Happiness Research

Have you ever googled happiness?  While researching for this article, I found lots of information about research being done on happiness.  It made me think of City Slickers, with Billy Crystal.  I liked this movie because he is seeking happiness, by going to a dude ranch with his friends.  They are herding cattle and chaos ensues, but he ends up finding out what’s important to him, and brings home a calf (you have to watch the movie).   I won’t give away the end (other than the calf), but lets just say that the character finds the key that he needs for happiness.  Another character asks him what that is and he tells them that it’s different for everyone.  That is the way it works.  Happiness is different for everyone.

Just like marriage, every person and relationship is different.  Think about how you behaved in different relationships.  In The Notebook, Allie tells her fiancé that she feels like one person when she with him and someone different when she is with her first love.  Finding a relationship or situation that gives you a happy feeling can be hard, especially if it means finding the right person or the right group of people that support you and help you feel healthy.  The alternative (being in relationships with people who take advantage of you, put you down, and aren’t there when you need them) won’t make you happy, but can make you miserable.

Also, never judge a book by its cover.  In You’ve Got Mail, the main character finds out in the end that the man she hates is the man she has been talking to on the internet.  You just never know where happiness can come from.  It can be around the corner the next time you go to the supermarket.  It could be in the park when you go for a walk.   It can be in a love of reading, or painting, or travel.  It can be in a career that makes you feel productive, or a business that you create from scratch.  Happiness comes from different places, and can’t be wrapped up in one person or thing.  That makes happiness too easy to lose.

In Waiting to Exhale, four women explore their relationship with each other, and relationships with men.   They go through issues, both with others and within themselves, but their friendship is what helps them be happy in the end.  Don’t underestimate how important friends that you trust can be.  They are there for you, even when a relationship ends.   There is happiness and sadness in every life.   It all serves a purpose to help us better appreciate what we have, and what we don’t.

There are movies that reflect different parts of life, and you may have other movies that speak to you.  Whatever speaks to you, these are movies that speak to me, most of the time.  They make me think, and help me as I do my personal research around happiness.  I have lots of movies and books that speak to me.  What speaks to you?  I have a healthy respect for science, and for those who are working on defining what makes people happy, but no matter how much research they do, don’t let anyone tell you what makes you happy.  You have to figure it out for yourself.  It may take a while, but don’t stop trying.  It’s a part of being happy for life.