Friday, November 21, 2008

10 Things Science Says Will Make You Happy

A cool article from the good folks at Yes! Magazine. I'm sure this list would make Martin Seligman and the other positive psychology people very happy.
10 Things Science Says Will Make You Happy
by Jen Angel

Winter 2009: Sustainable Happiness

In the last few years, psychologists and researchers have been digging up hard data on a question previously left to philosophers: What makes us happy? Researchers like the father-son team Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener, Stanford psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky, and ethicist Stephen Post have studied people all over the world to find out how things like money, attitude, culture, memory, health, altruism, and our day-to-day habits affect our well-being. The emerging field of positive psychology is bursting with new findings that suggest your actions can have a significant effect on your happiness and satisfaction with life. Here are 10 scientifically proven strategies for getting happy.

Savor Everyday Moments

Pause now and then to smell a rose or watch children at play. Study participants who took time to “savor” ordinary events that they normally hurried through, or to think back on pleasant moments from their day, “showed significant increases in happiness and reductions in depression,” says psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky.

Avoid Comparisons

While keeping up with the Joneses is part of American culture, comparing ourselves with others can be damaging to happiness and self-esteem. Instead of comparing ourselves to others, focusing on our own personal achievement leads to greater satisfaction, according to Lyubomirsky.

Put Money Low on the List

People who put money high on their priority list are more at risk for depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem, according to researchers Tim Kasser and Richard Ryan. Their findings hold true across nations and cultures. “The more we seek satisfactions in material goods, the less we find them there,” Ryan says. “The satisfaction has a short half-life—it’s very fleeting.” Money-seekers also score lower on tests of vitality and self-actualization.

Go to their site to see the other seven and to read some good article.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Yo, Bill:

An interesting article yesterday/today in tells us what happy people do and don't do.

Happy people "spend a lot of time socializing, going to church and reading newspapers," and they don't "spend a lot of time watching television." This, according to a "study, which appeared in the journal Social Indicators Research."

Of course, it is not necessarily the case that emulating happy people will make one happy. It may be that being happy, naturally, or becoming happy in the ways your post suggests, tends to skew what activities people engage in.

AND, it may be the case that people who engage in certain activities tend to present themselves as happy (when, really, perhaps, they are not, so much).

Happiness is an interesting topic I am happy to read about, in part because I sure could use some of that stuff. [Woe. If only they could bottle it in non-alcoholic form.]