Harvard expert shares the two secrets to being happy


  • Author Tal Ben-Shahar’s new book “Happiness Studies” introduces a field of study dedicated to exploring happiness.
  • Ben-Shahar, co-founder of Wholebeing Institute, proposes simple measures for holistic well-being.
  • The “SPIRE” strategy breaks down wellness into spiritual, physical, intellectual, relational and emotional well-being.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Humans have been on the search for the keys to happiness for eons.

Author of “Happiness Studies,” Tal Ben-Shahar hopes to shed some light on the subject. He distilled the process down to just two simple steps.

Step one is to redefine happiness. Ben-Shahar points to a study that found seeking happiness can actually have the opposite effect—making you depressed.

“The analogy that I give in the book is sunlight. Looking at the sunlight directly hurts. But if I break down sunlight into its colors and look at the rainbow, that I can enjoy. But directly pursuing happiness can hurt me,” Ben-Shahar said.

He says to instead pursue “wholeness,” which he defines as a more holistic sense of wellness that focuses on both the internal and external well-being.

The best way to do that is through step two.

Step two is the “SPIRE” strategy, created by Ben-Shahar and Megan McDonough, co-founders of Wholebeing Institute. The acronym stands for the five parts “wholebeing”: spiritual, physical, intellectual, relational and emotional. 

“The word ‘spire’ is within the word ‘respire,’ meaning to breathe — the act that keeps you alive. The SPIRE perspective encourages you to know yourself — to understand and value that which is uniquely and wonderfully you. When you become grounded in who you are, it becomes a source of energy. While respiring (breathing) keeps you alive, SPIRE wholebeing seeks to keep you enlivened,” according to Wholebeing Institute’s website. 

Source: The Hill

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