Periodic Happiness Table of Elements

This Periodic Happiness Table of Elements provides a consolidated overview of the Philosopy of Happiness and Hope presented throughout It includes specific Elements that impact Happiness, some of which are actionable; it categorizes those Elements, enabling improved efficiencies in our search; and it takes into account the realities of day-to-day existence, eliminating the need for pretense or bravado. The 8 categories you see (placed both above and below the actual table for convenience) are better defined below the table, and some links to Posts specific to the categories are provided to complete the picture.

The Table Headers - Basic Premise, Proof, Argument, and Belief - are discussed in the 7 Posts dated from September 3 thru October 15, 2011, and can be briefly described as follows: I have presented the Basic Premise, supported it with a couple of (in my view) inarguable Proofs, made some Arguments that (I feel) are well-founded, and introduced some personal Beliefs that you may or may not agree with (in concept or placement), or may not prioritize as I have. There is additional explanation within the category definitions below the table, as needed to clarify placement of Elements.

Relative Momentary Happiness (RMH) Enjoyment Choose Principled Guides Justice Let Happiness Find You
Consistent Long-Lasting Happiness (CLH) Happiness is not an Emotion Human Interaction Optimism and Pessimism are Frivolous Compassion / Altruism
Learning Feelings Goodness Gratitude
PROOF Thoughts Growth Mindless Activity Work Ethic / Persistence
Dark Attention and Focus Actions Humility / Confidence Unwilling Sacrifice
Pleasure Circumstances Complexity Optimism Patience
Light Depth Character Creativity Groupthink
Ad Infinitum Superiority

HOPEFUL - There is Hope!

HOPELESS - There is no hope. Of course the Element in this category (Consistent Long-lasting Happiness) is subject to varying interpretations. If your definition of 'consistent' is: '50% or less of your waking hours'; and your definition of 'long-lasting' is: 'a week or less'; and you do not believe that optimism and pessimism are frivolous; then (for you) there is some (insidious, spurious, deceitful) hope; and you're in the wrong web site.

CONSTANT - Elements that will always be there impacting Happiness. Constants may emanate from within, but additionally will always be part of the external world.

HYPOTHESIS - If you treat Happiness as a higher state instead of an emotion, and if you choose principled, sturdy guides, and if you throw optimism and pessimism out the window and deal with reality, and if you let Happiness find you instead of you chasing after Happiness, then you are more likely to increase the frequency and lengths of your moments in Relative Momentary Happiness (RMH). These hypotheses are not scientific in the strictest sense of the word, yet so far they have passed tests of observation, logical scrutiny, and practicality.

VARIABLE - Variables can be and are more affected by and more easily influenced by

  • the subconscious,
  • conscious yet fickle feelings and thoughts,
  • the accidental,
  • and many other unspecified Elements not in our control; (hence, 'ad infinitum' as an Element).
Some researchers even state that we may have a genetic Happiness set point, which would be part of our character - which is one of the named variable Elements in the table above. (Some of this logic may seem circular since feelings and thoughts are variables, and feelings and thoughts impact variables; but it is a fact that feelings and thoughts impact feelings and thoughts.)

INGREDIENT - As opposed to Variables, Ingredients are purposeful, more in our control, and potentially have a longer-lasting impact on Happiness. To qualify as an Ingredient the Element must involve both conscious action and effort. Ingredients cannot be lazy. You will notice that of all the Ingredients, Pleasure is the only one under the Table Header 'Proof'. In a previous Post Pleasure was defined as a critical ingredient for RMH and moderation was recommended to take care of basic needs (food, sleep, warmth, etc.) for comfort. Yet we still have to work for these basic needs. This fact proves that challenge (pain, adversity, entropy) involved in day-to-day living will always keep us from CLH.

GUIDING PRINCIPLE - Guiding Principles are left to individual preference, which is why these Elements have been placed under the header 'Belief'. It would seem that those presented here would be commonly-held Beliefs; but Hitler probably thought the same thing about his principles.

CRUTCH - A Crutch is not necessarily a bad thing; (you know this if you've ever had a broken leg). In fact some crutches, such as Gratitude and (realistic) Optimism, are perfectly natural and should be encouraged and practiced. Groupthink can be an opportunity for learning, and some might argue that the 'group' might be right. Superiority will typically have a negative impact, as it often manifests itself as power, ego, anger, or disdain. Unwilling Sacrifice can lead to feelings of martyrdom, which usually have a negative impact as well. We should not become dependent on Crutches, but if you occasionally need one, choose it well. Using a Crutch, especially for long periods of time, is a little like slapping a coat of paint on a piece of furniture that is not structurally sound; it looks better for awhile, but it is still a broken-down piece of furniture; and still more susceptible to variables outside of our control.

As always, comments, suggestions, alternative perspectives, and disagreements are welcome and encouraged. I should be challenged and held accountable, otherwise the growth potential is limited.

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