WellesleyWeston Magazine

SPRING 2014

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.

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a mirror," explains Peppercorn of the work that makes her own life happy and fulfilling. Professor Professor Julie Norem, a self-proclaimed "positive psychology critic" believes that the quest for happiness is often misguided. She defines happiness as an emotional state and, therefore, inherently transitory. "You can temporarily increase your mood, you can work to increase the amount of time you spend doing things that make you happy, and you can change expectations in ways that make you feel less disap- pointed or more appreciative." But, Norem cautions, "No one should expect to be happy all the time because our emotional networks, lives, and reality don't work that way. Emotions have functions: they help us understand situations in the world, ourselves, and other people." She goes on to clarify, "It's not that I am against people being happy, it's just that looking for happiness as an ultimate goal or steady state is a fool's errand, in my opinion." Norem warns that the push to promote optimism and gratitude can actually be harmful to certain people. Her research on optimism and pessimism, anxiety, and goal pursuit covered in her book, The Positive 86 Are We Happy, Yet? 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 " Happiness is a moral obligation, not because it feels good, but because happy people are more inclined to do good, to give, to heal, to reach out and repair our world. " Ë Rabbi Joel Sisenwine 080-088_WWMa14_science of happiness_v3_WellesleyWeston Magazine 2/1/14 4:21 PM Page 86

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