The Psychology of Happiness: Why It Is Dependent On Choice

By Krisca Te What Is Happiness? Of course happiness is a very subjective issue. An individual’s happiness depends on a number of things: Age. Timing. Personality. Culture. To name a few. Some say happiness is a feeling of peace and contentment. Others say it’s a matter of exciting fulfillment. Circumstance and situation must play a heavy part. Could perhaps death, rather than long and excruciating torture, be seen as invoking happiness? Linking happiness and choice brings up other interesting questions. Can we choose to be happy? If one has many choices rather than just one or two, does that variety of choice itself make for a better chance at happiness? Timeless Questions, Many Outlooks What was happiness to the first human, hunter-gatherer philosopher? Since then countless questions and philosophies ranging from the simple to the divine have been devoted to human happiness. Surprisingly, old Aristotle reflects many of today’s happiness gurus: “Happiness is the settling of the soul into its most appropriate spot.” More recently, Sigmund Freud had a rather sour outlook: “The intention that man should be happy is not in the plan of Creation.” Nowadays, happiness and choice are often linked in two ways: Choosing to be happy and, the other, choosing amongst ways to be happy. The first is a mental or spiritual exercise. The second holds some peril. Choosing to Be Happy A few years...

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