The Day After

img_7723The day after Thanksgiving finds many either longing to sleep in or rising early for Black Friday mayhem. Though my mind is still a bit foggy from all the food I ate yesterday, a theme IS emerging from my befuddled gray matter, however. Brief snippets of dialogue heard from an NPR program, a few paragraphs read from a book on the brain, and several lines of diary scribbles pop up, all touching on the pursuit of happiness.

No easy task, defining a term many find elusive. Science deems it worth researching. It’s a relatively new field so results are not conclusive, but here are several ideas gleaned from yesterday’s brief times away from the table.

*Happiness might better be explained as a cluster of qualities describing a state of well-being.

*It is not to be confused with pleasure, which is directly affected by time and circumstances. Take pumpkin pie. I love it!  But just a slice or two, and only at holiday meals. If I ate a whole pie…YUCK . And if I ate it year -round it would lose its appeal. A pleasure constantly repeated can lead to repulsion, cravings or addictions.

*We humans arrive with an innate sense of cooperation. Society’s obsession with competition whittles that away.

*Observing with compassion the needs of others and working  cooperatively to eliminate them, even on a small scale, has a positive effect on well-being of both sides.

*Money doesn’t buy happiness unless it is given to others regularly or largely. Generous folks are among the happiest.

*But, an act of generosity that is done solely for the warm fuzzy feeling will not do the trick.

*Authenticity matters in the pursuit of happiness.

(The illustration of the book cover is one published by MIT Press.)

About Teresa Pearson Lee

Retired after 33 years of teaching English and French (one year in private school in Memphis, TN and the rest in public school in Doniphan, MO. Enjoying new adventures - all those things I put off for lack of time, energy, now I can try them! Pottery, writing, traveling, camping, kayaking, dancing, listening to some of the best live music ever, and making lively new friendships. All christened with an appreciation for great red wine! Created and operated KC's on the Current, then sold it and managed it for new owners. You might still find me at the reservation desk when spring rolls around. Born and raised in St. Louis, MO near The Hill. Though a transplant to Southeast Missouri, still a city gal at the core with a deep love of the natural resources in these Ozark foothills. Currently I am a content coordinator for Poplar Bluff Living Magazine and a columnist/stringer for the local weekly The Prospect News. My rescue Siamese helps with most of the proofreading; he has a great ear. I relish the solitude easily had in the Mark Twain Forest but thoroughly enjoy lively outings for music, wine, conversation close to home or in my beloved hometown. Technology is my greatest challenge but so worth the shared connections. There may be a need for solitude but there is little loneliness. The material in this blog written by Teresa Lee is her property and cannot be used without express written consent to do so.
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