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Archive for December, 2008

During this stressful / hustle-bustle holiday season, many people are trying to be more reflective and asking / talking about happiness–what it is and how to get it?

I do not think that happiness is a product to ‘get’ like the Christmas presents at the department store we will be ‘getting’ for our friends and relatives… no, happiness is definitely in my opinion a verb, an activity.

And to push this further / more radically, happiness is fundamentally relational. This is a hard one for us hyper-individualist westerners to accept / agree with – I have a hard time as well, but even western science is jumping on this one – see a recent study out of Harvard reviewed on NPR recently, (http://www.harvardscience.harvard.edu/culture-society/articles/

having-happy-friends-can-make-you-happy), that finds – guess what – that happiness is related to how happy your friends are and how happy your friends-friends are, interesting piece to look at.

For the not so western view, I have been reading the Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner. The journalist/protagonist is traveling around the world in search of happiness… In a Buddhist country, Bhutan, the natives explain that the western oft /overused phrase ‘personal happiness’ is bizarre and incomprehensible to them because they say that all happiness is relational, not personal.

So if you are thinking of ways to give back/ do charity work /celebrate the Christian and Jewish holidays with fellow humans in your life, one of the best gifts to give is to perform the activity of happiness with others – make it contagious and lets see where we can go!

Happy and Joyful Holidays to All!

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