Too wrapped up in future plans

Especially in uncertain times, being too wrapped up in future plans and pleasures does not always bring happiness.

  • If you find that the thoughts you’re having about the future are not productive, anchoring yourself in the moment can be a good thing.
  • Inject life with small, short-term sources of happy anticipation. You can still anticipate positive events, but you may have to scale it back ( for example, plan a cocktail-hour call with a good friend in the following weekend).
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Self Improvement

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The sources of human happiness

Much of life's bliss is enveloped in expectation, in looking forward to something new. But as soon as that new something happens, we often turn our thoughts ahead to the next expected joy or novelty.

“Having things to look forward to is a major coping strategy. It helps us recover and adapt to stressors.”

This ability is what separates us from most animals.

Our frontal lobe is the one that helps us anticipate and make decisions, and that certainly is a higher-level function. Opposed to this is the emotional part of the brain (the “more primitive” lower brain) which at times can clash with and overwhelm the deliberative brain.

The human brain can concentrate only on a couple things at a time. So, when we have positive anticipatory things in our mind, there is less room for negative thoughts.

The same parts of the human mind that allow people to imagine the future and anticipate happy events are also the ones that allow for worrying and imagining worst-case scenarios.

While these can be helpful in moderate doses, too much worrying can promote anxiety and despair.

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RELATED IDEAS

What creates happiness in the brain
  • Dopamine: The happy chemical that our brain releases when we see reward or pleasure in sight.
  • Oxytocin: A hormone and a neurotransmitter, it gets released when we bond, feel love, and trust the people around us.
  • Serotonin: It is experienced when we feel self-respect, confidence and importance.
  • Endorphin: This neurotransmitter gets released to help us cope with physical pain.
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    IDEAS

    Depression as Chronic Sadness

    Depression and mental illness are long associated with being sad and mentally ill people and those fighting mental disorders are judged by the misleading emotional states like happiness, which have nothing to do with the underlying disorder.

    9 Tips To Give Constructive Criticism
    1. Use the "feedback sandwich" method when advising. Give a positive comment, then the feedback that could potentially be construed as criticism, and finish by reiterating the positive. That way the criticism is "sandwiched" between two positives, making it seem less harsh.
    2. Focus on the situation, not the person. This helps preventing the other person from feeling attacked.
    3. Think about timing when you give feedback. When emotions are running high people tend to become less receptive to criticism.
    4. Use A "Straw Man" to illustrate your point. "Try to give the critique through a personal anecdote or an inspiring story of someone famous who went through the same thing.
    5. Offer specific suggestions. This keeps the discussion focused and gives the other person a concrete area of improvement.
    6. Keep your language positive and avoid negative statements. It helps to set the tone of the entire exchange.
    7. Stick to "I" statements. Using "I feel" statements over more accusatory "you" statements works.
    8. Be conscious of your tone. If you're coming off as stern, or angry, that may trigger someone’s defenses.
    9. Think about if it really needs to be said, or if it doesn't need to come from you. Sometimes it's better not to say it. Nothing can be more off-putting than unsolicited advice.

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