Wednesday, February 3, 2016

How to Find Happiness in an Unhappy America


      Why are so many Americans unhappy? How do Americans become and stay happy? That’s the theme of Issue 1: 2/03/16 Finding Happiness in America newsletter.
     I hand-selected 15 articles and 5 videos that explain why gloom and melancholy is so prevalent in the U.S. and how you beat the odds and find happiness in the land of the free!
     One article explains a recent LifeTwist study that suggests money can’t buy happiness and more Americans are redefining success and happiness in a way that doesn't involve wealth. Only around one in four Americans (27 percent) still believes that wealth determines success.
     Several articles in the Issue1: 2/03/16 Finding Happiness in America newsletter delve into why Americans are so unhappy. In one, the question was asked to an American journalist on his recent trip to Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi. He felt embarrassed by their question as he looked around at the abject poverty in India and witnessed how happy these people seemed compared to Americans.
     I invite you to browse through the Issue 1: 2/02/16 newsletter and find out why two thirds of Americans say they're unhappy - with Hispanics, college grads and the disabled being the most discontented; why the happiest Americans are those over 50 and who earn over $50,000 a year; why women are happier than men; why political independents are less happy than either Democrats or Republicans; and why your talent for happiness is, to a large degree, determined by your genes.
     One article in Issue 1: 2/03/16 of FindingHappiness in America tells how psychology David T. Lykken believes trying to be happier is like trying to be taller and that we each have a "happiness set point."
     I disagree with Lykken, and feel we all can pursue happiness. That’s why I also chose articles and videos that prove we can thwart negative emotions such as pessimism, resentment, and anger and replace them with positive emotions, such as empathy, serenity, and especially gratitude.

 Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S. authored the book "Finding Happiness in America" and has retired from his positions of school psychologist and adjunct professor in the School of Leadership and Policy Studies at Bowling Green State University.