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What is happiness and how to achieve it?

In the fall of 2020, we are wondering what affects our mood and how to cheer up in the long run. RBC Style approached the author of several books on happiness Yuri Vagin, to talk about how people interpreted happiness at different times, and to advise on how to achieve it in our time.
What is happiness and how to achieve it?

Yuri Vagin,

a psychotherapist with over 30 years of experience, candidate of medical sciences, director of a psychological center, author of popular books

Happiness is a general satisfaction and chronic enjoyment with life. There are two main components in this definition: overall satisfaction and its duration.

General satisfaction does not imply that a person has absolutely everything that life can provide, but he has something important that is necessary for happiness. Happiness is a permanent condition (happy childhood, happy old age, happy life), not a short-term reaction, which we would rather call joy.

Let us discuss how contemporary academics have managed to prove that we can and should be happy throughout our lives, and what two conditions must be met for this.

A short while ago, we surveyed high school students for their general happiness, life satisfaction and the absence of bad suicidal thoughts and suicidal behavior. In particular, it was studied how well schoolchildren were able to achieve and take (in a good sense) from life what they need, and how well they were able to refuse what they did not need. They agreed or disagreed with such statements as “if something is not clear to me in class, it is easy for me to ask the teacher again”, “if I am bored at a party, I can get up and go home”, “I tolerate people who are unpleasant to me for too long”, “it is difficult for me to deny a person’s request” and so on. As a result, two "small groups" were formed: those who knew how to do it well (about 15%), we conventionally called them "impudent", and those who could neither achieve what they wanted, nor refuse what they did not want (about 85%), and we conditionally called them "modest".

Then, with the help of psychological tests, we looked at how general life satisfaction, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts are related to the groups of "impudent" and "modest". Guess which group of children felt happy, satisfied with life, did not experience anxiety, depression, had plans for the future, wanted to study, have a family, earn money and live fully? That's right: "impudent". “Modest people” did not see any meaning in life, life was straining them, made them upset, disturbed, tired; they did not want to have a family, children and were afraid of people. We laughed that it was proved by means of experiment that effrontery is not the second but the first happiness (in the best sense of the word).

Widely known psychological studies show that at the end of their lives many people are sorry they have spent too little time with loved ones, traveled too little, that this has not been enough for them to be happy. But once I came across the work of Russian psychologists, according to whom, these conclusions were not entirely applicable to Russian reality. At the end of their lives, many Russians do not regret about traveling little with their loved ones, but about what they have to endure too much, wait too long to be understood, appreciated, and thanked.

The topic of "toxic" relationships has become very relevant recently. It is hard to be happy without loved ones. But in order to build long and happy relationships with loved ones, you must follow two rules that we have already discussed above: you should choose those people who do not poison your life, and clam up those who poison it.

Source: https://style.rbc.ru/health/5f93197f9a7947006e61c562

Photos are from open sources.

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