The elements of happiness

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The elements of happiness

The whole new branch of psychology called "Positive Psychology," which has been trying to answer the question: What makes for a happy life? It looks like, so far, in the studies that have been done, that probably the most important contribution to have a happy life, is to have good, strong, meaningful relationships. After that, it's probably having the opportunity to experience flow by being engaged with life, in your job or other hobbies or whatever. If you take those two, you are pretty much on the way to having a happy life. For instance, -- this is a big study, with thousands and thousands of people -- they were asked, what makes them happy with their job. The single most important thing for being happy is to have a good friend at work. It's not how much you make, security, but have someone to share your experiences and feel comfortable. It doesn't cover a hundred percent because it doesn't cover job challenges and things like that, a boss is quite important too. If you look at one single thing, it's having a good friend. This is about happiness in general, you need a good relationship, and then you need something challenging to do. Not just contributing but proving that you are good at something.
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Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, PhD

Psychologist & Researcher

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi was born in Italy of Hungarian parents. He came to the United States at age 22, became a psychologist, taught at the University of Chicago for 30 years and was Chairman of the Department of Psychology. Since 1999 he has been a Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Management at Claremont Graduate University in Southern California. Of the 13 books he wrote or co-authored, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience is the best known; it has been translated in 29 languages. He and his wife Isabella spend the summers in Montana, where the rest of the family comes to visit and hike in the mountains.

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