DLW is an occasional blog about how people spend the time of their lives (every moment) to enable health, balance, meaning and fulfillment. As a blogspot about doing, it draws from personal stories and from studies of everyday living. It's main idea is that to be well, people must be involved fully in what they do. The activities that occupy our days help to connect us to the world, define who we are, and keep us healthy.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

More on Happiness...

My recent blog on happiness prompted a reader to send a link to the WebMD website and an interesting article on happiness. You can link to that article by clicking on the title to this post. The article identifies six barriers to happiness, citing work by the author of a recent book on Happiness by Darrin M. McMahon, PhD.

The six barriers explained in the WebMD blog include the following:
  1. Complexity
  2. Breakneck pace
  3. Negativity
  4. Despair
  5. Suppressing Sadness
  6. Navel gazing
Each of these barriers has a solution, and rather than make it easy for you by reiterating them here, I am going to suggest that readers imagine what they are. Then, go to the article and read them for yourself.

While some are obvious, others are more challenging, and not surprisingly, most involve changes in attitude or behavior that are wholly under our control. Thus, it seems, the keys to being happy are entirely within us; we can use changes in attitude or behavior to unlock the power within us to create the lives we want.

All of this, of course, is apparent to psychologists, students of positive psychology, and life coaches, and to them it probably seems obvious. But, sadly, it seems that so many people are held captive by their external locus of control, which is a fancy way of explaining that to many people, what happens to them is the result of forces outside them: they have rotten luck, they are victims of chance or downtrodden by the ruthless behaviors of others. People who feel this way assign the reasons for things that happen to the universe, to some external entity, or, in some cases, to "God's will.

Albert Einstein, a pretty smart cookie by any standard, once observed that "God does not play dice with the universe." Reading about Einstein is surprising to many. He was a brilliant physicist. And being a scientist, given to the precision of numbers and formulas and all, one might think he was less inclined to contemplate beauty and the spiritual mysteries of a complex universe. But the truth is, Einstein was very contemplative and spiritual—perhaps because his appreciation for the complexity of things convinced him that the world or the universe could not be readily explained by chance.

This blogsite is about doing. And one of the things we can "do" to improve our lives is to take control of them. January is a perfect month to resolve to do things differently. Attending to overcoming the barriers to personal happiness seems like a worthy pursuit and a great place to start. So, if you have a mind to —be happy— begin doing it now.

About Me

I am a writer, lifelong student, former academic and new blogger. My passion continues to be everyday living. I am interested in what people do, how, when and why they do it, and what it means for their their understanding of the world and hence, their well being.