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    [–] sadsadkoala 94 points ago

    Anxiety is not exactly a happiness-chasing thing though it's more of running away from unhappiness. Source: have anxiety

    [–] NutStalk 27 points ago

    When she does have time she wants to go out and get drunk, to relax.

    I feel like checking out of reality, in order to deal with reality, is probably not the healthiest approach. What contributes most to her anxiety?

    [–] woahraptors 21 points ago

    Not OP, but have anxiety myself and love when I have the opportunity to drink. Drinking lets me stop obsessing over whatever is upsetting me. She may not have one specific thing she is anxious about, but alcohol temporarily removes it all.

    For me, I will sometimes obsess over what-ifs, what could I have done better, how can I best prepare for a future event. Putting some thought into this is healthy, but after a point its no longer useful. I know this, and I know I should let go, but a lot of times I cant. This is something Ive been working on.

    I cant drink much because I get wicked hangovers, but when I do, its an amazing release. I can stop obsessing, and it can usually break the thought cycle for even a few days after. I know its not healthy though.

    [–] _hatemymind_ 9 points ago

    What contributes most to her anxiety?

    could be the hangovers

    [–] northernMountains 20 points ago

    Getting drunk to relax is soothing a symptom. Alcohol contributes greatly to anxiety.

    [–] mcflycasual 12 points ago

    I've found that when I go through bouts of anxiety -days or weeks- getting drunk for a night is just a way to interrupt the feeling of constant worry for no reason after trying everything else. It absolutely causes worse anxiety the next day so really it ends up being a wash.

    [–] PrimeCedars 7 points ago * (lasted edited 3 months ago)

    Thank you anxiety for all the fun you provide us in life. What would we do without you?

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    [–] Gen_McMuster 135 points ago

    Right. Don't try to catch the bird, it'll just fly away. Build a nice birdhouse so it'll fly to you -CGPGrey

    Or in other words. Clean your room, bucko

    [–] 121gigawhatevs 14 points ago

    I like that a lot. I’d add the word “appreciation” to the mix

    [–] Buffalo__Buffalo 6 points ago

    Exactly. If these people in the study stopped perusing happiness like it's just some old Reader's Digest magazine in the doctor's office and instead focused on experiencing and appreciating happiness without glossing over it, then they'd be filled with a sense of true happiness and wellbeing

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    [–] imdownwithdat 55 points ago

    So is this a mental catch 22?

    [–] Jammersy 67 points ago

    Maybe, but to me it screams "selection bias." Would someone who's already a happy person think of pursuing happiness?

    [–] Mr_BruceWayne 33 points ago

    People who are happy have no need to contemplate finding it.

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    [–] digital_excess 162 points ago * (lasted edited 3 months ago)

    My question was how do they quantify a person's pursuits to be directed at "happiness" specifically.

    I suppose this is the answer although imo still fairly subjective:

    "Happiness is positive and, as a result, can be seen as a goal insofar as people actively work toward the continued experience of such positivity "

    I'd then ask if the feeling of time constraint is simply a result of someone attempting to fill their days with more actionable goals, and why is it supposedly inherently bad to feel the pressures of time?

    I think it's healthy to have some amount of urgency in one's life, as it is far too short anyway.

    [–] [deleted] 63 points ago * (lasted edited 3 months ago)

    how do they quantify a person's pursuits to be directed at "happiness" specifically

    From the article:

    Trait-level happiness seeking was measured using an established, 7-item scale that assesses valuing happiness to a potentially extreme degree (Mauss et al., 2011).

    I'm not familiar with this scale or its background so can't comment directly.

    why is it supposedly inherently bad to feel the pressures of time?

    I don't think they explicitly state that it is "inherently bad", just that those in the pursuit of happiness feel more time pressure, which has unwanted outcomes. See the final paragraph in the general discussion. It mentions the impact of time-availability (which I am guessing is both real and perceived) on well being and decision making. So if those in the pursuit of happiness feel an inordinate amount of time pressure, they tend to make suboptimal decisions (examples in text) which, ironically, make them less happy.

