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How Technology Can Help Us Find Happiness

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https://bigthink.com/humanizing-technology/how-technology-can-help-us-find-happiness

bigthink.com

How Technology Can Help Us Find Happiness
What's the big idea? There is no shortage of online tools to help us research restaurants, track up-to-the-minute news and even plan out our zombie escape routes, yet there are very few tools that can help us research, track and plan our own happiness. One of the few that does exist is Happstr, an ...

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Map out your happy places

There are very few tools that can help us research, track and plan our own happiness. Online services now let users map out their happy places and discover where others have felt happy.

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The significance

People should be able to track their happiness in a similar way they track their fitness goals. 

Apps tracking happiness effectively served as a glorified research project. The conclu...

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Not just a feeling

Happiness isn't just a feeling that should be left entirely to chance. There are specific factors that influence your happiness, which can be easily tracked with the right tools.

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Measuring happiness

Measuring happiness

Academically speaking, happiness cannot be measured. It is really a mix of health, emotions, the way you evaluate your life, and the extent to which you live out your values.

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The happiness portfolio

Happiness can be thought of as a retirement portfolio. You want it balanced with short and long term investments.

Those in pursuit of purpose miss that there is value in the sum of positive emotions we experience every day. If you're only goal-oriented, you forgo today's joy for a perceived better future. But, chasing tomorrow might not give you the happiness you desire.

Optimizing your environment for happiness

You can do several things to enjoy your life day-to-day. Positive psychology techniques of gratitude is generally a short-term solution.

More importantly is to optimize your environment so you're more likely to be happy long term.

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"Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking."

Marcus Aurelius

Where Happiness Comes From

Phenomena that happen outside of us don’t cause happiness. They might be correlated with happiness but it’s not a cause-and-effect relationship. 

The most important part is what happens in our brain between the external event (a good cup of coffee) and our state of happiness.

"We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have."

"We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have."

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Human nature is more than biology

The level of happiness is part of our genetic makeup - we have a set level and cannot rise above or fall below it.

Some scientists envision the day that we can manipulate our happiness ge...

Quantifying happiness

Happiness has always been difficult to quantify because it is subjective, depending on if you have a short- or a long-term outlook on life. Recently, researchers have started to distinguish between two types of happiness: 

  • Hedonic happiness that provides a mental high;
  • Eudaimonic happiness, a sense of well-being which involves a life well-lived.

The staples of happiness

People will always be happy when they see their children prosper when they feel loved, secure, and well-fed.

But, this formula for happiness is so obvious that most people dismiss it. They would rather look for a secret ingredient. The answer is that there is no secret.

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