The world of psychology is overflowing with literature on how to live a good life and be happy. Who doesn’t want to be happy? The problem is that often people look in the wrong places. For example, many people think that the road to happiness involves great achievement, in either academic performance or in their career. Other people search for happiness in trying to make sure they have plenty of money and material comfort or possessions. However, it is possible to become very successful and very rich and still be entirely unhappy. Wealth, status and success may offer temporary feelings of happiness but they rarely bring fulfilment!
So, how do we become happy? Maybe the question is wrong in the first place. Maybe some of the most important things we do in our life aren’t necessarily things that make us happy. For example, many people report that bringing up a family is one of the most meaningful things that they can imagine. But does that bring about wall-to-wall happiness? Of course, it doesn’t! It brings us happiness, fear, conflict, disappointment, frustration and anger. But many people will still say that it brings a deep sense of fulfilment. As the Stanford psychologist, Emma Seppala, says, “The long-lasting fulfilment we seek comes from living a life of purpose, of meaning, of compassion, and of altruism. It comes from being there for others, helping where we can, loving one another despite our differences, and making others smile.” The psychological research says this time and time again. We are social creatures. And it’s in the giving of ourselves and reaching out for others that we find fulfilment.
On behalf of everyone at Outlook South West, we’d like to wish you all a Happy Christmas
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