Don’t Wish for Happiness. Work for It

In his 1851 work American Notebooks, Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote, “Happiness in this world, when it comes, comes incidentally. Make it the object of pursuit, and it leads us a wild-goose chase, and is never attained.” This is basically a restatement of the Stoic philosophers’ “paradox of happiness”: To attain happiness, we must not try to attain it.

A number of scholars have set out to test this claim. For example, researchers writing in the journal Emotion in 2011 found that valuing happiness was associated with lower moods, less well-being, and more depressive symptoms under conditions of low life stress. At first, this would seem to support the happiness paradox—that thinking about it makes it harder to get. But there are alternative explanations. For example, unhappy people might say they “value happiness” more than those who already possess it, just as hungry people value food more than those who are full.

More to the point, wishing you were happier does not mean that you are working to improve your happiness. Think of your friend who complains about her job every day but never tries to find a new one. No doubt she wishes she were happier—but for whatever reason, she doesn’t do the work to improve her circumstances. This is not evidence that she can’t become happier, or that her wishes are bringing her down.

In truth, happiness requires effort, not just desire. Focusing on your dissatisfaction and wishing things were different in your life is a recipe for unhappiness if you don’t take action to put yourself on a better path. But if you make an effort to understand human happiness, formulate a plan to apply what you learn to your life, execute on it, and share what you learn with others, happiness will almost surely follow.

In contrast, self-awareness—to be attentive to our own thinking processes—leads to new knowledge and breakthroughs. One recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that self-awareness allows us to recognize emotional cues and distractions and to redirect our minds in productive ways. In essence, studying your own mind and pondering ways to improve your happiness takes inchoate anxieties and mental meandering and transforms them into real plans for life improvement.

Rumination is to be stuck; self-reflection is to seek to be unstuck. The trick, of course, is telling the difference. Say you have just experienced a breakup. If you go over the painful circumstances again and again, like watching a looped video for hours and days, this is rumination. To break out of the cycle and begin the process of self-reflection, you’d have to follow the painful memory with insightful questions. For example: “Is this a recurring pattern in my life? If so, why?” “If I could do it over again, what would I do differently?” “What can I read to help inform me more about what I have just experienced and use it constructively?”

Self-reflection moves feelings of unhappiness from our reactive brains to our executive brains, where we can manage them through concrete action. The action itself is crucial. There is an old joke about a man who asks God every day to let him win the lottery. After many years of this prayer, he finally gets an answer from heaven: “Do me a favor,” says God. “Buy a ticket.” If you want happiness, reflecting on why you don’t have it and seeking information on how to attain it is a good start. But if you don’t use that information, you’re not buying a ticket.

Easier said than done, I realize. When we are happy, we are primed for action; unhappiness often makes us want to cocoon. The way to fight this is to do the opposite of what you want to do: When you’re unhappy, don’t curl up and watch a sad movie. Exercise, call a friend in need, and read up on happiness instead. You will be reprogrammed for action.

Once you’ve reflected (not ruminated), learned, taken action, and reaped the happy rewards, it’s time to make sure the benefits are not temporary—that you don’t fall back into simply wishing. The key is sharing your new knowledge with other people.

Teaching arithmetic problems to others has been shown to improve people’s ability to solve them, and in my experience, the same is true for the study of happiness: Sharing knowledge cements it in your own mind. One of the most important assignments I give my graduate students is for them to talk about the science and art of happiness at every party they go to. This ensures that they have the ideas clear enough in their heads to explain them to others. (It also makes them more popular.)

Further, when we share knowledge about how to become happier, we persuade ourselves every bit as much as we do others. It is a well-known phenomenon in psychology that asking people to argue in favor of something can be a great way to get them to believe it. Sharing the secrets to happiness will also make you happier, because doing so is an act of love. And as we have all learned, love is generative: The more you give it, the more of it you get.

I tremble at the thought of contradicting Hawthorne and the Stoics. But it is not true that pursuing happiness must lead to a “wild-goose chase,” or that thinking about happiness makes it more elusive. Like everything else in life that is worthwhile, pursuing happiness requires intellectual energy and real effort. You simply have to do the work. The good news is that the work will be joyful, and the results quite wonderful.

