Health & Diet

Give up on happiness. Go hard at wonder

The pursuit of happiness is unrealistic. Seek this other emotion, instead. Monica Parker, founder of HATCH and author of “The Power of Wonder,” says our world is utterly obsessed with happiness. We have so many types of initiatives – self-help books, programs, and even careers – centered around achieving happiness that we’ve reached toxic levels of positivity. This is a problem, as it forces us to interpret our experiences through a single – often overrated – emotional lens. Instead, we should pursue wonder, which is neither wholly positive nor wholly negative. Parker likens the feeling of wonder to watching a butterfly emerge from a chrysalis – it is beautiful, complex, and even a little scary. This profound mix of awe, curiosity, and fear, is something that, when achieved, can expand our resilience and deepen our interpretation of the world around us. The key to wonder? Slowing down. Parker explains that tuning into our three types of “wonderbringers” – natural, social, and cognitive – and incorporating “slow thought” activities into our lives, can help us be more receptive to wonder and the benefits it provides. By abandoning the pursuit of happiness and filling our days with things that spark wonder, that aren’t entirely based on positivity, and that fuel our curiosity and our passions, we can overcome our emotional barriers and live truly fulfilling,  wonder-full lives.

Happiness: Definition, Health Benefits, and How to Be Happier

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Monica Parker on The Power of Wonder - Big Think

Big Think lectured by Monica Parker