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Synthetic Happiness is REAL December 4, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, People.

Donald-DirectorOne reason we are not as happy as we could be . . . we don’t manufacture enough synthetic happiness for ourselves.

We keep looking “out there” for something we can create from within.


Because many of us don’t believe that synthetic happiness is REAL.

It is.

We have within us the capacity to manufacture the very commodity we are constantly chasing when we choose experience.

For a fascinating look at the REALness of synthetic happiness, check out Dan Gilbert’s TED Talk, Why Are We Happy?

The path we choose to follow in life impacts our happiness far less than making one basic, underlying decision:

Do I want to be happy?

Once we make that choice, our path through life becomes totally clear.

For more from Dan Gilbert ~ Stumbling on Happiness.

Related posts:  Grow in the Direction of HappinessEmbrace All With Joy *  The ABC’s of Happiness * Zig-Zagging to the Zenith * Spiritual Milestones * The Scientific Method (Creating Reciprocity)


1. BrainRants - December 4, 2011

You’re right: happiness is a CHOICE.

nrhatch - December 4, 2011

His research demonstrates that happiness is not dependent on which fork in the road we choose . . . but, instead, depends on our outlook as we wander.

How we relate to the issue IS the issue.
Happiness is never in things . . . it is in US.

2. Lisa Wields Words - December 4, 2011

Interesting post.I am going to choose happiness right now.

nrhatch - December 4, 2011

Fascinating TED talk and research into happiness ~ especially the part about being happy with the choices we’ve made (even when we don’t remember making them).

3. Life in the Boomer Lane - December 4, 2011

I participated in a workshop some years ago that changed my thinking in a very findamental way. Whenever we became upset or down about one of the processes conducted in the workshop, the workshop leader would say, “Then just shift.” It bugged the hell out of me until I got it. Happiness is a choice. We create our own reality. It’s that second part that is especially powerful.

nrhatch - December 4, 2011

Exactly! When we SHIFT our thinking . . . we make a paradigm SHIFT in our happiness quotient.

After all, if someone imprisoned unjustly for 37 years (before being vindicated by DNA evidence) can describe the experience as GLORIOUS . . . what excuse have we for living a less than GLORIOUS life?

4. Storm Rider - December 4, 2011

Very true.. We need to choose to be happy rather than find happiness.. nice post.. ty

nrhatch - December 4, 2011

Happiness is when what we think, what we say, and what we do, are in harmony.

5. Patricia - December 4, 2011

Happy people are the people who choose to be happy. And sometimes it takes a bit of work–at least for me, thankfully not often. But once we choose to be happy that is our usual/normal state of being.

I have a hard time being around people who don’t accept this. For the most part they are such downers.

nrhatch - December 4, 2011

At the moment, I’m reading a book on Zen.

A perfect example is the choice we have when a “rude” shopper “runs into us” in the cereal aisle. We can hang on to the experience, replaying it over and over again in our mind . . . OR we can move our cart out of his path and turn our attention back to the cereal.

When we CHOOSE to hang on to minor annoyances, we add to our suffering or dukkha. When we choose to return our thoughts to what we are doing . . . we increase our happiness.

It’s so EASY . . . but we must PRACTICE. 😎

Crowing Crone Joss - December 4, 2011

and I would add to turn our attention back to the cereal with send a blessing towards the “rude” shopper. It’s a discipline I’ve taught myself to practice and turns my attention away from what was done to me, towards the other as a fellow human being in need of blessings – after all, aren’t we all?

nrhatch - December 4, 2011

Good point, Joss. Sending blessings out is never a bad idea.

6. sufilight - December 4, 2011

I enjoy Dan Gilbert’s work and ordered his documentary “This Emotional Life” from PBS last year. Happiness is indeed a choice, a perception. Wish I had known this, 20 years ago. Enjoyed this post!

nrhatch - December 4, 2011

Thanks, Maria. When we embrace the NOW, and keep returning our attention to the task at hand, the chatter in our monkey mind settles down.

In the silent stillness, the truth (undistorted by past perception) surfaces . . . and with it PEACE. Be Here Now.

7. Sandra Bell Kirchman - December 4, 2011

Great post, Nancy. I am finally beginning to get this truth into my feelings so that I can actually live the happiness I create. (I enjoyed Dan’s lecture very much. Apart from the content, it’s great to learn something from someone with a sense of humor 🙂 )

nrhatch - December 4, 2011

I agree! Humor is the “spoonful of sugar” that makes the medicine go down.

First, we notice how we are sabotaging our happiness with our habitual way of thinking and interacting with the world. Then, one by one, we replace non-productive habits with those more conducive to allowing our inner peace and happiness to emerge.

Aah . . . that’s better.

