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Are You Happy?

When are we more alive, more connected to a power greater than ourselves than at those moments in life when we can say that we are truly happy? Tell me, what makes you happy?

I was breezing by a newsstand in Penn Station today when a couple of magazine cover lines popped out at me, both with the word happy emphasized. It made me stop. Happy is a happy word.

But what is happiness? The article in highbrow Harper’s magazine concludes that angst and Freudian analysis are out and The Power of Positive Thinking is in. I hadn’t realized that Freud was still trendy. As for Dr. Peale’s book, it still sells a lot of copies and if you haven’t read it you should. The article in Cosmo promises to reveal 10 songs proven to boost happiness. I’ve got at least 100 on my iPod that can do that. Music definitely makes me happy.

Both articles seem to point to the idea that it is okay to be happy, which might sound obvious to some people but not everyone. For some the concept of happiness as a state of being feels shallow and transitory. I have Buddhist friends who see happiness as a purely Western construct. Yet when are we more alive, more connected to a power greater than ourselves, than at those moments in life when we can say that we are truly happy? When we can sit in the stillness of that happiness and say that worry and fear and doubt have no place in that moment? I am not always happy, no, not often enough. But when I am, I am at peace.

This week on Guideposts.org we are releasing a free downloadable ebook called Paths to Happiness: 7 Real Life Stories of Personal Growth, Self-Improvement and Positive Change. These are great stories of people who have found happiness despite obstacles and setbacks. I recommend it highly. And it’s free, another happy word.

Something that makes me happy is exercise…at least when it’s over. And that’s where I’m headed now, to the gym. Are YOU happy? Tell me what makes you happy. Post below. 

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