Showing posts with label Happiness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Happiness. Show all posts

Mar 16, 2018

Happiness is Contagious

A joint venture study by Harvard University and the University of California at San Diego, followed 5,000 people over a 20-year period. The family, coworkers, and neighbors of these individuals were also followed, involving at least 50,000 people in the process. The researchers determined how happy the participants were by administering standard happiness assessments, where subjects responded to statements, such as "I feel hopeful about the future," "I feel I am just as good as other people," and "I am happy."
According to the results, if a friend who lives within a mile of you gets happy, your chances of happiness increase by 25 percent. If that happy friend lives closer to you, you have a 42 percent chance of being happy yourself, showing that proximity to happy people makes a difference. In fact, neighbors of happy people feel the effect more than family members do. Siblings who live close to a happy sibling increase their likelihood of happiness by 14 percent, while next-door neighbors of the happy individual have a 34 percent benefit, even if the neighbors are not friends. The happiness effect lasts up to a year. "We know it's not a 'birds of a feather flock together' effect," said one of the study authors, Nicholas A. Christakis of Harvard University.
Your happiness can affect the happiness of someone you have never met. However, work colleagues seem immune to the benefit. Partners and spouses are less receptive than friends, with only an eight percent benefit from a happy spouse. Good news the researchers found was that while happiness spreads, unhappiness does not spread as much.
"You would think that your emotional state would depend on your own choices and actions and experience," said Dr. Christakis. "But it also depends on the choices, and actions, and experiences of other people, including people to whom you are not directly connected. Happiness is contagious."

Happiness has a significant impact on health. All of which means that it pays to live next to healthy, happy individuals. This study indicates that when you do something right for yourself, the ripples of that positive choice extend farther out into the world than you might have thought.

Apr 28, 2017

Older is Better

Research has shown getting older could also mean getting happier. During 2016, research from the UK Office for National Statistics concluded the most joyful age bracket was 65-79.
The survey looked at more than 300,000 adults across the UK and found life satisfaction peaked at that age before declining over 80. However, those in their 40s were shown to be less happy and with the highest levels of anxiety.

In a blog post on Psychology Today, Dr. Romeo Vitelli says that happiness can be a tricky thing to define. It can mean the kind of joy that only occurs at key moments in our lives, or it can simply be the amount of positive emotion we happen to feel at any given time. There appears to be an upswing as we get older.

A United States research project found happiness was relatively stable for people in their mid-20s to late 30s, then it declined during the 40s and slowly rose to a peak from 60 to 69 years old.

It is all relative, and there is no set rule for how happy anyone will be at certain times in life. I believe, regardless of age, you can be as happy as you choose to be.

May 6, 2016

Another Happiness Study

In countries worldwide, happiness for most is success in doing the things of everyday life. That might be making a living, raising a family, maintaining good health, and working in an interesting and secure job. These are the things that dominate daily lives everywhere; the things that people care about and which they think they have some ability to control.

Psychologists have investigated the reliability and validity of the measures and economists have studied the nature and robustness of the results. Support comes from the fact that many countries now officially collect happiness data. The same relationships are found between happiness and a variety of life circumstances in country after country. Those who are significantly less happy are typically the unemployed, those not living with a partner, people in poor health, members of a minority, and the less-educated.

Respondents to surveys clearly recognize the difference between happiness as an emotion and happiness in the sense of life satisfaction.

Apr 29, 2016

Happiness Study

For the study, published in Social Psychology and Personality Science, researchers Aaron Weidman and Elizabeth Dunn from the University of British Columbia gave 67 participants $20 to spend on either an experiential or material purchase of their choice, and then to report one experiential or material gift they had recently received. Then they quizzed them about their happiness levels through text messages and questionnaires.

They found that the study subjects derived more frequent momentary happiness from material goods, but more intense momentary happiness from the experiences. In other words, they enjoyed their material goods on a greater number of occasions than they did their experiences, even though the happiness felt from the experiences was slightly more intense.