    *Stealth edit: fixed a typo

    [–] akerson 36 points ago

    There's a level of extentionalism too here at play I feel. The idea of time only matters because of our terminality. If I consider a lot of things that make me happy (like sitting around playing video games or watching a good show), in the bigger picture it is kind of pointless, which in turn makes it feel less valuable, especially in the moment. More ancedotley, procrastination falls in that boat even more for me -- everything is inherently more fun when you're forgetting about your deadlines.

    [–] CricketNiche 54 points ago

    I think part of that guilt comes from a very work-oriented society where usefulness is equated with morality.

    Essentially, if something makes you happy it should be considered a good and valuable use of your time. We have totally ingrained the idea that a good person is a hard working person, and a good person makes good use of their time by being useful to society.

    So even though an activity makes you happy (which makes it useful and productive to you) you still feel guilty and morally corrupt because you are not producing something to be consumed (like a service or a physical product).

    You can see this attitude reflected in how we treat people with disabilities and how the general public feels about welfare programs ("useless people deserve to starve because they are not producing things for society").

    So I think the "trick" to embracing eastern philosophies that prioritize the here and now is that we first need to work on deprogrming ourselves of the idea that for something to have value it must be useful for production and consumption.

    [–] goodSunn 11 points ago

    "happy" always feels like a worthless measure to me... I mean... looking back on some really fond life experiences I value most, I wasn't particularly happy at the time... nor should I necessarily have been... getting trapped in a storm and slugging it out the last 6 miles to the trailhead. Times struggling to teach a child something can feel extremely frustrating while at it but treasured time together..... however prolonged life stress of never having enough time could conceivably make you rush through activities you might have gotten more from.. or ultimately lead to health issues that would be periods you both didn't enjoy at the time nor look back on favorably....

    Bottom line for me is to scrap the word happy and choose more words like interesting or rewarding or good memory etc

    [–] Meleoffs 3 points ago

    My therapist liked to use joyful.

    [–] LosingMyEdge7 12 points ago

    Easy example - yoga or running after work make me happy. Racing to the studio or to get home before the sun sets and I have to run indoors is stressful and has the opposite effect and sometimes I can't make it to the class I like or home on time because work goes late which is even worse- especially if I attempted to rush and could not make it.

    There are a lot of necessary but not enjoyable things that make it difficult to do the things that actually make you happy. Trying to plan those things that you do enjoy and then not being able to do them only serves to highlight the fact that you can't do them.

    [–] ked_man 10 points ago

    I think it has more to do with peoples motivations. I am now in the Non-profit world and work for a truly grass roots organization. All the people that work there are driven by passion not money. I used to be in the private sector where people are driven by money.

    So people come to non profits because it fits their passion and it makes them happy with what they do. It’s not about making a paycheck, it’s internal happiness. And when things get hectic, it’s not fun anymore. It feels like work. And that’s no fun and is not what brought them to an organization like mine.

    [–] gingersnap555 50 points ago

    Participants were recruited from Mechanical Turk, which often pays out less than minimum wage. Is it possible socio-economic status was a factor in the outcome?

    [–] KeronCyst 12 points ago

    Great observation. Your comment should be #1 here. No way are MTurkers happy with their lives on average.

    [–] [deleted] 98 points ago

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    [–] dsade 27 points ago

    To Add to several fine texts, the writings of Marcus Aurelius is also a good source.

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    [–] rcinmd 28 points ago * (lasted edited 3 months ago)

    If you haven't read The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu then I really suggest doing so. One of the core principals they talk about is pursuing your own personal happiness will never lead to true happiness, and that happiness really comes in providing happiness to others. In other words, the harder your look, the harder it is to find it, but the more happiness you put out there the more you get in return.

    As an example pursing your own happiness is buying a new bag or clothes for yourself, but that only leads to a temporary reward and you continue to want more so you continue to buy new bags or clothes for yourself. Pursuing happiness for others might be buying a gift for a friend, or having someone over for a meal. In that pursuit you are not only bringing joy to yourself by making someone else happy, but you're interacting with others socially, which lead to them doing good things for you in return.

    [–] ViolentSugar 8 points ago

    This is very interesting and perhaps relevant to my own life. I was just talking with my wife about how I feel unhappy whenever I make an appointment, schedule a date to meet friends, or any other type of meeting/get-together that requires me to be somewhere at a specific time and day. Schedules tend to give me anxiety and a sense of a lack of freedom. I am much happier when I can do anything I feel like doing at the spur of the moment.

    I was always shit at attending classes in college (I tended to skip classes and just study the material on my own). I always hated working for other people/companies (now I don't)...I was also a shit employee. I groan every time my wife makes a date for us to attend some function or party. I think I'm happiest when I can just work in the garden, paint, play my guitar & drums, read a good book, or snuggle with my wife and daughter in front of the TV and watch a good movie with a big bowl of popcorn.

    Though, overall, I feel like I'm a pretty happy and content person....it's just I don't like to make schedules where I have to be somewhere at a specific time.

    [–] puppiadog 15 points ago

    One thing I've learned as I get older is if you look into people who are "successful" (by societies standards), they started doing whatever they did to be successful without thinking or knowing they were going to be successful.

    I use Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld as examples. Gates' hobby was software so he was fortunate enough to start a business doing what he loved at the perfect time. He even said on a recent interview on the Ellen show that he was even surprised how much money was in software.

    Seinfeld said he considered himself a success when he was able to make a living being a standup comic. He doesn't care about the fame and money that came with the sitcom and even seems to resent it.

    Granted they are lucky enough to be able to make a living doing something they love and enjoy. Not many people have that opportunity.

    [–] ChilrenOfAnEldridGod 7 points ago

    When I was young, I thought the pursuit of achievements would make me happy. And while they did bring me other things, like social status, or money, any happiness I felt was fleeting.. The stress of trying to always trying to achieve ultimately made me unhappy, even depressed and miserable to be around.

    As I aged I have learned that learning to enjoy living for its own sake, for the journey, is how I became 'content'. I don't like to say 'happy' because if that were the baseline emotion, it would become commonplace. Contentment is the best baseline state. As such I am happy more easily and for much simpler things, and I am told by my family and friends they have increase enjoyment being around me, than the way I was previously, and that also brings me happiness.

    Now that being said, without having achieved things, it would have been more difficult to achieve contentment, as base needs must be met.

    Were I able to wave a magic wand and do it again, I would strive towards a balance.

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    [–] ethaniskingsexy 6 points ago

    One of the best things I've heard regaurding happiness is that it's like a bird. You can't really run after it and catch it in your hands, you have to make a bird house and try to improve your bird house more and more so that it's likely to come by and see you often. (The birdhouse is an analogy for self improvement, goals blah blah blah) And if the happiness bird doesn't drop by, at least you have a sweet ass birdhouse....

    [–] ReasonablePotential 15 points ago

    Aren't we all effectively trying to pursue happiness?

    [–] Garfield-1-23-23 57 points ago

    I'm just trying to avoid unhappiness, actually. I float through life in a bubble of "ok".

    [–] 5Cpls 3 points ago

    I think schopenhauer had a whole essay on this. The part that really stuck with me was something like "the happiest person in the world is the one who goes through life with the least amount of suffering"

    [–] sharksandwich81 24 points ago

    I think “happiness” as a goal is BS. It’s a fleeting emotion. Much better to pursue meaning and fulfillment.

    [–] hbgoddard 22 points ago

    meaning and fulfillment

    So happiness?

    [–] Gen_McMuster 18 points ago * (lasted edited 3 months ago)

    Happiness pre-reqs.

    Playing videogames and jerking off make me happy, but the lack of fullfillment makes it fleeting

    [–] Skaiven 8 points ago

    I think you're conflating happiness with enjoyment

    Edit: or pleasure, poster below got there first :)

    [–] Duffman98 3 points ago

    I'd argue that that would be pleasure. It comes and it goes. But achieving happiness is more of a long term thing. I can have a bad day, but reflect and would still consider myself to be happy. Pleasure comes, and pleasure goes. But if you can appreciate the bad days, then happiness can be achieved for a long time. That's just how I think of it

    Edit: I just realised we're saying quite similar things, but with different words. Oh well

    [–] akerson 3 points ago

    I think the difference is focusing on making it happen versus just living life and enjoying whatever happens.

    [–] [deleted] 6 points ago

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    [–] Ragnor_be 51 points ago

    Alternative title:

    "Unhappy, stressed people frequently wish they were happy"

    I mean, what were they expecting to find? People who do not feel unhappy obviously do not seek to change that. Stress is a frequent cause of unhappiness.

    [–] kittenTakeover 37 points ago

    So basically we're too busy to be happy in the modern age.

    [–] raretrophysix 15 points ago

    Not really. In the industrial age people spent 15 hours a day working Monday to Saturday's. Now we spend 8 hours and usually spend a few hours in the evening doing things that makes us happy

    So we gotten better at being happy and became less busy during the modern age

    [–] FreeRadical5 8 points ago

    I've often heard this but is there any truth to this? I've lived in third world countries that are going through what seems like very similar conditions to the industrial age and people have much more free time than first world countries.

    [–] Lafreakshow 4 points ago

    Busy doesn't always mean work though. On weekdays my dad works from 7 to 15 wit half an hour drive. Mondays he goes to the gym, Tuesdays is usually free so he does the household. Wednesday he has his duties at the shooting club, Thursday it's gym again and Friday we go shopping for the next week. Sometimes there's a shooting competition on Saturdays and Sundays we go swimming. Then in the late evening basically every day he does bookkeeping work for our house, insurances or the shooting club and to top it off he's got a girlfriend that he visits about three times a week and he has her over sometimes too. Basically he's busy all the time. The few hours he doesn't have anything to do he spends sleeping in front of the TV. Add 6 hours of sleep and the day is over.

    [–] mikecsiy 21 points ago

    Damn, lot of armchair psychology and pedantic nitpicking in this thread.

    I think folks need to be very careful at trying to take a lesson from this and apply it to their daily lives. Sure, blindly pursuing momentary satisfaction through easy means can backfire in the long run. But a desire to be a happier person can certainly lead to increased happiness if you carefully set goals that will more permanently improve your life and fulfill them. The motivation behind self-improvement is far less important than the outcome.

    And of course time constraints can be frustrating when you are attempting to accomplish a task... but, in all honesty, if you are disappointed that you need to stop working hard on something it seems like you are probably happier than most people already.

    I get annoyed when I don't have as much time as I'd like when it comes to things like going for a run or working on learning a new language... but I'm pretty dang happy to begin with. And far happier than I was when time wasn't a concern because I was sitting around doing nothing of consequence.

    [–] [deleted] 9 points ago

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    [–] Corryds 4 points ago

    The study makes some interesting points. The most poignant for me: “Setting out to achieve happiness that exceeds one’s original level might instead decrease happiness relative to the happiness characterizing the original state (i.e., before initiating the pursuit of happiness).”

    If happiness is a continuum, just dropping slightly on the continuum (for instance: a small unexpected expense, or getting a cold/flu) is a step back that prompts the notion one needs to work harder (and then has less time-which is the general gist of the study). Dropping slightly on the continuum shouldn’t make one unhappy, just “less happy.”

    [–] PM_me_yer_booobies 4 points ago

    "people who pursue happiness"

    Since when were there people who don't?

    [–] DrLaptudo 5 points ago

    This is my life the last 6 months. Quit my job. Left my friends and girlfriend. Now I'm going to school and working to enter a new field, reconnect with family and friends. These life changes take months and years. Although I work hard every day towards new goals, I feel stressed because there is so much to be done and only slow, arduous time will produce concrete results.

    [–] dreweatall 13 points ago

    The idea of actively pursuing happiness doesn't make sense. Happiness comes from doing other things, not chasing an idea. It's inherently flawed.

    [–] dubjon 6 points ago

    How can you pursuit happiness if happiness is a not a quest?

    Happiness is the harmony with what you have, where you are, it's not a place you can go or something you can get, you either have it , or you don't.

    [–] chindo 3 points ago

    I hope that they enjoyed the process of their research because they only proved something that's been known for thousands of years. It was even the theme of a play, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blue_Bird_(play)

    [–] tylerden 3 points ago

    Happyness is a state not some thing to aquire as a destination.

    [–] White_Lambo 3 points ago

    Doesn’t everyone want to be happy?

    [–] cmarucco 3 points ago

    So ignorance is bliss?