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The Science Behind the Smile

https://hbr.org/2012/01/the-science-behind-the-smile

hbr.org

The Science Behind the Smile
Artwork: Yue Minjun, Untitled, 2005, oil on canvas, 100 x 80 cm Harvard psychology professor Daniel Gilbert is widely known for his 2006 best seller, Stumbling on Happiness. His work reveals, among other things, the systematic mistakes we all make in imagining how happy (or miserable) we’ll be. In this edited interview with HBR’s Gardiner […]

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True Happiness: The Science Of The Smile

True Happiness: The Science Of The Smile

‘How are you?’is maybe the world’s most common greeting question and we all ask it as a way to see how happy or unhappy the other person is.

The nature of human happiness has gained traction in the last few decades with psychologists, economists and neuroscientists now interested in studying emotions, specifically happiness. Even many countries are now looking at measuring the ‘happiness index’ of their population.

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Measuring Happiness

Measuring happiness, which is a highly subjective emotion, is akin to getting your eye tested through the various lenses for your correct eye prescription number.

Measuring something as subjective as happiness can still provide usable results through the process of asking a critical mass of people so that any subjective inaccuracies cancel themselves out.

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The Paradoxical Game Of Happiness

  • People are always pushing towards finding happiness in whatever circumstances that are thrust upon them.
  • Happiness and unhappiness both promote creativity, though of a different quality.
  • Employees who have challenging but not impossible goals appear to be happy and productive, with high engagement levels and a sense of purpose.
  • Contented employees which are too much into their comfort zones aren’t as creative as those who are a bit uncomfortable and have healthy levels of stress.

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The Findings Of Happiness Research

  • People in good romantic relationships are happier than loners.
  • Healthy people are happier than those who are sick.
  • Religious people are happier than atheists.
  • Rich people are happier than the poor.
  • A new house, a new car, or even a new spouse only provides temporary happiness.
  • People are extremely poor in predicting what will make them happy or unhappy.
  • Many events like winning or losing a contest, exam, or promotion have the opposite impact on the individual.
  • Most good or bad experiences subside within three months or less.
  • Most people are resilient and have a natural tendency to bounce back after a setback.

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Real Happiness

  • Social beings with a great network are exponentially happier than lonely people.
  • The intensity of one’s positive experience is not as important as their frequency.
  • Small things of joy, like wearing comfortable shoes, giving a lovely kiss to your wife, sneakingly eating something desirable contributes to our overall happiness.

Simple behaviours like meditating, sleeping well, helping others, practicing minimalism, journaling and being grateful for what you have, can increase our happiness significantly.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Happy people are responsible

  • They don't hold on to grudges. Forgiving and forgetting is absolutely necessary.
  • They don't make excuses. They use failure as an opportunity to change for the better.

Happy people are well rounded people

  • They savor the moment. They "stop to smell the roses".
  • They're busy, but not rushed. A healthy work-life balance is key.
  •  They don't sweat the small stuff. They focus only of what is important and within their control.

Happy people invest in their relationships

  • They spend money on others. One reason is that it creates social connections.
  • They celebrate other people's success through "active and constructive" responding.
  • They treat everyone with respect and kindness. Kindness, like happiness, is contagious.
  • They're proactive about relationships. They work on maintaining their relationships.
  • They express gratitude. It improves mood and energy and decreases anxiety.
  • They engage in deep, meaningful conversations.

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10 Behaviors for Happiness

  1. Let go of the need for specific outcomes
  2. Define your own success and happiness
  3. Fully commit to the things that make you happ...

Money And Happiness

The debate about how material belongings can get in the way of our happiness dates back hundreds of years:

  • The Buddha talked about a balance between asceticism and pleasure.

The Hedonic Treadmill

The things we buy might make us happy in the moment, but that feeling fades away over time. This phenomenon is called the “hedonic treadmill."

We get used to things that we have, and when new, more attractive things catch our eye, we feel like we need to keep getting more stuff to maintain those feelings.

Money: Happiness Vs Misery

  • Happiness is a really difficult topic to study, because it’s subjective, unstable, and intangible.
  • Affluence has a certain impact on our well-being when it comes to satisfying our basic needs and standard of living, but in general, research shows that it is a weak predictor of happiness.
  • Researchers agree on is this: there are ways to spend our money that are more likely to elicit joy.