By: Arthur C. Brooks
Arthur C. Brooks is a contributing writer at The Atlantic, the William Henry Bloomberg professor of the practice of public leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School, a professor of management practice at the Harvard Business School, and host of the podcast The Art of Happiness With Arthur Brooks.

Source: How to Have a Happiness Breakthrough – The Atlantic

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Related Links:

At What Age Are People Usually Happiest? New Research Offers Surprising Clues

If you could be one age for the rest of your life, what would it be? Would you choose to be nine years old, absolved of life’s most tedious responsibilities, and instead able to spend your days playing with friends and practicing your times tables?

Or would you choose your early 20s, when time feels endless and the world is your oyster – with friends, travel, pubs and clubs beckoning? Western culture idealizes youth, so it may come as a surprise to learn that in a recent poll asking this question, the most popular answer wasn’t 9 or 23, but 36.

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Yet as a developmental psychologist, I thought that response made a lot of sense. For the last four years, I’ve been studying people’s experiences of their 30s and early 40s, and my research has led me to believe that this stage of life – while full of challenges – is much more rewarding than most might think.

The career and care crunch

When I was a researcher in my late 30s, I wanted to read more about the age period I was in. That was when I realized that no one was doing research on people in their 30s and early 40s, which puzzled me. So much often happens during this time: Buying homes, getting married or getting divorced; building careers, changing careers, having children or choosing not to have children.

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“Can you guess? When you ask people when they were the happiest, chances are they get nostalgic and reflect back to their childhood. After all, that’s when we were living free of all responsibilities — I mean really, bills? What the hell are those? Not to mention, other people were tending to our needs while our only “job” was to play, learn, then nap (all on repeat). But shockingly, data has proven popular opinion to be inaccurate, showing that our happiness tends to grow as we get older!

Read more here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04… Cenk Uygur (http://www.twitter.com/cenkuygur) and Ana Kasparian (http://www.twitter.com/AnaKasparian) break it down on The Young Turks.

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To study something, it helps to name it. So my colleagues and I named the period from ages 30 to 45 “established adulthood,” and then set out to try to understand it better. While we are still collecting data, we have currently interviewed over 100 people in this age cohort, and have collected survey data from more than 600 additional people.

We went into this large-scale project expecting to find that established adults were happy but struggling. We thought there would be rewards during this period of life – perhaps being settled in career, family and friendships, or peaking physically and cognitively – but also some significant challenges.

The main challenge we anticipated was what we called “the career and care crunch.”

This refers to the collision of workplace demands and demands of caring for others that takes place in your 30s and early 40s. Trying to climb a ladder in a chosen career while also being increasingly expected to care for kids, tend to the needs of partners and perhaps care for aging parents can create a lot of stress and work.

Yet when we started to look at our data, what we found surprised us.

Yes, people were feeling overwhelmed and talked about having too much to do in too little time. But they also talked about feeling profoundly satisfied. All of these things that were bringing them stress were also bringing them joy.

For example, Yuying, 44, said “even though there are complicated points of this time period, I feel very solidly happy in this space right now.” Nina, 39, simply described herself as being “wildly happy.” (The names used in this piece are pseudonyms, as required by research protocol.)

When we took an even closer look at our data, it started to become clear why people might wish to remain age 36 over any other age. People talked about being in the prime of their lives and feeling at their peak. After years of working to develop careers and relationships, people reported feeling as though they had finally arrived.

Mark, 36, shared that, at least for him, “things feel more in place.” “I’ve put together a machine that’s finally got all the parts it needs,” he said.

A sigh of relief after the tumultuous 20s

As well as feeling as though they had accumulated the careers, relationships and general life skills they had been working toward since their 20s, people also said they had greater self-confidence and understood themselves better.

Jodie, 36, appreciated the wisdom she had gained as she reflected on life beyond her 20s:

“Now you’ve got a solid decade of life experience. And what you discover about yourself in your 20s isn’t necessarily that what you wanted was wrong. It’s just you have the opportunity to figure out what you don’t want and what’s not going to work for you. … So you go into your 30s, and you don’t waste a bunch of time going on half dozen dates with somebody that’s probably not really going to work out, because you’ve dated before and you have that confidence and that self-assuredness to be like, ‘hey, thanks but no thanks.’ Your friend circle becomes a lot closer because you weed out the people that you just don’t need in your life that bring drama.”

