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Sara’s Secrets of Happiness

January 25, 2013

I have a deep interest in comparative religion. It’s fascinated me for years and I’ll often get up at 4 a.m. just to study, read and learn. I find it fascinating to understand what people believe and why. I love coming to see what different beliefs have in common (a lot.) This is a lifelong interest for me. When I was 5 years old and my family was piled in the car on Sunday morning going to the Presbyterian Church, we would pass the Methodist Church, Baptist Church, Catholic Church, Episcopal church. I would inquire of my parents,  “Who is right? What’s the difference?”

Recently this exploration led me to a new field of psychology called Positive Psychology. The traditional field of psychology, say Freud to modern day, has been focused on how we can be not-quite-so-miserable. This new field of Positive Psychology instead poses questions like: Just how happy can people be? Is happiness genetic? What portion can we control?

So that got me to thinking about my own happiness. I realized that for me, there are two important clues when I am onto something that makes me happy.

The first is enthusiasm. When I am enthusiastic, I am happy. I’ve learned to observe when I feel enthusiasm. I take note. The word “enthusiastic” comes from the Latin “entheos” which means “inspired of God.” Pretty good clue if the big guy is involved that would cause happiness. How cool is this? We all feel enthusiasm and if we can put aside our thoughts on what “should” make us enthused and instead be honest with ourselves about it, happiness will ensue. Studying comparative religion makes me feel enthusiasm – and happiness.

The second clue is energy. When something makes my energy go up, happiness is not far behind. Energy is related to enthusiasm, however there can be times when my energy is going up because I am mad about something – a wrong that needs righting, for example. Also, when I do things that take my energy down, such as eating foods that I know crash me or not getting enough sleep, my energy goes down and my happiness suffers.

For both enthusiasm and energy, I know when they hit and what I’m doing that causes them to soar. I observe what makes them plummet. The question I pose to myself is  – am I going to put this into work in my life or am I not? My life is a live experiment and that makes it fun. I really do this stuff.

Wisegate makes me happy. Whenever I am deeply engaged – talking to a member, brainstorming with the team about new ways to serve our members, painting the vision – I am enthused and energetic. Oh, and happy.

Enthusiasm. Energy.

Take note of these for you. And watch the happiness soar.

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