People who want the most happiness for their buck should buy experiences, not things. The idea is that the joy of an experience begins before it even starts, and continues when you look back on the fancy dinner or vacation fondly. Experiences provide both more anticipatory happiness and afterglow happiness.

Feb 12, 2016

Six Ways to be Happy

A recent study found: "When participants physically discarded a representation of their thoughts, they mentally discarded them as well, using them less in forming judgments than did participants who retained a representation of their thoughts." If you have pervasive negative thoughts, write them down on a piece of paper, and physically throw them away, or burn them. This strategy can be employed as a quick way to clear your head of negativity.

Another just-released study found that the human imagination is powerful to a scary and exciting degree. "This is the first set of experiments to definitively establish that the sensory signals generated by one's imagination are strong enough to change one's real-world perception of a different sensory modality." Exercising your imagination will generate creative ideas, motivate you, and make you happier if you use it well. Happiness is a perspective, and using your imagination is an effective way to alter your perspective in a positive way.

Experiences have been shown to make us happier than material possessions. A study from Cornell says, "Consumers spend more time thinking about material purchases they didn't choose than they spend when they buy an experience." When it comes to spending money, experiences are almost always a better value than possessions. Material possessions tend to make us happy initially but quickly wane, but the happiness gained from experiences can last a lifetime. If you want to be happier in the long term, consider taking a trip instead of buying a new TV.

A few studies show that you can be much happier by giving, such as volunteer, pay for the person behind you at the tool booth, cook a surprise meal for someone, or give someone an unexpected gift. We are incredibly powerful in our ability to make someone else's day with very little effort on our part. One study found that toddlers before the age of two years old "exhibit greater happiness when giving treats to others than receiving treats themselves." Another study by a Harvard scholar found that happiness can be bought, so long as you are spending the money on someone else. Giving brings real happiness results. If you truly want to maximize your happiness, then find ways to give to others.

Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk, is sometimes called the happiest man in the world. "There is a possibility for change because all emotions are fleeting. That is the ground for mind training. Mind training is on the idea that two opposite mental factors can't happen at the same time. You cannot in the same gesture shake a hand and strike a blow. There are natural antidotes to emotions that are destructive to our well-being."

Ricard says that mind transformation is achieved through meditation on unconditional compassion and loving kindness. "Some of [the monks] who came to the labs did 20-40 thousand hours of meditation. When the monks were tested for happiness using tests that measure brain activity for happiness, it was found that the monks were four standard deviations from the norm in favor of happiness; in other words, they were off-the-charts happy. If you want to multiply your happiness results, meditate on compassion and loving kindness. The monks' theory on opposite mental factors holds true. They spend so much time thinking of positive things, that negativity and angst are pushed out of their mind, and they become very happy.

Perhaps the most surprising and 21st century relevant happiness factor is focus. A study found that people's minds wandered 47% of the time on average and it had a more negative impact on their happiness than what they were doing. There is a direct connection between focus and happiness. Focusing your skills and energy on fewer areas is a simple formula that brings big results. The more you focus on what matters, the more your life becomes as you desire, and the happier you will be. True happiness is not being a slave to a piece of technology. It is deciding what is most important in this moment and focusing all of your energy on it. So, if you want to be happy, toss out negativity, think good things, do good things, give to others, imagine being happy, and focus on being happy.

Feb 5, 2016

Happiness and Bars

Here is a quick read about how to "Spend Time at Your Local Bar to Build Community and Your Own Happiness." Researchers at Oxford’s Department of Experimental Psychology explain there are social benefits to being a regular at a small local bar. LINK

Jan 22, 2016

Happiness is Physical and Emotional

Japanese researchers have mapped, using MRI where happiness emerges in the brain. The study, published in Scientific Reports, paves the way for objectively measuring happiness and provides insights on a neurologically based way of being happy.

A team at Kyoto University has found an answer from a neurological perspective. Overall happiness, according to their study, is a combination of happy emotions and satisfaction of life coming together in the precuneus, a region in the medial parietal lobe.