Most established adults we interviewed seemed to recognize that they were happier in their 30s than they were in their 20s, and this impacted how they thought about some of the signs of physical aging that they were starting to encounter. For example, Lisa, 37, said, “If I could go back physically but I had to also go back emotionally and mentally … no way. I would take flabby skin lines every day.”

Not ideal for everyone

Our research should be viewed with some caveats.

The interviews were primarily conducted with middle-class North Americans, and many of the participants are white. For those who are working class, or for those who have had to reckon with decades of systemic racism, established adulthood may not be so rosy.

It is also worth noting that the career and care crunch has been exacerbated, especially for women, by the COVID-19 pandemic. For this reason, the pandemic may be leading to a decrease in life satisfaction, especially for established adults who are parents trying to navigate full-time careers and full-time child care.

[You’re smart and curious about the world. So are The Conversation’s authors and editors. You can get our highlights each weekend.]

At the same time, that people think of their 30s – and not their 20s or their teens – as the sweet spot in their lives to which they’d like to return suggests that this is a period of life that we should pay more attention to.

And this is slowly happening. Along with my own work is an excellent book recently written by Kayleen Shaefer, “But You’re Still So Young,” that explores people navigating their 30s. In her book she tells stories of changing career paths, navigating relationships and dealing with fertility.

My colleagues and I hope that our work and Shaefer’s book are just the beginning. Having a better understanding of the challenges and rewards of established adulthood will give society more tools to support people during that period, ensuring that this golden age provides not only memories that we will fondly look back upon, but also a solid foundation for the rest of our lives.

 

By:

Source: At what age are people usually happiest? New research offers surprising clues

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Related Links:

  1. Quill’s blog

    You’re already here, so why not stay a while? My fellow contributors have great perspectives and tips on everything from developing a more efficient workflow to working toward a healthy lifestyle. A few of my favorite posts include tips on how to build the perfect break room, the right way to celebrate birthdays in the office, finding a balance between work and travel, and adding a little fun to the work day with weekly or monthly contests.

  2. Happsters.com

    These weekly happiness challenges are so fun and easy to take part in, and new quotes and shareable images are posted often. I’m always inspired when I see one of these posts appear in my feed or when I pull it up on any given morning.

    9 Happy Facts That Will Make You Smile is a great place to start, too. It sort of reminds me of this daily desktop calendar that has fun facts and graphics.

  3. GrowingBolder.com

    Full disclosure: I work for Growing Bolder as an Executive Producer. My job is to find inspirational stories, people and events and share them with you. Seriously, I get paid to find awesome stuff.

    We shine the spotlight on people who are making a difference, surviving disease and thriving in the aftermath – and proving that it’s not about age but attitude.

  4. GretchenRubin.com

    Gretchen Rubin is the author of The Happiness Project. She has so many great ways to look at life – even the bad days – and find reasons to stay hopeful.

    Don’t be afraid to look for small things. Sometimes we get so overwhelmed at big moments and projects that we forget that something as simple as brightly colored sticky notes or a family photo in a beautiful frame. They’re small things, but they’re also bright spots worth taking a moment to appreciate.

  5. Calm.com

    Sometimes you just need to have some “ommmmm” in your life, right? Calm.com is a mindfulness app, but even if you don’t download it, you can just go to the homepage and see beautiful photos and listen to the sounds of nature.

    Take some time to meditate (bonus points if you brew up some green tea to make the experience even more immersive) and then get back to work. I promise, you’ll feel energized and more focused.

  6. CuteRoulette.com

    Who doesn’t love puppies and hedgehogs? Cute Roulette allows you to click one button and watch a rotating cast of animals – from fluffy to fierce – and have a brief moment of pure happiness. (Speaking of puppies, I must order this dog print for my home office. I love the colors!)

    Also, I have to give Cute Overload a bonus mention. While it is no longer updated, the archives are still available and provide so many reasons to smile.

  7. Happier.com

    This website says its mission is to “celebrate the good around you”, and it even features some scientific reasons that getting happy makes you a better and more efficient person!

    Following the “look around you” theme, remember that kind words and appreciation go a long way. Why not find a coworker or office colleague and give them a handwritten thank-you card for something awesome they’ve done recently? It only takes a moment and it will make both of you feel more cheery.

