What Technology Can't Change About 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:
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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 genes with precise nanoscale technologies. These mood bots will travel inside us to a part of the brain and manually turn on genes to up or down our happiness set point. But, scientists assure us that we are more than biology and that a mood bot will not guarantee happy and satisfying lives.
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.
The most compelling evidence on the importance of relationships comes from a long term study that started in 1938. Selected college sophomores who seemed to be destined for success, were followed.
In 1967 the files were merged with the Glueck Study that followed a group of poor, non-delinquent white kids from Boston's inner city.
The most important finding from these studies: The quality of our relationships is the only thing that matters in our lives.
The quality of people's relationships is more important than we imagine.
Material success and psychological feelings of well-being are linked to good relationships. So is physical health.
Close relationships and connections keep you happy and healthy.
We live in an increasingly networked society online, but we struggle to connect with our relations around the dinner table. We sacrifice conversations close to us for a mere connection online.
The result is that we drive ourselves toward a lonely future.
Research has found that people who use different mediums, like talking on the phone, emailing each other and also seeing each other, tend to have stronger relationships with one another.
Even though technology might become more and more invasive, the reality is that the source of happiness will remain unaltered.
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The Happiness Pie Chart, first published in 2005, states that 50% of our happiness is defined by our genes, 40% by our activities and 10% by our life circumstances.
Ways to give yourself a happiness boost:
It drives us to engage in activities that we find more meaningful than those at hand. Without it, we’d be perpetually excited by everything.
Research shows that people who are bored...
When we’re consciously doing things we’re using the “executive attention network, ” the parts of the brain that control and inhibit our attention. The attention network makes it possible for us to relate directly to the world presently around us.
By contrast, when our minds wander, we activate the brain’s “default mode network, ” which is the brain “at rest”; not focused on an external, goal-oriented task. In this mode, we still tap about 95% of the energy we use when our brains are engaged in focused thinking.
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Being thankful and saying thanks to others is good for our health and happiness, and helps build trust.
Normally, the act of saying thanks is observed as a two-person exchange, the person ...
Studies show that people who witness the act of gratitude get affected positively towards the grateful person as well as the person who is being thanked (benefactor).
They see the grateful person as someone who is kind, and who notices when other people do kind things and takes the time to acknowledge them, making them socially desirable. People also warm up towards the person that is receiving the gratitude, as it is signaled as a person who is effective at being supportive or helpful.
Expressing more gratitude works, and more so if done in a demonstrative way, with a hug or flowers.
A sincere thanks benefit our social connections in the entire group or circle.