A question of happiness

Created: 07/10/2014 11:04 AM WNYT.com
By: Benita Zahn

I posted a story to my Facebook page the other day about a study in England suggesting that we teach kids how to be happy to help with their mental health.

Readers wondered, among other things, what that class would look like - and what about teachers who are unhappy.

There's a lot of research into happiness and one of the happiness gurus, Dr.Martin Seligman, says that what makes us happy is a sense of community - friends. You don't need a crowd, just one person you can rely on, connect with.

Okay, you say, you have that, but you're still struggling to be happy. Which comes back to another question readers of my FB post had: what defines happiness.

How do you define happiness?

I think it changes. There are days when I feel at peace, my worry voice has been silenced, I am able to smile at those who fray my nerves, the sun seems brighter. That sense of calm doesn't last so I enjoy when it envelopes me. But I can also be happy without that, and laugh out loud at a joke and be happy in that moment.

So, what makes you happy? Does it last? Is there a skill to being happy and if so, should we teach it to our kids?

And to wrap this up- I recently read an article that said, when it comes to sports, kids don't want medals and winning isn't everything - they just want to have fun. Adults, make note of that. Perhaps fun, plain and simple, is what really makes us happy.


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