  8. 1000AwesomeThings.com

    Neil Pasricha started his website while going through an enormously difficult time in his personal life. He just wanted to find and document the things that made him smile. That led to 1,000 straight days of posts, a best-selling book and a movement that helped people around the world find some awesome!

    You can still read all of his items and I highly recommend using this as an inspiration to start your own list (this simple notebook is a great one to keep handy for your daily notes.)

  9. StoryCorps.org

    I have been listening to StoryCorps for years and it always makes me laugh, cry and think. The sad stories make me appreciate my life and the funny stories lighten any bad mood.

    I think it would make for a great lunchtime group listening session, but if your colleagues prefer a quieter environment, plug in your headphones and immerse yourself in inspiration.

 

 

For Happiness In Tough Times, Be More Grateful

Young beautiful African American afro woman with curly hair wearing casual sweater smiling with hands on chest with closed eyes and grateful gesture on face.

These uplifting findings offer routes to business success, as well as individual well being. If we accept gratitude increases happiness, we also know joyful people are more curious, creative, and resilient. Great qualities to possess in a challenging and disrupted post-pandemic world.

Turning Up The Happiness Dial 

The evidence is relatively new. However, great thinkers have long identified gratitude as a desirable trait of an emotionally mature mind. The Roman statesman Marcus Cicero described it as the greatest virtue – and a parent to all the other beneficial qualities. The eighteenth-century philosopher David Hume called ingratitude “the most horrible and unnatural crime that a person is capable of committing”.

In King Lear, Shakespeare has his eponymous hero angrily accuse his ungrateful daughter Goneril of being a “marble-hearted fiend”. No surprise that most of us have parents who insisted on “thank yous” like marine corps drill instructors.

Psychologists call your personal level of day-to-day happiness your “set point”. We all inherit an individual benchmark for cheerfulness rooted in our genes and upbringing. It’s long been argued that this setting is stubbornly stable over time. Research shows, whether you win the lottery, or are paralyzed from the neck down, you tend to gravitate back to your set point after three to six months.

If you doubt this, next time you board a flight (those times are returning), glance at the faces of people sitting in the comfy business class seats. Do they look any more contented? Mostly, you’ll find their faces reveal the same level of happiness as the less fortunate trudging towards coach.

Positive Psychology researchers now suggest certain habits can shift your happiness set point in the right direction. There’s a healthy debate about how big the effect can be. However, one point has been agreed upon. Gratitude is one of the few intentional human emotions which has a sustainable impact. Here are three simple, but powerful ways, to move your happiness dial upwards, and keep it there.

1. Count Your Blessings  

Writing down three new things that you’re grateful for starts to change the physical structure of your brain. Researchers have shown the impact builds after about three weeks of this daily activity. American psychologist Sean Anchor, the author of The Happiness Advantage, said: “…at the end of that, their brain starts to retain a pattern of scanning the world not for the negative, but for the positive first.”

2. Send a Grateful Email 

Another route is to consciously express gratitude to the people in your life. In my leadership programs, we ask participants to pick three people and write a short story about them in the form of an email. The idea is to describe a time when that person helped.

Professor Dan Cable, the author of Exceptional: Build Your Personal Highlight Reel and Unlock Your Potential, advises: “It’s important that the email story has a beginning, middle, and an end. I encourage people to include gritty, specific elements of the event which helps the person receiving the email to relive the memory when they read it.”

When senior executives pluck up the courage to write their emails, Dan and I find a wonderfully rewarding dynamic plays out. Within hours or days, the managers often get an email back. They receive a similarly grateful story in return from their delighted friend, colleague, or family member.

If you are nervous about sharing a grateful story, there is a fascinating facet of the research that is encouraging. It turns out it’s worth writing the story even if you don’t subsequently press send on the email. The evidence shows that people who create the narratives but decide to keep them to themselves, still enjoy the uplifting benefits. Although, of course, their friends do not.

This habit of being more explicitly grateful in writing or face-to-face has a snowball effect. Researchers found the improvements in mental health increase after 12 weeks of the habit. This is exciting because the mental health benefits of other positive activities often decrease over time.

