Happiness, Contentment, Emotional Well-Being...
What is it?
How do we get it?
How do we keep it?
These questions have been asked, and answers have been offered since the dawn of time.
In the beginning, people turned to men and women considered wise. They
consulted witch doctors, witches, shamans, and gurus. These sages offered visions of a
happy life as well as methods for making it a reality.
Later, religion offered an alternative. People came to believe that God,
through His representatives - Moses, Jesus, or Mohammad - provided a basic
set of instructions for becoming and remaining happy. They studied
statements of these holy men and listened to rabbis, priests, or mullahs for
guidance in daily life.
Others in the ancient world looked to philosophers to point the way to
happiness. Rather than relying on divine revelation, they assumed human
intelligence was capable of unraveling the mysteries of life. Socrates,
Aristotle, Epicurus and the Stoic philosophers each offered guidance with
respect to achieving contentment and satisfaction in living. Since then
scores of other philosophers have built on their ideas.
With the advent of science people began to believe the scientific method
could reveal the structure and dynamics of a high quality life. They assumed
that just as the human condition had otherwise improved when research
replaced folk wisdom, religion and philosophy, the scientific study of
happiness would reveal insights superior to pre-scientific thought. They
hoped those scientists who studied human nature - psychologists,
psychiatrists, sociologists, and anthropologists - would be able to identify
the basic elements of happiness and how those elements could be combined
into a rich and rewarding life.
For a little more than a hundred years, social scientists have been trying
to figure out what makes people happy and which behaviors lead to real and
lasting happiness. In the twentieth century hundreds of scientists made
scores of discoveries about aspects of happiness, contentment, and emotional
well-being. Yet, none of them tied these discoveries into a comprehensive
way of understanding and enhancing quality of life.
At the dawn of the twenty-first century this task was finally accomplished
by a board certified clinical psychologist. Dr. Douglas Ramm combined the
research of hundreds of behavioral scientists with his own cutting-edge
discoveries about the relationship between happiness and human behavior. In
doing so, he was able to identify the basic elements of happiness and how to
fit them together to form a rich and rewarding life. He initially presented
the formula for happiness to the scientific community in
New Ideas in Psychology, an international journal of innovative theory in psychology
in 1996. This is a forum for psychologists to present what the editors judge to
be groundbreaking theory. Printed by the world's largest publisher of
scientific research, it is peer reviewed and overseen by an editorial board
made up of faculty from departments of psychology at some of the world's
Although this article attracted worldwide attention from the scientific community, Dr. Ramm was interested in sharing his discoveries with as many people as possible. A piece in which he advocates that the field of psychology follow his lead in dealing with principles for making choices in daily living was published in American Psychologist, the journal of record for the American Psychological Association in 1998. In addition, he developed an educational program, The Facts of Life Seminar, to teach this approach to enhancing quality of life to adolescents who found themselves involved with the juvenile court. After research revealed that this program results in a significant reduction in inclinations toward violent behavior, theft and dishonesty, the juvenile system in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, mandated that all teens placed on probation successfully complete the program. Another version of this approach to decision-making, Lessons on The Facts of Life, has been developed for public schools where it has the likelihood of reducing drug and alcohol abuse, violent behavior and sexual activity which is likely to result in unintended pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted disease.
Dr. Ramm's paradigm for becoming and remaining happy has also been incorporated into two programs which have already had practical applications in business settings. The Winning Workplace provides members of organizations with a set of principles for making choices in daily life which enhance the functioning of the organization they work for as well as the quality of their own lives. Bottom Line Business Ethics provides members of business organizations with a way of thinking about what they ought to do which, in turn, motivates employees to comply with a code of ethics while at the same time enhancing the level of profits the organization is able to realize.
Finally, in an effort to share what he learned about becoming and remaining happy with even more people, Dr. Ramm decided to write a self-help book that would make his discoveries accessible to the public at large. In order to accomplish this goal he teamed up with a professional writer, Steven N. Czetli. Together they wrote an easy to read, entertaining, self-help book which lays out the basic elements of happiness and how to put them together for a wide variety of readers.
The Formula for Happiness is a self-help manual for finding contentment and
satisfaction in living. It identifies the basic elements of happiness and
how to fit them together to form a rich and rewarding life. In addition to
presenting today's most realistic approach to understanding and improving
quality of life, this book also provides methods for measuring current
levels of happiness, enhancing contentment and satisfaction in living, and
forecasting how potential courses of action are likely to impact our
personal pursuit of happiness.