The first post on For A State of Happiness appeared ten months ago. After preparing for several months, I had promised myself to launch the blog in September. I barely made the deadline – the first post was written on the evening of Monday 30 September, in half an hour.
With an allusion to Jack Kerouac, I wrote that this was my first step on the road to the discovery of happiness.
And indeed, I’ve discovered a couple of things about happiness in the last year. I had promised myself to work seriously on the blog for at least a year. 40+ blog posts later, I think I am well on my way!
And these are some of the things I learnt in the last year:
Happiness indeed is a discovery.
There are so many different ways of looking at it: from the perspectives of psychology, economics, political science, neuroscience, genetics, behavioral economics, philosophy. Learning never ends.
Happiness is personal – and collective
One of the most interesting things of happiness, I think, is that happiness both a very personal thing (about our personal happiness) and a collective thing (about quality of life, well-being and the common good in a state or society). This conviction has grown more and more in me.
Happiness reveals itself in small bits and pieces
Writing one (interesting) blog post a week on happiness is easy! Since it’s such a broad topic, there are many ways to approach the topic. The ultimate article on happiness does not exist. But with every blog posts, one element of happiness reveals itself. Every piece of a large caleidoscope of happiness.
Everybody is searching for happiness
At least everybody I know. That means that both friends and strangers are interested in my endeavours to understand happiness. It has motivated me to look into aspects I hadn’t thought of, to publish elsewhere, and to create a newsletter.
You might wonder what the effect on my own happiness is. I did not start this project to become happier. The aim was to understand happiness, not to be it. But still, as a side effect, it has helped me to be happier. Reading a lot about happiness, I’ve learnt how certain mechanisms in the human brain work.
I’m more aware of how my brain (and my heart) react to positive and negative experiences. Sometimes I get frustrated about something small and insignificant. Maybe I miss a metro, and I’m very impatient waiting for the next one. I’ve started to diagnose myself in these situation, and tell myself: “this moment of frustration will disappear. You can’t control when the metro arrives, but you can influence how you deal with it. Just leave it”.
The first year of this blog has been extremely good. Over the year, being a happiness blogger became part of who I am. And I know the next year will be very interesting as well. I have some great ideas to develop the blog and myself as a happiness researcher. I’ll work a bit on that in the summer. And after that, the road to the discovery of happiness will continue.
I’m taking off August, see you back in September! And in case you can’t wait that long, take a look at some of the posts you might have missed during the season 2013-2014.