3. Meditate, Gratefully   

Coronavirus has transformed mindfulness – the ability to focus on the present moment without judgment – from a management fad into an essential business tool. It’s possible to inject gratitude into this powerful approach by concentrating on what you are currently thankful for: the warmth of the sun, a great book you’re reading, or a special person in your life.

Happiness has come into sharp focus in the teeth of the pandemic. The results in a recent global Gallup survey were counterintuitive. Average happiness across 95 countries has crept up when compared to three years before Coronavirus struck. Even more surprising, Covid-19 has increased the happiness of older people more than any other group. This despite the risk of death being far higher. On average, the elderly are more cheerful while the young are more miserable.

The explanation is gratitude. Last month, The Economist put it this way: “Old people probably are not actually healthier. Rather, Covid-19 has changed the yardstick. They feel healthier because they have dodged a disease that could kill them.”

The scientific research into gratitude now supports the diversionary tactics my wife and I used with our young sons. For two tired, working parents, The Grateful Game started dinner on a positive footing and crowded out bad behavior. We found it easier to divert their attention to something positive, rather than endlessly saying “no” to negative behavior.

The same trick works for all of us. Being grateful shifts your attention away from toxic emotions and towards something more uplifting. Do it for long enough, and it permanently rewires your brain to be a happier person. And, for that, we can all be very grateful.

I am an award-winning business author, global executive educator and Programme Director at London Business School. My most recent book ‘The Human Edge, how curiosity and creativity are your superpowers in the digital economy’ (Pearson) was named as the Business Book of The Year 2020. I’ve led leadership development programmes for global clients in industries including advertising, automotive, consumer goods, banking & insurance, manufacturing, media, recruitment and technology.  I’ve shared my insights into building creative leadership and innovative teams in more than 400 virtual and face-to-face talks to executive audiences around the world. Previously, I’ve been a successful entrepreneur, the founding CEO of London Business School’s Centre for Creative Business and a national TV journalist with the BBC and ITV.

Source: For Happiness In Tough Times, Be More Grateful

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There Are Two Types of Happiness & We’re Chasing The Wrong One

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We’re always chasing something—be it a promotion, a new car, or a significant other. This leads to the belief that, “When (blank) happens, I’ll finally be happy.”

While these major events do make us happy at first, research shows this happiness doesn’t last. A study from Northwestern University measured the happiness levels of regular people against those who had won large lottery prizes the year prior. The researchers were surprised to discover that the happiness ratings of both groups were practically identical.

The mistaken notion that major life events dictate your happiness and sadness is so prevalent that psychologists have a name for it: impact bias. The reality is, event-based happiness is fleeting.

Happiness is synthetic—you either create it, or you don’t. Happiness that lasts is earned through your habits. Supremely happy people have honed habits that maintain their happiness day in, day out. Try out their habits, and see what they do for you:

1. They slow down to appreciate life’s little pleasures

By nature, we fall into routines. In some ways, this is a good thing. It saves precious brainpower and creates comfort. However, sometimes you get so caught up in your routine that you fail to appreciate the little things in life. Happy people know how important it is to savor the taste of their meal, revel in the amazing conversation they just had, or even just step outside to take a deep breath of fresh air.

2. They exercise

Getting your body moving for as little as ten minutes releases GABA, a neurotransmitter that makes your brain feel soothed and keeps you in control of your impulses. Happy people schedule regular exercise and follow through on it because they know it pays huge dividends for their mood.

3. They spend money on other people

Research shows that spending money on other people makes you much happier than spending it on yourself. This is especially true of small things that demonstrate effort, such as going out of your way to buy your friend a book that you know they will like.

4. They surround themselves with the right people

Happiness spreads through people. Surrounding yourself with happy people builds confidence, stimulates creativity, and it’s flat-out fun. Hanging around negative people has the opposite effect. They want people to join their pity party so that they can feel better about themselves. Think of it this way: If a person were smoking, would you sit there all afternoon inhaling the second-hand smoke? You’d distance yourself, and you should do the same with negative people.

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5. They stay positive

Bad things happen to everyone, including happy people. Instead of complaining about how things could have been or should have been, happy people reflect on everything they’re grateful for. Then they find the best solution available to the problem, tackle it, and move on. Nothing fuels unhappiness quite like pessimism. The problem with a pessimistic attitude, apart from the damage it does to your mood, is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: if you expect bad things, you’re more likely to experience negative events. Pessimistic thoughts are hard to shake off until you recognize how illogical they are. Force yourself to look at the facts, and you’ll see that things are not nearly as bad as they seem.

