Thoughts from Counselors

The Habits of Happiness

By Michael Abbott

Lessons from a happiness researcher and Buddhist monk, Matthieu Ricard.

Is there a difference between Happiness and Pleasure? Yes!

Pleasure is contingent upon time and place. Happiness can be internal and external, but is felt best from within.

The more we experience something the more we can like it less, such as eating a piece of chocolate cake. After eating the whole cake and 3 more, we may not like it as much as the first piece. This is an example of diminished pleasure.

There is much that can bring about happiness. Often we look to external stimuli to bring us happiness. For example: If I had more money, a new car, and more friends, then I would be happy. We continually chase happiness in this context of “if…then”. Look for the happiness within (internal).

Happiness and misery are chain-reactive. They can spiral and affect the people around us. Both will foster continued happiness or misery, so choose happiness.

We can train ourselves. There are natural antidotes to the destructive inner being. Look at the nature of the negativity. Each time we think about the negativity we are reinforcing the thought and perpetuating it. Train yourself to focus on the positive. It takes time, but you can achieve mind transformation.

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