What is emotional happiness? Can people predict how happy they will be in the future? When people look back at their lives, do they regret inactions or actions more?
These and many other questions are answered in a fascinating best seller by Harvard Professor Daniel Gilbert titled “Stumbling on Happiness.” The answer to the first question is that emotional happiness is a very personal and subjective feeling. There is no way to compare the experience with others or measure it with anything in the physical world. If someone says they are happy or not happy, you must take their assessment at face value, even though you have no way of knowing if their “happiness” is the same feeling you are having when you say you are “happy” or “unhappy.”
As for the second question, research show that people are very poor at predicting their future happiness, which may explain why people make all kinds of life decisions thinking they will be happy, but many times, they are not. He argues that our brain is wired to base future happiness on how we feel when we make the prediction (the present) which may be quit different than how we feel when the actual future event occurs. Thus, things get confused and distorted.
Finally, studies reveal that at the end of life, people more often regret what they didn’t do than things they did do. This means that maybe we should do more things for happiness.
This book has hundreds of other fascinating conclusions and findings about happiness and well-being. Many of these concepts are part of our anger management live classes as well as our online classes; our thinking is that the more we achieve happiness the less angry we will be, as the two emotions are pretty much incompatible. More informations at www.angercoach.com