If you haven't seen it, I recommend it: This Emotional Life, a three part television series put on by the producers of NOVA. On resilience:
For more on the series and a discussion on happiness, click here.
The conclusion? Relationships - the ones we have with family, community and ourselves - are ultimately what makes us happy.
Research by Barbara Fredrickson discovered that a positivity ratio of 3 to 1 - meaning you have 3 positive emotions for every negative one - is a good thing. Having this ratio means you will flourish in life, as opposed to languish. I'm not completely sold on her work, but what I do like about Fredrickson's research is that she acknowledges the role "negative" emotions have in a positive life and doesn't tout the current "happiness" mantra (the likes of which we haven't seen since Bobby McFerrin's Don't Worry Be Happy hit in 1988) that suggests positive emotions are all you should feel. She has a website where you can test for your own ratio. I had a pretty great day yesterday and decided to give it a go. I only received a positivity ratio of 1.75!
Daniel Kahneman, the inventor of behavioral economics, says it's all about who you are talking to - your experiencing self or your remembering self. The experiencing self is all about the present moment while the remembering self is the story teller. The trick is we don't actually choose between experiences but we do choose between memories. Which has me thinking more about my recent memoir writing class.
Check out his TED talk here: