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Balanced Hedonism
Day-long Retreat with
Sandra Savine, Terre Sisson & Mary Michaud
April 23rd, 10am–5pm
North Garden, VA


What Makes Us Happy, Anyway?

Aristotle said, “Happiness is a virtuous activity of the soul.”
Dutch professor, Ruut Veenhoven, the godfather of happiness research who runs the World Database of Happiness has collected the sum of human knowledge about what makes us happy, and Eric Weiner, in The Geography of Bliss, sets out to explore the business of happiness. It seems that some places are more conducive to happiness, but people also evaluate their own happiness quotient by responding to “positive affect” (when something feels good) and “negative affect” (yep, when something feels bad).

Here is a little checklist of common denominators that give lasting delight. You might be surprised by some of them. They are not in any particular order:

  1. Gratitude
  2. Tolerance
  3. Patience
  4. Connection with nature
  5. Money, but not too much $$$
  6. Trust
  7. Allowance for imperfections
  8. Living without excessive thinking
  9. Chocolate (I kid you not: theobromine & phenethylamine affect the serotonin levels in the brain)
  10. Hope
  11. Knowing that happiness is a choice
  12. Smiling/Laughter
  13. Music
  14. Acceptance of the unpredictable
  15. Family, friends

From 1 – 10, what is your happiness quotient? The more you value happiness, the easier it is to access the joy within. What makes you happy?
What brings an inner smile?  Don’t think about it – Be it.


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