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    Happiness And Happy People

    By Margarita Nahapetyan

    Different people have different goals that they pursue in their lives, but there is one common universal goal for everyone - the goal to become happy.

    Some people spend a lot of time and nerves to make money, thinking that money itself will make them happy, or, at least will guard them towards things that will make them happy. Other people long for perfect relationships, perfect bodies, big houses considering all this as the top of happiness. Sometimes all these things can really make people happy, but there is always a chance of stress and depression if goals have not been reached, and what is even worse, they are reached and people realize that they are still unhappy. Also, many times people concentrate entirely on one goal and don't even consider anything else in their lives that could make them truly happy.

    Many people pursue goals that they hope will make them happy, but happiness is not always the final result. There are individuals who have invested everything they have into their careers only to wonder why they are established, successful and still not happy. It is very wide-spread and common for people to be surrounded by beautiful homes, expensive cars, designer clothes and still have minimum satisfaction with their life. They understand that they somehow feel same as they did without all the above mentioned goodies. So how is one to determine and establish which goals will end in personal happiness and which will not? What are the things in life that are correlated with personal happiness?

    Some of the things can really be expected and commonplace, such as money, cars, relationships, friends, health, living conditions. Others can be regular things from everyday life, such as neighborhood, religion, community involvement, etc. Very important is people's attitude toward life, their lifestyle which can greatly impact their personal levels of happiness and satisfaction with life overall.

    Psychologists have known for some time that optimism is a good defense against unhappiness. It's probably no secret that optimistic people are considered to be much more happier people than pessimists. There are specific characteristic features optimists have (pleasant ways of thinking), that bring them more success, greater health, increased life satisfaction, and other good things. If you became and optimist in your mind, it can only mean that you became a very happy person, despite of your circumstances, and it can actually bring more things into your life to be happy about. "If you're optimistic and you think life is going to get better, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy," says one of the scientists. "You will involve yourself more, you'll put yourself forward more, you will take more care of yourself. You'll figure that if you do more exercise and not booze as much, life will be better."

    There is another group of people who can control themselves very well. These people are sure that they are the only masters of their destiny and fate, and by no means consider themselves as victims of any circumstances. They benefit by taking negative life events as a challenge rather than a threat. Therefore, they are capable to deal with problems by coming up with effective solutions instead of sitting in depression and being absolutely drained.

    Some happy people surround themselves just with family and friends, and do not care about anyone outside their property. They deeply involve themselves in daily activities and, most importantly, easily forgive. The happiest people pursue personal growth and intimacy, they judge themselves by their own ups and downs and never against what others do or have. Happy people manage to look on the bright side, even if they encounter big problems on their way. Others might live in darkness all year for no apparent reason.

    Everyone has a "set point" for happiness, just as they do for weight, experts say. People can improve or prevent their well-being, but they usually do not to take long leaps in either direction from their set point. Even physical health, assumed by many to be key to happiness, only has an impact if people become ill. The majority of healthy people take their health for granted and are none the happier for it.

    Life satisfaction occurs most often when people are engaged in absorbing activities that cause them to forget themselves, lose track of time and stop worrying. "Flow" is the term Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, psychologist at Claremont Graduate University, used to describe this phenomenon. People in flow may be doing anything - surgery, playing musical instruments or just doing homework with their children. The result is the same: a life for them is likely to be a life of great satisfaction, Csikszentmihalyi says and brings an example: "One of the happiest men I ever met was a 64-year-old Chicago welder with a fourth-grade education," he says. The man took immense pride in his work, refusing a promotion to foreman that would have kept him from what he loved to do. He spent evenings looking at the rock garden he built, with sprinklers and floodlights set up to create rainbows."

    According to the scientist, teenagers are the ones who experience flow too, and are the happiest if they consider many activities "both work and play," as people feel best when doing what they do best.

    Positive psychologists believe that people can learn how to become happy, that everyone can teach themselves to see a half-empty glass as half-full. All they have to do is to spend time thinking about all the things that have gone right for them, rather than dwelling on what has gone badly. Study on depression shows that one of the biggest causes of depression is thinking and suffering about something that went wrong in the past. "What happens is you look into the past and think about some event and keep turning it over, saying, 'I messed up, I messed up,' and you let it hurt you. You keep feeding it the oxygen of attention and the flames keep burning you."

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