There are two schools of thought when it comes to being happy. The first revolves around the idea that happiness is like a butterfly and cannot be caught, only courted. The second points out that happiness has much to do with our genetics.
While such ideologies are grounded in the nature versus nurture debate, new research is coming to light each and every day in support of the pursuit of happiness. Yes, you can learn to be happy but it’s going to take some determination.
It may be obvious that to achieve anything substantial in life — learn a profession, master a sport, raise a child — a good deal of effort is required.
– Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky (Author: The How of Happiness)
Start by making a conscious effort to avoid negative or pessimistic thoughts and try to channel your positive energies.
Of course, you’re bound to get stuck along the way and when you need a quick pick-me-up, well, that’s what this guide is for.
TED Talks have long been associated with inspired views that explore the heart of the topic at hand, and this collection of 13 keynotes is no different. Going through the playlist, you’ll come to learn about the positive aspects of showing vulnerability, the difference between succeeding and winning and why it’s important to smile.
These videos are aimed at the viewers who are ready to make a change for the better in any or all aspects of their lives. You’re guaranteed to learn something new about yourself if you approach the subject matter with an open mind and delve right in.
Psychology and Human Emotion [No Longer Available]
Nothing prepares you for coming to terms with the way your mind works quite like a crash course in psychology from Yale. Professor June Gruber explains how happiness is tied to morality and explores its darker side in this three-part series.
The philosophy of life is something that speaks to us all. Each video in this six-part documentary revolves around a particular emotion and borrows the voice of prominent philosophers to frame the information under the lens of history.
Alain de Bottan presents a beautifully-shot and well-executed vision that is both relevant and accessible to modern audiences. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you can do if you change your point of view.
A unique perspective is what gives meaning to life and, as such, it seems fitting that a range of ideologies are represented in this comprehensive 13-part journey into what makes us happy.
Journalists, psychologists, authors and Buddhist monks all share their thoughts and provide some surprising answers to some very big questions. What you should try to keep in mind is that we all have a baseline level of happiness – the point to which we invariably return.
In this way, happiness can be viewed as a cyclical process, which means all you need to do is take the time in each day to do something just for you.
This series takes a more personable approach and shows real people making a real effort to improve the good vibes in their lives. If happiness is a learned skill as mentioned at the beginning of this guide, you will be hard pressed to find a more inspired example of happiness in action.
These videos illustrate how the brain can be rewired for positivity by simply celebrating the small wins and not taking the losses to heart. Practicing empathy and gratitude forms a major part of this strategy and, while they will start out as a mental exercises, they’ll begin to feel like second nature soon enough.
If you asked a stranger what they do, they’re likely to reply with their job title and this speaks to people’s priorities in modern society. It becomes harder and harder to separate our work lives from our personal lives and that’s why this TED series has made the list.
There’s nothing wrong with putting in the work but it shouldn’t come at the expense of feeling at least some semblance of joy. Psychologists and career experts provide their thoughts on ways you can keep from watching the clock — something everyone should do less.
Believe it or not, there is a science to what makes people happy and unhappy and the good news is that researchers are finding out that happiness is a choice; it is an inclusive emotion available to all.
This series says it best when it says that happiness is decidedly simple — it’s about tipping the scales in favor of your preferred emotional state. Being satisfied with where you are in life is half the battle, provided you can enjoy the challenges that life brings your way.
PBS has compiled a great collection that rounds out the spectrum and will get you thinking about what you might need to change and what you might need to accept.
Questions from a live audience at the Aspen Institute are answered by Arthur C. Brooks over four compelling clips that should leave a lasting impression. It’s the program’s goal to shed light on the perceived boundaries of happiness and whether we’re standing in our own way.
Speaking of goals, you might be wondering if they’re actually necessary for happiness to be realized. While we’d have no way to gauge the success of our achievements, they can affect our state of mind if the ones we set are unrealistic. That said, you won’t want to lower the bar either.
Find What Makes You Happy and Stick to It
At the end of the day, happiness is where and what you make it and if these videos aren’t enough to ignite a fire there’ll be others on the Internet that will. The fact that you’ve come here in the first place is a step in the right direction.
Now it’s up to you to take the next step, and the next one after that. With any luck, you’ll be able to find your right path to a happy life in the near future.
How do you define happiness for yourself?
Image Credit: Julia Caesar