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Why are We Happy?

Old 08-19-2010, 09:17 AM
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Why are We Happy?

For those of you that do not look to the supernatural to manifest happiness, but may harbor the illusion that happiness is something to be found, you will find this TED Conference lecture interesting. Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert studies the nature of happiness and how our choices, and even our perception of choices, affect our happiness. It does not pertain specifically to addiction, but I was able to able to apply it to my own journey. I found the 20 minute lecture entertaining.

Best wishes.
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Old 08-19-2010, 10:43 AM
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Thanks! I am going to watch it, since it is a subject I find fascinating. I love how they are always doing studies proclaiming Scandinavian countries as the "Happiest" places to live, when they have some of the highest levels of alcoholism in the world.
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Old 08-19-2010, 11:06 AM
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Watched it and thought it was interesting, thanks!

I believe in the supernatural but I don't think He is going to make me unhappy or happy, that's my choice:-)
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Old 08-19-2010, 07:04 PM
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Thanks for the link, I always like watching stuff like that. Its in my 'to watch' pile for later on tonight.

Lafemme, thats funny regarding scandinavian countries as being the happiest in the world - ive never heard that. I do know they have very high suicide rates over there. I always thought the crap weather & seasonal darkness played a part in all the fantastic death/black metal they seem to produce.
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Old 08-19-2010, 08:24 PM
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Free yourself from want and you can free yourself from unhappiness.
Buddhist philosophy.
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Old 08-19-2010, 08:52 PM
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Cool video Here's a New York Times article about the author Daniel Gilbert the Professor Happiness. I think I'll get his book.
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Old 08-19-2010, 09:23 PM
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I love TED!
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Old 08-19-2010, 09:52 PM
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Ainslie...they drink like fishes and make fun of people who don't...gammel dansk(bitters) for breakfast, beer and Aquavit for lunch, beer for dinner...if you can reach high enough to put the money on the counter you can buy booze...don't drink water it will rust your insides...etc...etc....etc
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Old 08-19-2010, 10:06 PM
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I have been noodling on this for a while, and here is the cool and relevant bits I see to Gilbert's talk:

The concept of an emotional immune system rocks... Emotionally robust people are able to synthesize happiness not through strength of character, but through their perception of choice.

Impact bias: If it happened more than three months ago, odds are it has very little to do with your present state of mind. Hmmm, I wonder if this has anything to with the relapse barrier that many of us face at three months? Once the depressive effect of alcohol has worn off we realize we are not any happier, and we become vulnerable to oder thought patterns. Is this merely coincident with PAWS peeking between 3 and 6 months?

Choice and the perception of freewill: Wow, this has a lot of ramifications for people like us, both for secular programs and those programs which cannot be discussed. Is that why it is easier to stop once you admit you have a problem? Is that the perceived strength of reaching your bottom?

There is a huge correlation to detachment, continuous change, and embracing the unknown, but I had better shut my pie hole for now and listen...
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Old 08-20-2010, 04:49 AM
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That was a great talk, and a good site for future reference

Lafemme those are interesting observations! I must admit the people from the scandinavia region that i've met havent been huge drinkers. I cant wait to go there and check it out for myself.
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Old 08-20-2010, 08:39 AM
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Alcohol and Suicide in Scandinavia (Norstrom, 1988)

Attitudes toward Drinking and Drunkenness in Four Scandinavian Countries (Makela, 2006)

The Geo-Alcohol Belts of Europe
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Old 08-20-2010, 09:07 AM
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Thanks gneiss! I have two aunts and an uncle...one aunt and my uncle are alcoholics as is my mother who is borderline...I have one cousin who is an alcoholic out of 3 cousins total. When my grandmother was in the hospital.I was shocked that patients were allowed to drink and smoke!

Sorry for the hijack...I think being happy comes down, in part to deciding to be happy and then practicing that. We can get sober but unless we change our outlook on life we run the risk of relapse.
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Old 08-21-2010, 06:30 AM
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Good post's all! I enjoyed the links also, Thanks to ever one.

Question; how much of a priority do you put on "happiness"? On a scale from 1 to 10 -- 1 being miserable, and 10 being totally "giddy", (I mean, have to sit on both your hands to keep from waving at everyone)! How much importance do you put on happiness?
It just seems to me that we may have a lot of outside influences telling us we won’t be happy unless_________.
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Old 08-21-2010, 11:32 AM
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Hmmmm, I think that also depends a little on how we define "happy"...in my 20s I would have thought I was happy but in reality I was entertained. The happiness I feel today, is closer to an inner joy and spiritual ease that does not rely on external factors for its existence...that happiness is very important to me.
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Old 08-21-2010, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by LaFemme View Post
The happiness I feel today, is closer to an inner joy and spiritual ease that does not rely on external factors for its existence...that happiness is very important to me.
Struth as the Germans say. I'll take what LaF is are talking about over bouncing around like a puppy any day.

Gilbert seems to use life satisfaction and happiness interchangeably. Normally this lack of rigor would bother me. (Psychologists, cognitive neuroscientists, and philosophers are notorious for "proving" something then doing a bait and switch on the definition.) In the context of this lecture it does not bother me. Like Zencat, I should track down his book, but I cannot imagine it will be as entertaining as this lecture.
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Old 08-21-2010, 12:49 PM
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That was my thought, at one point, in my younger days; I would have equated happiness with a luxurious lifestyle and material possessions. I learned long ago that health and family welfare are much more important. Happiness to me is not a big priority. I prefer contentment- satisfaction in life is worth more.
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Old 08-22-2010, 06:18 PM
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What I liked about the piece was my feeling that it said that happiness has nothing to do with anything other than the say you view the world. The analogy of the lottery winner and the paraplegic keeps coming to mind.
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Old 08-23-2010, 08:36 AM
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When I first saw it, I thought it was almost an anti-recovery message. You are not going to be any happier in six months than you are now, so why quit drinking. But that is not the case, for one thing there is a depressive effect of alcohol to take in to account. A more accurate statement would be that you are not going to be any happier in six months than you were before you started drinking. This is a super positive message for me. I know I have other things to change other than just not drinking. Besides, "before I started drinking" was 25 years ago. I am a completely different person now.
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:03 AM
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The way I read it, we are in control of our own happiness.

I once heard any interesting anecdote. A guy meets an Irish Farmer who is always smiling, always happy...doesn't matter what's going on in his life. So the guy asks him how come he's always happy. The farmer replies..."I make a habit of it."
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Old 09-08-2010, 02:16 AM
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I completely agree!!!
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