Happiness Clinic: Being Merry

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One of the things that is striking about far too many books about how to be happy is how serious they are.  You find the happiness guru and they give you a prescription for happiness, and if you do exactly what the guru says, without fail, happiness appears and you live happily ever after. Bull pucky.  Unhealthy, unhappy bull pucky.  Happiness needs a strong foundation, but it’s not like learning to be a prima ballerina.  You don’t have to put the rest of your life on hold while you study happiness.  Because at the base, underneath all of the other…

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You Can Build Happiness in Fifteen Minutes a Day

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What have you done today to build happiness?   Starting today, make a commitment to spend five, or ten, or fifteen minutes building happiness by working toward something that matters to you.  Too many of us dream of being happy without setting goals that will get us there, or set goals, but don’t do anything to work toward those goals. I’m too busy. I don’t have the money this week. The dog ate my homework. Poppycock (and that’s my professional opinion). Even I can take fifteen minutes to build happiness in my life, working toward that one thing I really…

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Ten Personal Commandments for Happiness and Ethical Living

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Once upon a time I came across a meme on LiveJournal asking people to identify their ten personal commandments.  I like memes. When people participate in them, interesting thought experiments spread across the world. I took the assignment seriously and took perhaps a full week to think about what ten principles I would like to live by. I wanted them to be universal, to apply in addition to rather than instead of a religious belief, and to address both harm to self and harm to others. Here is what I came up with:

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Happiness: The Dance of Shared Joy and Shared Pain

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Happiness Results from Full Participation in Life How many of us have groaned or sighed when some happiness guru or another has said ‘just think positive’? How many of us have growled at the speaker or the book and thrown the remote or the book across the room in anger? Do you know why you get so angry? That kind of deep anger covering up an even deeper injury? It’s because you’re being asked to take half (more or less) of reality and pretend its not real. It doesn’t work, because ‘think positive’ is only a bit of the answer,…

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