People feel emotions in different ways; for instance, some people feel happiness more intensely than others when they receive compliments. Psychologists have found that emotional factors like these and satisfaction of life together constitutes the subjective experience of being happy. The neural mechanism behind how happiness emerges, however, remained unclear. Understanding that mechanism will be a huge asset for quantifying levels of happiness.

Their analysis revealed that those who scored higher on the happiness surveys had more grey matter mass in the precuneus. In other words, people who feel happiness more intensely, feel sadness less intensely, and are more able to find meaning in life.

"Several studies have shown that meditation increases grey matter mass in the precuneus. This new insight on where happiness happens in the brain will be useful for developing happiness programs based on scientific research." Am thinking my precuneus must be enlarged, especially on a Happy Friday.

Jan 8, 2016

Science Advice, Ten Things to Make You Happier

These may seem more common sense than science, but scientists have been paid big money to research the topic and feed back the obvious.

Exercise more - It can help you to relax, increase your brain power, and improve your body image, even if you do not lose any weight.

Sleep more - Sleep-deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories, yet recall gloomy memories.

Move closer to work - People never get accustomed to their daily slog to work because sometimes the traffic is awful and sometimes it’s not. Over time the negative outweighs the positive.

Spend time with friends and family - Friends and family reinforce positive feelings and increase happiness. Not staying in touch with friends and family is one of the top five regrets of the dying.

Help others -  Volunteering is rewarding in terms of higher life satisfaction. Performing a kind act produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise.

Get outside - Studies found that spending 20 minutes outside in good weather not only boosted positive mood, Substantially increased happiness, broadened thinking, and improved working memory.

Plan a trip - The act of planning a vacation and the positive anticipation actually can increase happiness for up to eight weeks, while after taking the vacation, happiness drops quickly.

Meditate - It has long been known to help us be calm, improve focus, increase clarity and attention span. It  is also useful for improving happiness. Brain scans show it is the single most effective way to live a happier live.

Be grateful - Simple things like keeping a journal of things you are grateful for, sharing three good things that happen with friend or family, and going out of your way to show gratitude when others help you all contribute to increased happiness. A study asked people to write three letters of gratitude over a 3 week period. Results indicated that writing letters of gratitude increased participants’ happiness and life satisfaction, while decreasing depressive symptoms.

Practice smiling - Saved the best for last. Smiling (and backing it up with positive thoughts) improves mood, reduces stress, and increases happiness.

Mar 20, 2015

Happy International Day of Happiness

Today is also known as International Happiness Day. It was established by the United Nations General Assembly on 28 June 2012. The General Assembly, says, "Recognizing also the need for a more inclusive, equitable, and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes sustainable development, poverty eradication, happiness, and the well-being of all peoples. Decides to proclaim 20 March the International Day of Happiness, invites all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and individuals, to observe the International Day of Happiness in an appropriate manner, including through education and public awareness-raising activities."

Happiness Activists are getting together to take action in cities across the globe, from Washington DC to London and Milan. Here is a short video of people around the world celebrating Happiness Day. LINK

Jul 11, 2014

Five Attributes Happiness and Sex Share

Here is another way to ease pain. A 2004 study asked 900 American women how various daily activities made them feel and found that "intimate relations" topped the charts for happiness. Both reduce anxiety, reduce stress, boost your immune system, ease pain, and both reduce neuroticism, a trait marked by mood swings and frequent worry. Not sure who paid for the study to show the obvious.

Jun 13, 2014

Smile, Be Happy

In one set of studies, depressed participants were invited to take a few minutes once a day to relish something that they usually hurry through, such as eating a meal or taking a shower. When it was over, they were instructed to write down in what ways they had experienced the event differently as well as how that felt compared with the times when they rushed through it.

In another study, healthy students and community members were instructed to savor two pleasurable experiences per day, by reflecting on each for two or three minutes and trying to make the pleasure last as long and as intensely as possible. In all these studies those participants prompted to practice savoring, regularly showed significant increases in happiness and reductions in depression.

Researchers told people to smile and the subjects actually felt happier. More than 26,000 people were randomly assigned to groups and asked to carry out various exercises designed to make them happier. When it came to increasing happiness, those altering their facial expressions came out on top.

