Happiness Oversite

Conscious Happiness

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Part 1 What is Consciousness
Part 2 Happiness
Happiness and Awareness
Happiness and Thought
Happiness and Emotions
Summary of Approaches to Happiness
Part 3 The Happiness Strategy
Suggested Reading
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By Bruce Barbour
Version 1 - April 2016

Part 2 - Happiness

General Thoughts on Conscious Happiness

In this Part 2 I will use the models of consciousness developed in Part 1 and look at how it may be used to help determine how to achieve long term happiness. I will briefly look at a number of approaches to happiness, including consideration of their strengths and weaknesses. With this information I will suggest how a person might reliably have achieve happiness through the development of a happiness strategy and examine the suggested approaches in greater detail in Part 3, The Happiness Strategy.

As a starting point it is important to recognise that happiness is an emotion or an emotional state.

What happiness is not is a thought, a series of thoughts or even a thought process.

Referring back to Drawing No. 1, happiness is located in the emotion bubble not the thought bubble. But, I can hear you say, thoughts do make me unhappy or happy or angry. And I would agree - thoughts can invoke any of the emotions. But it is not because the thought or thought process is itself an emotion. The emotional response is because the words and pictures of the thought have been interpreted by the consciousness as an emotional response.

The reverse is also true. emotion can also invoke thoughts. For example, the emotion of anger may be triggered by someone transgressing against you, say by unjustly calling you an idiot. The words of the insult are taken in via the awareness and thought processes, and interpreted by the emotion part of our consciousness into the emotion we name anger. This emotion of anger could then initiate a series of thoughts and / or action, along the lines of fight or flight, as discussed in Part 1, Consciousness.

Because thought does so dominate our consciousness it is an important source, but not the only source of emotion, including the emotion of happiness. In this Part 2 I will look extensively at the impact of thought processes on our emotional state and also how best to plan and live our lives to maximise thought processes that will be interpreted into the emotional state of happiness.

The Happiness Continuum

One further point before I proceed. Happiness is not just a single state, with a single level of emotion. The emotional states associated with happiness are a continuum through unhappiness, neutral state and happiness, as shown in Drawing 3.

Happiness Continuum

Drawing No. 3 - The Happiness Continuum

At anytime a person will be at a point on the happiness continuum, although they may not be continually aware of that state. Naturally it is preferable that the person be on the right-hand side of the continuum.

I will now look at each of the three parts of consciousness: awareness, emotion and thought, and how they impact on happiness. The role of memory will be briefly looked at.

Next Page - Happiness and Awareness.

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