As the founders of the US republic make clear in the Declaration of Independence, human beings have an unassailable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. While the meaning of these "unalienable rights" is debated, it is clear that these rights are interrelated. Concerned with these "rights," Holistic Happiness focuses on happiness, defining the purpose of life as achieving and maintaining happiness "conducive to the equitable flourishing of all." To this end, happiness should not be confused with pleasure, which is momentary and transitory, for happiness is not so much a feeling as an attitude, associated with what we call achieving meaning and purpose in life. Properly understood, happiness can be achieved, but only by inner discipline, requiring a transformation of one's outlook, attitude, and approach to life.
As this book emphasizes, good health is an important foundation for happiness. However, to experience and maintain good health requires good genes, a balanced lifestyle, supportive companions, wholesome eating and drinking, regular exercise, a positive mindset, an active disposition, and good fortune. While happiness and good health are frequently disrupted by accidents, disease, stress, chemical and emotional imbalance, and numerous other factors, wellness is achievable and sustainable, but it needs balanced input from an individual's four constituent dimensions: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. In this regard, this volume is a resource for individuals seeking holistic happiness.
While benefitting from recent scholarly research, Holistic Happiness is unique in content and conception and is useful for individual or group study. Each chapter concludes with questions suitable for discussion or reflection.