8. kateshrewsday - December 4, 2011

Nancy, great post. It’s that habit-forming bit that takes a little time.

nrhatch - December 4, 2011

It does, indeed. It’s EASY . . . but we have to remember to do it rather than lapsing back into our “old way of doing business.”

9. jannatwrites - December 4, 2011

I agree that happiness is a choice. Happiness is subjective in that each person can view it differently but I don’t think it’s synthetic.

To me, it’s easier to be happy than to be unhappy. Of course, I have off-days, but I think everyone does from time to time 🙂

nrhatch - December 4, 2011

“Synthetic happiness” is the term he used . . . but it’s as REAL and GENUINE as the “happy buzz” we’ve been trained to get from shopping or other “outside interests.”

10. souldipper - December 4, 2011

The first time I heard that happiness was an inside job I was too ‘immature’ to appreciate it. I continued in my head through many more life experiences. I still need reminding and will throughout this physical time.

nrhatch - December 4, 2011

I seldom look for happiness “out there” any more . . . but I still catch myself creating unnecessary suffering when things “out there” are not to my liking. 😉

11. Paula Tohline Calhoun - December 4, 2011

I am going to pass this great TED on to our younger son. It says so much of what I have been trying to tell him and our daughter-in-love. Happiness is a choice. And it works. I remember a quote of Peter Boller to John Wesley. Wesley could not understand how Boller always seemed to be so full of faith. How did he do it? How could you preach faith when you doubted your own? Boller’s answer was “Preach faith until you have faith; then when you have faith, you will preach faith.” Insert “live in happiness” (or any attitude of being) for “preach faith,” and the same still holds true. What starts out as synthetic becomes authentic. it just takes practice.

Great post, Nancy!

nrhatch - December 4, 2011

Thanks, Paula. And that is so true . . . claim what isn’t, as if it were, until it becomes.

Or, as others have said, “fake it until you make it.”

Happiness is a GIFT that we give to ourselves.

12. Richard W Scott - December 4, 2011

I believe I first heard it from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, “the mind cannot tell the difference between the real and the vividly imagined.”

I have since heard this from various scientific studies.

In workshops I used to lead, I would often explain that while happiness makes you smile, smiling makes you happy. By stopping, by consciously choosing to have what it is you already have, and by smiling, you can create happiness within yourself.

nrhatch - December 4, 2011

Exactly! A wise Yogi, indeed.

If we picture being chased by a sabre-toothed tiger, the body’s adrenal glands fire adrenaline to allow us the option of FIGHT or FLIGHT. Our daily stresses do the same . . . whether they are REAL concerns or SYNTHETIC imaginings.

So, why not put our imaginations to GOOD use . . . by creating Happiness rather than less productive thoughts.

Aah . . . that’s better!

13. Perfecting Motherhood - December 4, 2011

Happiness is a state of mind, simple as that.

nrhatch - December 4, 2011

Happiness is a GIFT we give to ourselves.

14. bluebee - December 5, 2011

I think it’s can be a choice to a point, Nancy, but, sometimes, genetic makeup and life circumstances foil the best intentions

nrhatch - December 5, 2011

Perhaps. But I expect that our habitual way of thinking holds us in place more often than our DNA. 😉

We are prisoners who hold the key to our own jail cells. We set ourselves free by waking up to THIS moment while letting go of the past.

15. Tilly Bud - December 5, 2011

You are right about synthesising happiness. When I’m down, I watch funny tv shows, meet up with people who make me laugh, ignore what’s bothering me for a while. My mood always rises.

I think, though, that you have to be willing to allow your mood to change. Some people enjoy their misery. I don’t.

nrhatch - December 5, 2011

Those are great tips, Tilly. Moods move as long as we don’t block the door.

And, yes, you’re right. Some people enjoy playing the victim because, like toddlers in the throes of the terrible twos, they’ve gotten more attention for hissy fits and pity parties than for remaining calm, peaceful, and happy in the face of adversity.

Namaste! _/!\_

16. adeeyoyo - December 5, 2011

So right! I love the TED talks, Nancy!

nrhatch - December 5, 2011

I have never been disappointed with the time invested in a TED talk . . . even if the subject matter didn’t immediately grab my interest. Fascinating stuff.

17. Tammy - December 5, 2011

Nice post Nancy. I hadn’t seen this before.

nrhatch - December 5, 2011

Thanks, Tammy. I found this through a rather circuitous route this morning . . . from blog to book to author to TED.

18. ElizOF - December 7, 2011

So true… the more we choose happiness, the happier we become. It is a choice and I embrace it daily… Even with the usual disruptions, I find myself going back there. 🙂

nrhatch - December 7, 2011

When we choose happiness, we remember to “empty our cup” of stale grievances . . . which makes room for more happiness.

19. Happiness: what is it really and where do you find it? « Theattitudequeen's Blog - February 5, 2012

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