Happy research

My favorite happiness guru, Eric Barker, has a new post along the same old lines.  But this one has a couple of really fascinating tidbits:

We all want others to support us. And people are more likely to be optimistic about your success when you’re optimistic about it, too.

From The Simple Secrets for Becoming Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise:

People were five times more likely to be optimistic about another person’s goals if they thought the person was optimistic himself or herself. Less significant factors included the person’s personal experiences and the overall likelihood of the outcome. (Werneck De Almeida 1999)

 

Spending too much time on the information superhighway kills happiness as much as being stuck in traffic on a not-so-super highway.

From The Simple Secrets for Becoming Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise:

Recurring long periods of personal Internet use were associated with 28 percent lower life satisfaction. (Green et al. 2005)

Here’s a somewhat condensed version of the whole thing, which is worth a read:

What do you need to do to be happy? What attitude should you take toward life? How can you reduce stress and be gritty? What makes for a loving relationship?

1) Sappy Means Happy

A lot of the advice on being happier is sappy. But science says that sappy stuff works. It may produce eye-rolling, but it actually does produce smiles as well.

“Take the time to appreciate something beautiful” sounds like the slogan you’d see on a mug you’d quickly shove to the back of the cupboard. But it also produces a 12% boost in life satisfaction.

From The Simple Secrets for Becoming Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise:

Those who said they regularly took notice of something beautiful were 12 percent more likely to say they were satisfied with their lives. (Isaacowitz, Vaillant, and Seligman 2003).

…Watching cat and puppy videos online gets a lot of flack. But animals do make us happier. And people with a pet they love are 22% more satisfied with their lives.

From The Simple Secrets for Becoming Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise:

Interaction with animals supplies us with both immediate joy and long-term positive feelings, and contributes strongly to our happiness. Those with a loved pet are 22 percent more likely to feel satisfied with their lives. (Barofsky and Rowan 1998)

… 

2) Optimism

If you don’t have a very good reason to focus on the negative, think positive. You’ll be almost 30% more likely to feel happy.

From The Simple Secrets for Becoming Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise:

People with a tendency to see things optimistically were 29 percent more likely to feel a sense of well-being. (Lounsbury et al. 2003)

…We all want others to support us. And people are more likely to be optimistic about your success when you’re optimistic about it, too.

From The Simple Secrets for Becoming Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise:

People were five times more likely to be optimistic about another person’s goals if they thought the person was optimistic himself or herself. Less significant factors included the person’s personal experiences and the overall likelihood of the outcome. (Werneck De Almeida 1999)

3) Control

How does “66% more likely to be happy” sound to you? Okay, then you want a feeling of control over your life.

From The Simple Secrets for Becoming Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise:

People with a sense of control in their lives, in both career and relationship, were 66 percent more likely to report feeling happy and satisfied. (Chou and Chi 2001)

Feeling in control is the antidote to stress. And the good news is, you don’t have to be in control, you just have to feel in control.

From The Simple Secrets for Becoming Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise:

Researchers gave participants a skill test and exposed them to a loud, distracting sound. Those who were told the sound would go away if they succeeded on the test showed significantly fewer ill effects of the stressful situation than those who were told the sound would continue regardless of what they did. Researchers concluded that a sense of control calmed the first group, even though neither group really had any control over the process. (Pennsylvania State University 2002b)

4) Communicate

Sharing your innermost thoughts with a partner is associated with a 62% greater likelihood of a happy marriage.

From The Simple Secrets for Becoming Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise:

In studies of marriages of various lengths, couples with a high degree of intimacy between the spouses— that is, couples who shared their innermost thoughts— were 62 percent more likely to describe their marriage as happy. (Pallen 2001)

Unspoken expectations of your partner leads to screaming matches.

From The Simple Secrets for Becoming Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise:

Research on marriages with high levels of conflict finds that more than half of the couples in these marriages have disputes involving the failure of one or both partners to conform to unspoken expectations. (Philpot 2001)

…And what’s holding you back from earth-shattering joy right now? Oh, that one’s easy…

You’re on the internet. Spending too much time on the information superhighway kills happiness as much as being stuck in traffic on a not-so-super highway.

From The Simple Secrets for Becoming Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise:

Recurring long periods of personal Internet use were associated with 28 percent lower life satisfaction. (Green et al. 2005)

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