Feb 15, 2014

Picture of Happiness

This picture seems appropriate for the day. Now we know why those who are happy and in love appear to glow. They are warm all over.

This picture proves that happiness is the greatest emotion and makes your whole body feel good. Second strongest is love.

May 1, 2012

Happiness and a Happy Heart

Scientists have long known that people who are chronically angry, anxious or depressed have a higher risk of heart attacks. A new study shows, the opposite type of being upbeat and optimistic may help protect against heart disease.

Rather than focusing only on how to lessen heart risks, "it might also be useful to focus on how we might bolster the positive side of things," said a lead researcher from the Harvard School of Public Health.

They reviewed dozens of studies examining a positive outlook on heart health. A number of studies found the most optimistic people had half the risk of a first heart attack when compared to the least optimistic. People with a better sense of well-being tend to have healthier blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight, and are more likely to exercise, eat healthier, and get enough sleep.

Results cautioned that it will take more research to identify if a positive outlook makes people feel more like taking heart-healthy steps, or whether living healthier helps you feel more positive. So the researchers are still not sure if it is 'be happy be healthy' or 'be healthy be happy'. They do know stress associated with negative psychological traits can lead to damage of arteries and the heart.

Other research found that asking people to smile helps put them in a better mood. Many of my books will make you smile and put you in a better mood. Pick up a few and we will both be happy and healthy. A bonus is that if you at least have a Happy Friday you will be one seventh more healthy.

Jul 22, 2011

I Like You

Fifteen things to ponder.
1. At least 5 people in this world love you so much they would die for you.
2. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.
3. The only reason anyone would ever hate you is because they want to be just like you.
4. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don’t like you.
5. Every night, someone thinks about you before they go to sleep.
6. You mean the world to someone.
7. If not for you, someone may not be living.
8. You are special and unique.
9. Someone that you don’t even know exists loves you.
10. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes from it.
11. When you think the world has turned its back on you, take a look: you most likely turned your back on the world.
12. When you think you have no chance of getting what you want, you probably won’t get it, but if you believe in yourself, probably, sooner or later, you will get it.
13. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks.
14. Always tell someone how you feel about them; you will feel much better when they know.
15. If you have a great friend, take the time to let them know that they are great.

Jun 9, 2011

Little Rules of Life

Sing in the shower.
Treat everyone you meet like you want to be treated.
Watch a sunrise at least once a year.
Leave the toilet seat in the down position.
Never refuse homemade brownies.
Strive for excellence, not perfection.
Plant a tree on your birthday.
Learn 3 clean jokes.
Return borrowed vehicles with the gas tank full.
Compliment 3 people every day.
Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.
Leave everything a little better than you found it.
Keep it simple.
Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures.
Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
Floss your teeth.
Ask for a raise when you think you've earned it.
Overtip breakfast waitresses.
Be forgiving of yourself and others.
Say, "Thank you" a lot.
Say, "Please" a lot.
Avoid negative people.
Buy whatever kids are selling on card tables in their front yards.
Wear polished shoes.
Remember other people's birthdays.
Commit yourself to constant improvement.
Carry jumper cables in your truck.
Have a firm handshake.
Send lots of Valentine cards.
Sign them, "Someone who thinks you're terrific."
Look people in the eye.
Be the first to say hello.
Use the good silver.
Return all things you borrow.
Make new friends, but cherish the old ones.
Keep a few secrets.
Sing in a choir.
Plant flowers every spring.
Have a dog.
Always accept an outstretched hand.
Stop blaming others.
Take responsibility for every area of your life.
Wave at kids on school busses.
Be there when people need you.
Feed a stranger's expired parking meter.
Don't expect life to be fair.
Never underestimate the power of love.
Drink champagne for no reason at all.
Live your life as an exclamation, not an explanation.
Don't be afraid to say, "I made a mistake."
Don't be afraid to say, "I don't know."
Compliment even small improvements.
Keep your promises no matter what.
Marry for love.
Rekindle old friendships.
Count your blessings.
Call your mother.

by H. Jackson Brown Jr.