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Is happiness a choice?

Most people would probably prefer to be happy rather than unhappy. However, alongside great happiness we all see much sadness in the world. What do we understand by happiness in the first place? Notwithstanding depression or other biological factors, can we choose to be happy? Psychological research suggests that we all have a happiness "set-point" that determines our well-being, and that we can learn to be happy. Does free will allow us to choose our level of happiness? Is it a question of attitude, or are some people simply happier by nature than others? 

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  • Dave E

    Hi all,

    For all those who were interested in the summaries I brought along on Sunday here they are:

    The first is on 'The How of Happiness' by Sonia Lyubomirsky. This book contains the results of many of the experiments that have been done in this field and is useful for that alone. However, in my opinion the writing style is very turgid and it's slow going (This one was available in the local libraries):

    http://baltimorebookworm.wordpress.com/2008/05/01/howofhappiness-2/

    June 16, 2014

    • Dave E

      In this brief online article, Sonia Lyubomirsky ponders on why some studies suggest being religious is good for your subjective happiness: http://www.psychology...­

      June 16, 2014

    • Dave E

      In this one, Tom Rees finds no link between happiness and religion in the UK, apart from in people over 80:

      http://epiphenom.fiel...­

      June 16, 2014

  • John G.

    I think we all agreed that we were happier after the discussion than we had been before it. Another good evening.

    June 16, 2014

  • Brian V.

    The video may be a little overcooked with too much sugar, but still thought it a nice concept.

    http://cna.com.br/speakingexchange/

    June 16, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry I can't make it tonight after all but I am sending my husband and my step son. x

    June 15, 2014

  • John M.

    Looking forward to my first visit. Enjoyed meeting some of you at the recent conversation on "is Britain a Christian country" in Poole. Lively and stimulating discussion. Looking for more of the same.

    2 · June 15, 2014

  • Rob S.

    Sorry have had to cancel as family things had to be prioritised.

    June 14, 2014

  • Rob S.

    Also---I've put this out to our group in Fareham. Would be happy (!!) if we gate-crashed this? Would be good to meet you guys.

    May 21, 2014

    • Neil G.

      Hi Rob. The more the merrier (within reason!). Always good to see new faces, so it will be great if you can make it. See you soon. Neil

      2 · May 21, 2014

    • Rob S.

      Ok. I'll see what the response is. No guarantees !

      May 21, 2014

  • Rob S.

    I can't promise definitively to make it as it's quite a trek for me but I am interested especially as my own philosophy group discussed this and I'm starting an M.Sc in Positive Psychology soon which is all about happiness in it's various forms--eudaimonic, hedonistic etc. May bring friend Johno too!

    May 21, 2014

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