In Pursuit of Real Happiness

The Observer (Gladstone, Australia), May 8, 2010 | Go to article overview

In Pursuit of Real Happiness


Byline: MIRANDA CASHIN

ARE you happy? Take a moment to think it over.

Are you living your happiest life or are you simply going through the motions waiting for that day when you will wake up and find happiness?

As a Western society, most of us have enough of everything, in fact some have far too much. And yet as a society a large amount of us are still chasing that elusive concept of happiness.

Medical journalist Sophie Scott lived a pretty good life.

She had a loving husband and kids, good friends and a job she loved.

But two years ago she found herself in the midst of grief after her mother died. Surrounded by understandable misery Scott did a very courageous and positive thing and rather than letting her grief consume her she decided to road test various pathways to happiness.

She figured if she could improve her happiness level in such an unhappy time then she could discover what truly makes us happy and test if what the ahappiness expertsa preached really worked when things weren't going perfectly.

She didn't take a year off to discover herself, or spend time in luxury resorts or ashrams. She continued about her daily life all the while putting various happiness theories, research and tricks into practice charting it all in her book Road testing Happiness: How to be Happier (No Matter What).

"I think the most important message that I would like people to take from the book is that happiness is something that you make a focus on and not just take for granted," said Scott.

"It's a bit like having a good and happy relationship it's actually something that you need to invest time into and that it doesn't just happen as a matter of course.

"You always need to make an effort, even if you reach the point of saying, yes, I am happy, you still need to keep focusing and working on the things that made you happy."

Like the perfect job, Scott said happiness is a very personal and subjective thing. In the book she writes, afor someone who has a loving and caring extended family, the idea of a family gathering is something to look forward to. But put someone who doesn't get on with their relatives in the same situation and it would provoke anxiety and unhappiness."

What is happiness to Scott? …

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