Friday, February 22, 2019

The Happiness Hypothesis By Jonathan Haidt Top 10 Lessons (Part 1)

After re-reading The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt, I have found a few key lessons that will help you to grow happier in your own life.

When I first read this book a couple of years back, I did not understand much of it and the text went over my head for the most part.  

After reading it the second time through I found between 20-30 parts of the book that really spoke to me.

I compiled a list of the top 10 lessons from the book and wanted to share 5 of them with you here today in part 1 of the top 10 lessons from The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt!

1. Play your role in the universe.

"The message of the Bhagavad Gita (a central text of Hinduism) is that you can't quit the game entirely; you have a role to play in the functioning of the universe, and you must play that role.  But you should do it in the right way, without being attached to the "fruits" or outcomes of your action."

If you are a follower of Ganifit, you know that I have talked on this same subject over the past few months.  I strongly believe that we all have our own role in this life.  Sadly most of us don't even try to play that role, because we try to follow what others say we should do.

But for one minute, take out the time here before reading on to really think of how much better your own life, the lives of those you deeply care for, and the world as a whole will be if you start or continue to take action on your gift to the universe.

Each and everyone one of us has a role to play.  To be exceptional in our lives.  You were put here at this specific time for a reason.  You have some gift and some role to play.  

This quote from The Happiness Hypothesis is one of the best ways to realize how to be happier in your own life.  

Personally I find that whenever I am doing an activity that allows me to play my role in the universe that I always end up feeling happier, during that time and the rest of my day.  

As an example, as I write this blog I feel good while writing because I am sharing something that I know is going to help you live your life a little bit happier.

What is it for you?  Have you been practicing your role in the universe, or do you need to start your role in the universe?

2. Acknowledge the fault.

This one is going to be hard for many of you.  That is ok, it is hard for me and everyone else on Earth to acknowledge their own faults.

Think of it like this.  As an example, how often do you notice other people slacking off in some way?  Maybe its with their workouts, diet, or playing video games for hours on end, or watching too much TV.  

Now I mentioned that, you probably thought of other people that do these same exact things.  But how often do you notice yourself do the same?

It is always going to be easier to notice when others make mistakes than when you make a mistake.  It is human nature.

Haidt suggests that if we acknowledge our own faults that it will be painful at first, but by digging into the faults we will be rewarded with a flash of pleasure and a hint of pride.  Similar to the feeling you get when you pull a splinter from your skin.  

I believe this is not only important for happiness, but to live a better life as a whole.  If you are able to acknowledge your own faults it will also be able to help you with lesson number 1 (play your role in the universe) as you will get to know yourself better.

3. Know your baseline state.

Haidt suggests that when something good happens to us, or something bad happens to us, that we will eventually go back to feeling the way that we feel most of the time.

You can think of this in terms of when you have bought something that you have wanted.  For a while, you will feel a sense of a rush once you bought this thing.  But after a while you notice yourself go back to your baseline way of feeling.

The opposite is also true.  If for example this same thing that you really wanted was to be damaged.  You may be devastated for a while, but then go right back to your baseline state.

Why I believe this lesson is huge is because by knowing our baseline state (the way we feel most of the time) we will from there be able to find ways to increase that baseline.

A couple ways to do this that are described in The Happiness Hypothesis are through meditation, cognitive therapy, and prozac.

Personally, I can only speak on meditation and what I have felt from doing meditation on a regular basis.  (If you have done cognitive therapy, or use prozac, I would love to hear how they work for you!)

I have just started to get back into 20 minutes of meditation per day like I used to do.  Although as of writing this I have only done 2 days in a row.  When I would mediate in the past, every single day, I noticed that it would help me to be more patient, calm, and centered in my daily life.  

I find that after about 5 days of meditating I start to notice these benefits in my own life, but once I fall off I start to notice that my baseline state gets lower.  When I make time to meditate every single day, my baseline is higher.  I am also able to come from a better space more often than when I do not meditate.

4. Happiness comes from within / focus on what you can control.

One of the easiest ways I have found to feel unhappy and stressed is by focussing on the things that I can not control.  Every time I do this simple action, I always find myself stressing out.

Focusing on what you can not control not only stresses you out but also is just a plain waste of time and energy.

I know there are different degrees to this, some things you can not control are bigger than others. 
The Happiness Hypothesis By Jonathan Haidt Top 10 Lessons (Part 1)
As an example, if you have bad eyesight, would you sit there and complain about how bad your eyes are (something you can't control).  Or would you go get your eyes checked and get glasses, contacts, or eye surgery (something you can control).

The first option will make you unhappy and feel like a victim.  The latter will put you in control of your eyes and help you see like normal.

5. Turn inward.

For part one of this blog, I believe this is the one lesson that would bring these points from The Happiness Hypothesis together.  

As humans we must share our life from inwards out.  What Haidt believes will cause unhappiness is by making the world conform to your will.

This way of thinking that the world revolves around us is a guaranteed way to live an unhappy and unfulfilled life.  

Once we start to turn inward (a great way is through meditation) we start to notice that we are actually the creators of our own world.  Instead of trying to make everything work our way, for ourselves, we must first turn inwards.  Once we turn inwards towards our true selves, we will have true inner growth.

With this inner growth we will then be able to spread it throughout the universe (the opposite of making the world / universe conform to us, which is a form up taking rather than expanding).

Closing thoughts.

I hope that you have gained massive value from these first 5 lessons from The Happiness Hypothesis.  By implementing at least one these lessons into you life today, you will without a doubt start to notice a positive change in how you feel throughout the day!

Live your life to the fullest,


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