Book Review: “Your Future Happiness Matters”

Alexandra Blockton

Did you know that someone is solely responsible for their happiness? Someone may experience situations in life that will cause them to steer away from being happy. In the book titled, “Happiness by Design,” Dr. Paul Dolan says, “The ways in which you can reallocate your attention to be happier are best understood from three separate but related perspectives: deciding, designing, and doing.” Are you ready to create a space in your life for your ultimate future happiness or to enhance your current happiness levels? There is no need to worry about it because it can be done with dedication and consistency. This book has two parts; “Developing Happiness” and “Delivering Happiness.”

Initially, part one includes findings from a few studies. Dolan used the Day Reconstruction Method (DRM), which consists of levels of enjoyment that anyone can use when notetaking these topics involving results from their daily activities. Specifying their feelings after completing the activity. The study that I found to be of interest was what exactly we know about our happiness involving pleasure or purpose experienced during daily activities. Purpose has been shown to bring happiness involving work in certain areas. A study was completed concerning several activities, such as watching television, volunteering, commuting, eating, doing homework, and housework. The ratings consisted of the amount of pleasure or purpose participants felt after. The findings from the study showed the differences among these participants from ages 15 to 23. Participants from the study scored lower involving their pleasure ratings. The findings I found to be interesting were that men spend on average an hour longer than women working as well as watching television. However, women spend on average an hour longer completing housework. Dolan says, “Homework is much less purposeful when engaged in with someone else, which makes sense if solitude allows people to get more.” When it comes to someone obtaining happiness it can start with simple things like daily activities. This can be a crucial part of obtaining happiness in the future. When someone has interactions with others it can bring them lots of joy.

In addition, part two consisted of designing, deciding, and doing happiness! First, designing happiness is someone being able to make a full commitment to a goal that they are looking forward to achieving. For example, someone sharing the goal that they are looking to achieve with a friend and documenting small percentages as they work towards the goal. By doing this, they would be more likely to complete the goal. “If you set goals where you have some degree of control over the outcome such as your physical health and feeling connected to others, you will experience more positive emotions,” Dolan says.

Next, deciding happiness involves an individual taking the time to receive feedback. Someone they trust can be helpful for them in obtaining future happiness. Although someone can be great at something, it can add value to this specific strength. When an individual can receive feedback about their strength from someone, they know well and trust. This can enhance their happiness levels by involving their specific strength. However, this can also involve discussing a specific topic with a trusted individual. By letting them continue with deciding you can also create a space for future happiness with less worrying.

Furthermore, happiness starts with someone being able to forgive themself for mistakes they make in life. For instance, this situation can cause someone to overthink. When an individual starts to overthink, they can simply take this into the matter “stop worrying and start doing” by journaling the three things they get distracted by in life concerning the issue. It can help them with aligning what matters most and remove negative distractions from their mindset. This can allow them to attend to their experiences, which can lead them to becoming a happier person.

An individual that experiences thoughts of worrisome things can cause them to feel sad. Knowing that the situation is only temporary, however, can bring a sense of closure. Although this will not happen overnight, after at least a couple of weeks it can show them some improvement. The most important thing is where someone focuses their attention and shows where they can improve their happiness levels. An individual being able to move forward in life while staying focused is beneficial. In contrast, the second part of the book labeled as designing, deciding, and doing can shine light on how to achieve future happiness in life. It gives specific details about how each topic can bring feelings of enjoyment for someone concerning their happiness. “We have a desire to achieve, and some argue that this brings happiness. “No doubt achieving a goal, which makes our evaluative self-happy, can feel rather good in itself: in video game players, achieving goals releases dopamine, which is the pleasure-producing neurotransmitter in our brains,” Dolan says.

About Alexandra Blockton

Alexandra is pursuing an Associate Degree in general studies as a Transfer Student. After Fall 2023, she will transfer to a 4-year university to major in Psychology.
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