Impossible Things: Happiness

Jim Isaak

Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi -- Happiness as “flow”

  • Meditation
  • “lost” in your work
  • Can happen when you are reading, watching TV
  • Also playing video games, etc.

Key points on Flow

  • Completely involved in what you are doing focused, concentrated
  • A sense of ecstasy - being outside everyday reality
  • Great inner clarity - knowing what needs to be done and how well we are doing
  • Knowing that the task is doable our skills are adequate to the task
  • a sense of serenity - no worries about ones self a feeling of growing beyond the ego boundaries
  • Timelessness - focus on present hours seem to flow by in minutes
  • Intrinsic motivation - whatever produces flow it becomes it's own reward

Layard Lectures

  • “By happiness I mean feeling good enjoying life and feeling it is wonderful. And by unhappiness I mean feeling bad and wishing things were different. “
  • Research results Most happy to least happy:
  • Sex, Socializing after work, Dinner, relaxing
  • .... down to childcare, work, commuting
  • Money counts up to about $15k/yr (2000)

Synthetic Happiness - Dan Gilbert

  • 1 year after: Lottery or Paraplegic
  • We Synthesize happiness
  • Art Prints example
  • Photo class (reversible decisions decreases happiness)

Brain - Matthieu Ricard

  • Buddhist monk – Molecular biologists
  • Well being (target term)
  • Deep sense of serenity & fulfillment
  • Maybe while sad?
  • Breaking negative thought reinforcement
  • Mind training via meditation
  • Brain plasticity - research shows mediators are many deviations outside of the curve.

Why Happiness - Nancy Etcoff

What else counts?

  • Mindful action & Intentionality
  • Impact
  • Self & Spiritual actualization