6. They get enough sleep

I’ve beaten this one to death over the years and can’t say enough about the importance of sleep for improving your mood, focus, and self-control. When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, removing toxic proteins that accumulate during the day as byproducts of normal neuronal activity. This ensures that you wake up alert and clear-headed. Your energy, attention, and memory are all reduced when you don’t get enough quality sleep. Sleep deprivation also raises stress hormone levels on its own, even without a stressor present. Happy people make sleep a priority, because it makes them feel great and they know how lousy they feel when they’re sleep deprived.

7. They have deep conversations

Happy people know that happiness and substance go hand-in-hand. They avoid gossip, small talk, and judging others. Instead they focus on meaningful interactions. They engage with other people on a deeper level, because they know that doing so feels good, builds an emotional connection, and is an interesting way to learn.

8. They help others

Taking the time to help people not only makes them happy, but it also makes you happy. In a Harvard study, employees who helped others were ten times more likely to be focused at work and 40% more likely to get a promotion. The same study showed that people who consistently provided social support were the most likely to be happy during times of high stress. As long as you make certain that you aren’t overcommitting yourself, helping others is sure to have a positive influence on your mood.

9. They make an effort to be happy

No one wakes up feeling happy every day and supremely happy people are no exception. They just work at it harder than everyone else. They know how easy it is to get sucked into a routine where you don’t monitor your emotions or actively try to be happy and positive. Happy people constantly evaluate their moods and make decisions with their happiness in mind.

10. They do things in person

Happy people only let technology do their talking when absolutely necessary. The human brain is wired for in-person interaction, so happy people will jump at the chance to drive across town to see a friend or meet face-to-face because it makes them feel good.

11. They have a growth mindset

People’s core attitudes fall into one of two categories: a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. With a fixed mindset, you believe you are who you are and you cannot change. This creates problems when you’re challenged, because anything that appears to be more than you can handle is bound to make you feel hopeless and overwhelmed.

People with a growth mindset believe that they can improve with effort. This makes them happier because they are better at handling difficulties. They also outperform those with a fixed mindset because they embrace challenges, treating them as opportunities to learn something new.

Happiness can be tough to maintain, but investing in the right habits pays off. Adopting even a few of the habits from this list will make a big difference in your mood.

This post was originally published on LinkedIn.

Dr. Travis Bradberry
Travis Bradberry is the co-author of the bestselling book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and co-founder of TalentSmart, which provides emotional intelligence tests and training to corporate clients.
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Especially for you, we’ve collected the 50 most amazing and happiest facts that will definitely make your day a little brighter. Always look at the bright side of life!
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An 81-year Harvard Study Says Staying Happy and Mentally Sharp Boils Down to 1 Thing

The pursuit of happiness. So many voices in the chorus telling us how to master it. There are psychology-based tricks to happiness, watch-outs for what kills happiness, even equations for happiness.

Despite all the sources of inspiration on the topic, it’s hard not to take notice of an authoritative, 81-year-long study conducted by the big brains at Harvard University. Known as the Harvard Study of Adult Development, it is one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies in history.

Started in 1938, the Harvard study has been seeking to answer one question: What keeps us happiest as we go through life? The research started by tracking the lives of 724 men. Any original study participants left are now in their 90s, so now the study is examining the lives of 2,000 children of these men. This just might go on longer than The Simpsons.

As psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, the study’s fourth director, said in a recent TED Talk, the core conclusion of the study is breathtakingly simple: “The clearest message is this: good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.”

Life is relationships.

The study also elaborates on the happy and healthy part. First, an unexpected health benefit of maintaining relationships throughout one’s life; it protects the brain and preserves memory longer. Knowing you have people you can count on when things get tough keeps the brain healthy and less anxiety-ridden, thus sharper.

And having social connections means you live a longer, happier life — but loneliness kills. People who are more isolated experience health declines sooner (including declines in brain functioning), are far less happy, and die sooner.

Waldinger points out that you can be lonely in a crowd or a marriage, so it’s also about the quality of relationships, not just the quantity.

