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There is a Recipe for Happiness

By on January 31, 2011

How happy are you? This is probably a loaded question to ask during these times but generally African American men have a legacy of being resilient.  So it’s still surprising to learn research suggests that African American men are not as happy as their White counterparts.  However, African American men have had significant gains in happiness and have closed the gap with their white counterparts from the 70’s to the turn of the century but they continue to lag behind.  Why? Without doubt many sociological stressors are factors.  But turning to research, there are key ingredients that may encourage African American men to spend more time in the happy zone.

Happiness is a dynamic emotion just like all other emotions, it comes and goes and tends to be a byproduct of doing things one enjoys.  It is difficult to search for happiness; however happiness is likely to find you when you are engaged in activities that you really enjoy.  Like the old saying goes, “time flies when you’re having fun.”  Happy people tend to have fun with others, especially others who are happy.  Emotions are contagious and happiness can rub off on those who are near and dear.

Happy people also tend to be optimistic and find golden nuggets in bad experiences.  Consider the opportunities for growth and value that may come out of unfortunate circumstances or events.  Happy people also tend to be grateful and mindful of the good things in their life.  By recognizing and expressing appreciation for the positive things in your life it is easier to think optimistically.

Happiness also tends to grow out of faith or hope.  People that are hopeful or have faith that they will overcome their obstacles are more likely to set up a self-fulfilling prophecy of success and accomplishment that may make one feel happy.  African American men have a long tradition of have strong faith.  By coupling this faith with gratitude, purpose, optimism and a positive network of friends and companions the trend for African American men’s increases in happiness will continue to grow.

Don Elligan, Ph.D.

One Comment

  1. Preston Fairchild

    February 5, 2011 at 1:16 am

    Great article. I am a firm believer that we are responsible for our own happiness.

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