WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/256387

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Page 81 of 211

more than 230 years after Thomas Jefferson hallowed the pursuit of happiness as one of three inalienable rights of every citizen, Americans are still struggling to achieve what appears to be a holy grail. The national obsession Conduct a Web search on happiness and up pops a staggering 170 million results. You'll also find 1,380 nonfiction titles on Amazon and 49 TED talks. With all the available resources, why is happiness elusive? As "The Pursuit of Happiness" cover story in TIME magazine's summer 2013 double issue alleges, "Americans are free to pursue happiness, but there's no guarantee we'll achieve it. The secret is knowing how and where to look." Certified Positive Psychology Coach Susan Peppercorn; Wellesley College Professor of Psychology Julie Norem, Ph.D.; and Rabbi Joel Sisenwine of Temple Beth Elohim provide valu- able insights on how and where to look. While the three offer different perspectives on happi- ness, all share the same core advice—not to confuse happiness with pleasure and to focus, instead, on shaping a fulfilling life. Before we learn more from our local teachers, let's explore environmental conditions that social scientists highlight as critical context for understanding obstacles to happiness. Unlike many periods in history, today we live in an era when more people are financially able to pro- vide the basic necessities of food and shelter and therefore have the luxury to focus their time, energy, and money on achieving happiness. Yet, even after accumulating the house, cars, elec- tronics, and jewelry, people typically find that consumption is not all it is cracked up to be, sup- porting the staying power of the age-old adage, "The chase is better than the catch," and the statement in the ancient book of Jewish law, the Talmud, "The more possessions, the more worry." In addition, our frenetic, hyper-connected society forces comparison of our own 80 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s p r i n g 2 0 1 4 A r e W e E L I Z A B E T H S U N E B Y writer 080-088_WWMa14_science of happiness_v3_WellesleyWeston Magazine 2/1/14 4:18 PM Page 80

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