But if maintaining relationships was easy, everyone would do it.

Here are some common things that get in the way of forging and fueling relationships, and how to overcome them.

The work of it never ends.

Relationships can be exhausting, but they have to be a priority. Period. Doubling down on the investment you make in those that matter to you will matter in the end. And as for those friends who do fade for whatever reason, it’s critical to keep plugging in new ones. Waldinger says, “Those happiest in retirement were people who’d actively worked to replace workmates with new playmates.”

Having left the corporate world for the life of an entrepreneur (where I’m no longer surrounded daily by friends), I can tell you that keeping up with friendships is some of my most important work now.

That thing not said.

My wife and I base the strength of our marriage on our communication. Nothing gets left unsaid. I have seen friendships, marriages, and all walks of relationships rot from the inside because of a lack of courage in communicating the hard things.

The hard things are hard. The easy things are easy. The former strengthens bonds, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. To overcome the fear of saying that hard thing, try this simple trick: think of it as a bee sting. It will hurt at the moment it’s happening. But it’s soothed immediately thereafter if you apply salve, in the form of empathy and deep listening. And then everyone can move on.

Family feuds.

Grudges do no one any good. Look in the dictionary under “Life’s too short” and you’ll find this. My dad was world-class at starting mystery fights with extended family members and holding grudges (and my mom even better at cleaning up behind him to keep the peace). It cost us a fair amount of potential family connectivity/joy.

Family-conflict expert Dr. Phil says the key to resolving family fights is to first recognize the impact the feud is having on the rest of the family, and then step up with a choice to forgive. Then get clear on what the disagreement is really about (sifting through emotions), seek to understand the others’ point of view, and extend an olive branch.

Work is only getting more intrusive.

Work-life integration has replaced work-life balance. We’ve never had more access to more distractions, devices, or demands. Integrating work into your life doesn’t mean it becomes your life. The integration part also means integrating with those you care about.

Strengthening relationships in the face of ever-increasing work demands involves redefining what success really is for you. In the end it’s a choice. I wish I had a more clever solve for you, but it really boils down to that. If success starts and ends with nurturing relationships, then everything else gets re-prioritized. You’ll find the things that go by the wayside to make room for relationships will soon seem trivial in comparison.

These researchers have been studying how to be happy for 81 years. Let’s learn from history to create a happier life, and one we can remember more clearly.

Scott MautzKeynote speaker and author, ‘Find the Fire’ and ‘Make It Matter’

Source: An 81-year Harvard Study Says Staying Happy and Mentally Sharp Boils Down to 1 Thing

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There are thousands of tips and psychological techniques to help you feel happy. But what if our own body had a say in the matter? Here are some findings from neuroscientists — the people who know exactly when and why your brain can give you the feeling of total satisfaction! Other videos you might like: 10 Facts About Brain Prove You’re Capable of Anything https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhnFL… 12 Smart Psychological Tips You’d Better Learn https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Szahr… 11 Military Hacks That’ll Make Your Life Easier https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frG12… TIMESTAMPS: Engage in pleasant expectations 0:42 Solve problems one at a time 1:17 Don’t keep things pent up: talk about what bothers you 1:50 Touch and embrace 2:29 Learn, learn, and, once again, learn! 3:12 Play sports 3:44 Always try to get a good sleep 4:40 Learn to say “Thank you” 5:16 SUMMARY: – The process of waiting for something nice, such as food or sex, is similar to the learned salivation response. Our brain experiences pleasure by simply anticipating the fun event. – For every right decision, our brain rewards itself with a dose of neurotransmitters that calm the limbic system and help us once again see the world in a better light. – Advisable not to keep your problems pent up. Whenever you talk about them, your brain triggers the production of serotonin and even manages to find some positive sides to the situation. – To us, humans, social interaction is important. Various forms of physical support, especially touch and embraces, can speed up a person’s recovery from an illness. – For the brain, acquiring new knowledge means permanent adaptation to a changing environment. Using this process, our brain develops, rewarding its own attempts to absorb and process new information with dopamine, the hormone of joy. – Physical activity is stress for the body. As soon as the stress ends, your body gets a reward: a dose of endorphins, released by the pituitary gland. – While we sleep in the dark, our body secretes the hormone melatonin. This hormone slows down all processes in the body, helping it to recover and increasing the level of serotonin in the hypothalamus. – When we say a person, or even fate, for something, we focus ourselves on the positive aspects of life. Pleasant memories trigger serotonin production in the anterior cingulate cortex. Subscribe to Bright Side : https://goo.gl/rQTJZz For copyright matters please contact us at: welcome@brightside.me —————————————————————————————- Our Social Media: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brightside/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brightgram/ 5-Minute Crafts Youtube: https://www.goo.gl/8JVmuC  —————————————————————————————- For more videos and articles visit: http://www.brightside.me/

