Eric Weiner, a self-described grump and NPR foreign correspondent, has written a book on The Geography of Bliss. I haven't read the book, but am listening to him talk about it on NPR. He says happiness is "100% relational—family and friends." I have to say that when I was back in NY, I was immensely happy visiting my old friends that I had been missing since I moved. It was wonderful. I have good family in Detroit, but it's a tiny family. I have only a few friends in Detroit and see them only rarely—no close friends that I see often yet. I miss that.
Eric also says that the pursuit of happiness makes people unhappy. Being in the moment and simply enjoying life makes people happier. We in the USA live "an over-examined" life. I do tend, like my father, to lead an examined life. My father often quoted Socrates, who said, "An unexamined life is not worth living." Hmm. I have a feeling that that part of me may always be unhappy, as I love to examine things, including my life (I love Plato's version of Socrates). Eric Weiner says reading self-help books doesn't make one happier. I love self-help books.
He says that we need enough money to meet our needs, but our needs are small and more money not only doesn't bring more happiness, but often brings less. Striving for stuff does not increase happiness. I believe that to be true. It is something I have held close and dear to my heart most of my life. Money and stuff, beyond necessities does not buy or bring happiness. Barbara Kingsolver says that true needs are so small they rattle around in the bottom of a bucket.
Is not THIS book a self help book? So does that mean it won't make me happier? I'm putting it on my wish list, LOL!