is necessary to be able to handle unhappy feelings when they come
along (see chapter 6). You can't be happy and unhappy (or angry) at
the same time about the same specific issue. You can, of course, be
happy about certain aspects of an issue and unhappy about other
This section helps me make the point that the development of a
particular emotional state, such as happiness, is sometimes very
complex and involves many self-help methods. Obviously, all the
methods for reducing depression might apply to generating happiness,
but happiness is much more than the absence of sadness. You see the
point. (If you are thinking that this method is very cognitive, I agree
that it is closely related to the methods in chapter 14.)
To understand how to achieve happiness.
To avoid futile attempts to achieve happiness via pleasures,
possessions, or indifferent and irresponsible behaviors.
STEP ONE: Read method #4 in chapter 14 about determinism
and learn to accept reality and the lawfulness of life.
This is not an easy task. It takes time to shake off our
consumption ("Gimme") orientation towards happiness. Mikulas (1983)
has an interesting analogy: Suppose you lived 1000 years ago and
were asked if you would like to live in 2000 with warm houses, cars,
airplanes, TV, free education, good medical care, etc. Of course, if you
were living in 1000 A.D. in a dirt floored hut, with little education, with
many children dying from diseases, with starvation everywhere, and
with no entertainment, etc., you would think 2000 would be wonderful.
You would assume that everyone in 2000 would be gleefully happy!
But all of our advantages, knowledge, possessions and pleasures have
not made us happy. Hopefully, in 3000, we will know much more
about being productive, moral, and happy.
Read about determinism (method #4 in chapter 14) and try to give
up your frustrations with the way that things are at this moment in
your life. You can start making realistic plans for changing some things
you don't like, but accept and "understand" the way things are. Most
importantly, this accepting, tolerant attitude reduces resentment and
frustration with others and with your self. Carl Rogers called it
"unconditional positive regard."
STEP TWO: Learn to have some control over your life.
Even if you are well cared for at this time, no one can be entirely
comfortable realizing that they are unable to support themselves,
should the need arise. A personal or interpersonal problem is always