Fruit, Veg & Family Life Why Spaniards Are Living Longer – Sam Jones

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The Mercado de Maravillas lives up to its name. Should you ever find yourself in Madrid and desperate to buy half a kilo of pigs’ ears, a pair of fluffy slippers, a whole beef heart, a poncho, a jar of Peruvian chilli sauce and a bottle of good, strong bleach all under one roof, the stallholders of the Market of Wonders will be happy to oblige. Its most life-enhancing marvels, however, may lie in the piles of neatly stacked fruit and vegetables, the bags of nuts and in the treasuries of fish reclining, dead-eyed but odourless, on beds of ice. Markets such as the Mercado de Maravillas – which have long flourished across Spain……..

Read more:https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/19/spaniards-living-longer-researchers-credit-diet-lifestyle-fruit-veg-family-life

 

 

 

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If You Want To Achieve Long Term Happiness, Embrace The Growth Mindset – Chris Myers

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Everyone seeks the fastest and easiest path to happiness. It’s what drives us as humans. Hoping for a silver bullet that will get us to that end goal, be it wealth, love, or fame. Only when that goal has been met, we reason, will we be happy. I’ve read every book and even written a few about this journey. However all, my own included, have left me unsatisfied. To help find the answer, I’ve surrounded myself with successful people. I’ve gotten to know the famous, the ultra-wealthy, and brilliant……..

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/chrismyers/2018/10/20/if-you-want-to-achieve-long-term-happiness-embrace-the-growth-mindset/#5878681530d3

Life Strategies – Designing Your Greatest Life 300+ Pieces of High Quality and Diverse Health Content

Shaping your life is a process that follows many principles, but ultimately, it is about taking the time to discover what you believe at your core and what you really want to achieve in life, then designing a plan to help you reach all your dreams. Life design strategy enables you to recognize your weaknesses and build from your strengths to form a foundation for a well-designed life that is purposefully crafted. When you start down this journey of shaping your life into the form of your greatest contentment, you’ll enjoy personal fulfillment and joy along with immeasurable accomplishments…….

Read more: https://internetslayers.com/specials/life-design-plr/

How To Accept Process & Learn From Failure – Chris Myers

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Take a close enough look at any life of note, and you’ll quickly discover a legacy of failure. However, it’s important to distinguish between failed experiments and failure in the Platonic ideal sense of the word. Experimental failure happens when you try something, and it doesn’t work the way you intended. We’ve all experienced this brand of failure before. Perhaps you once worked up the courage to ask someone out, and you were turned down. Or, maybe you launched a new product on the market only to be met with utter silence. Regardless of the form it takes, this kind of experimental failure hurts, but it still has a silver lining. These experiences enable us to learn from our mistakes, find new solutions, and grow as individuals……

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/chrismyers/2018/09/18/how-to-accept-process-and-learn-from-failure/#39c393479ff6

 

 

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18 Things You Need To Give Up To Become A High Achieving Person – Brianna Wiest

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A secret about success is that it is just as much about what you give up as what you gain. Are you willing to give up late nights out for late nights in working? Are you willing to turn a deaf ear to blind criticisms? Are you willing to listen to helpful ones? Are you going to be able to give up the doubt, the resistance, the uncertainty, the avoidance mechanisms? As Mastin Kipp says: Are you willing to live as other people won’t, so maybe you can live as other people can’t? High achieving people understand that the foundation of life is the white space – and that because our energy is limited each day, what we spend it on will define us in the future…….

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/briannawiest/2018/03/20/18-things-you-need-to-give-up-to-become-a-high-achieving-person/#7f172e1211fa

 

 

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