new goals.  I can see his point.  I don’t think that Dan Gilbert was trying to say in his TED talk to never try and advance yourself or work towards goals.  I felt like it was implied that we should continually be working forward but this article lines it out.

This is what I have come away from this with.  Be happy with where you are and where you came from.  Who you were formed who you are today and who you are today forms who you will be in the future.  Accept who you are right now but work towards your goals.  You may not always get what you want but that does not mean that you can not be happy.  You can choose to be happy or you can choose to be angry.  It is your choice how you approach life.


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