The How of Happiness claims to deliver a scientific approach to getting the life we want, a happy life, of course! In the glut of books about happiness (why is it such a popular topic?) this one is written by a social scientist who carefully backs each recommendation with the results of scientific studies. There’s the usual one about how neither winning the lottery nor suffering through a debilitating disease changes happiness levels much — and since I’ve ranted against that last point recently, I won’t do it again here — and many others, which the author organizes into twelve types of activities arranged in five groups: practicing positive thinking; managing stress; living in the present; pursuing goals; and taking care of body and soul. For each activity she gives several options and further activities to explore if that one resonated with you.
While reading the book my twelve-year old daughter happened to ask about it, and I explained how ruminating about problems could make things worse. To which she responded, being herself worried about a “tough” upcoming soccer game, that she simply distracts herself with other tasks (or food, she being of the sweet tooth tribe) when she gets overly worried about things. And sure enough, that was a technique blessed by the book.
Perhaps a book we will all need as the economic crisis pursues its course?