Foster, Rick, and Greg Hicks. How We Choose to Be Happy.
I really, really liked this book. Not a psychological treatise or a spiritual discourse, but a list of components that truly happy people have in common. Foster and Hicks's research led them to develop a model that has been adapted by major institutions including the Mayo Clinic, NYU Hospital, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the American Heart Association, and Wake Forest University Medical Center.
Although genetics certainly plays a role in an individual's happiness or unhappiness, certain behaviors and thinking patterns were evident in those individuals who were in the genuinely happy category. Those individuals, regardless of family backgrounds, made certain choices that led to their happiness. The authors and the interviewees never say it is easy, nor do they say that life will be perfect, or that we will escape the difficult aspects of life, but they do say that we make choices and that we can choose to be happy.
Again, common sense comes into play, but the way the material is presented is so straight-forward and interesting that I found myself thinking about even familiar terms like "intention" with a new perspective. There isn't much new about the components themselves, but the logic and simplicity can bring clarity to our own choices.
The nine components are discussed in separate chapters and include the stories of many of the individuals interviewed and some ideas to think about concerning your own personal choices. The authors tell you not to expect change overnight--the pursuit of happiness takes work, self-evaluation, and practice, but choosing to put in the work can make your life happier. Not necessarily more successful, not wealthier, but possibly healthier and happier.
Intention - Accountability - Identification - Centrality - Recasting - Options - Appreciation - Giving - Truthfulness -- the components are synergistic, they feed into each other and work together. Very simple. Very difficult.
I read through the book twice and am leaving this copy with Erin, but I'm going to order more copies: one to keep and at least one to give away.
nonfiction. Sociology/Behavioral Science. 199/2004. 228 pages.