JONATHAN FREEDMAN, a Columbia University psychologist, wanted to prove that you could discover what made people happy. He questioned 100,000 people and came up with five theories of happiness.
HAPPINESS THEORY #1: COMPARISON TO OTHERS
The key to this approach is if you are doing better than someone else is doing than you are happy. If you are doing worse, you are unhappy.
HAPPINESS THEORY #2: ADAPTATION LEVEL
This approach says we get used to and adapt to the lifestyle we are in. We fall into a pattern. Happiness comes only when we surpass our adaptation level, when we break out of the pattern.
HAPPINESS THEORY #3: EXPECTATIONS AND ACHIEVEMENTS
This theory indicates that happiness depends on the comparison between what we expect and what we get. Happiness comes only when we get that which we set out to obtain.
HAPPINESS THEORY #4: HIERARCHY OF NEEDS
This theory looks at needs. As we satisfy one need, a higher one comes to the fore. Our happiness is momentary and fleeting. We constantly expand our horizons and want more.
HAPPINESS THEORY #5: A BALANCED LIFE
This theory states that people who maintain a balance in their lives are contented and satisfied. They enjoy life more than others and make the most of what they have. They have their ups and downs but are happy because they know how to maintain a sense of balance in their lives.
Alene Morris, former Director of the Individual Development Center in Seattle, states that the only way you can truly achieve happiness is if you get your life in balance. The unhappy person is a person whose life is out of balance.
Drs. Frank Minirth and Paul Meier, psychiatrists, have worked with thousands of unhappy and emotionally unhealthy patients. They state that people become unhealthy and unhappy when their lives get out of balance. They suggest there are four basic areas that must be kept in balance in order to have a healthy, happy life: SELF, RELATIONSHIPS, WORK, SPIRITUALITY.
(Next post: the four areas defined)