Are We happy Yet? Are You?
If you're a subscriber to YES!, your Fall issue of YES! on Purple America will be in your mailbox very soon. If you are not a subscriber, I hope you will become one, or better yet, a "Dedicated Friend" of YES! These are the best ways to support the work of producing YES!--work that would be impossible without our subscribers and supporters.
Meanwhile, here's a heads-up on Happiness, the topic of the Winter issue of YES!, and a request for your help with the issue.
Pursuing happiness is something we are entitled to; it says so, right in the Declaration of Independence. But are we happy? Could it be that what we are pursuing is not in fact happiness, but the stuff that is supposed to lead to happiness?
Why do we rank so low in global happiness scores, although we are the wealthiest country in the world and have way more stuff than almost anyone else? And why do so many resort to drugs--legal and illegal--to make it through the day?
These are urgent questions because pursuing the ersatz happiness promised by Madison Avenue is destroying a very real planet along with the potential for genuine long-term happiness for ourselves, the other people (and other life) we share the planet with, and future generations.
So what is real happiness and how do we get it? As we prepare this issue of YES! we turn to science, to personal stories, and to wisdom traditions for clues.
The real ingredients of happiness, it turns out, are far less costly to the planet than we might have thought. Happiness comes from having enough--but not too much--and from living in a society in which others have enough. And it comes from such simple habits as expressing gratitude and finding ways to give back. This is not a liberal fantasy, this is what the research says.
The good news is actually very good indeed. We can have it all--a healthier planet, healthier societies, and happier people. But we have to turn away from the failed Madison Avenue path to happiness and seek out the genuine article.
Here's where you can help. We will be featuring stories in this issue of people who have found contentment. They may not have reached a state of perfect bliss, but they have found the right balance for themselves and their families, and they are living in a way that doesn't compromise the ability of others, in this and future generations, to also be happy.
Do you know such people? Send us an email to editors [at sign] yesmagazine.org. Put the word "happiness" in the subject line. Or leave a comment below, with a way to reach you. We'll choose some of your stories to feature in the upcoming issue.
Meanwhile, keep an eye out for the Fall issue of YES! (which, as you'll recall, you will get in your mailbox if you become a subscriber or Dedicated Friend. Oh, and you get a great DVD of "Pete Seeger: The Power of Song" and other gifts when you sign up as a Dedicated Friend!)