by Honolulu Mother
This article in The Week offers a few quick ways to boost your happiness. At the end of the article (which gives more detail on why and how this works), it sums them up thus:
Here’s what brain research says will make you happy:
1. Ask “what am I grateful for?” No answers? Doesn’t matter. Just searching helps.
2. Label those negative emotions. Give it a name and your brain isn’t so bothered by it.
3. Decide. Go for “good enough” instead of “best decision ever made on Earth.”
4. Hugs, hugs, hugs. Don’t text — touch.
Are there mood-boosters we could add to this list? For me, I would add (1) Go for a walk and (2) Put on cheerful music. What suggestions do others have?
by Grace aka costofcollege
Feeling romantic on this Valentine’s Day? Here’s a theory that would support trying to stay in a marriage that is not horrible.
We have a script in our heads about what divorce does, much of it lifted from the divorce revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. Two people meet … they fall in love … they develop irreconcilable differences, or they grow apart, and must split so that at least one of the parties can develop into their truest, highest self.
But more recent research suggests a very different truth about happiness. As Daniel Gilbert argues in the brilliant book “Stumbling on Happiness,” unless our circumstances are truly unbearable, our brains will seek to find their natural level of happiness, like floodwater evening out across a plain. Whatever we are stuck with … whatever we commit to … we will find ways to make it work — and we will be just as happy with it as we would have been with any other outcome.
Under this theory, all other forces being equal, those who avoid divorce end up with the same long-term level of happiness that they would have had post-divorce … and they skip the short-term financial and emotional pains of separation.
What do you think?
And have you seen evidence of this trend?
Study: More Older Adults Prefer ‘Living Apart Together’
Among the comments, this one made me laugh:
My friends and I all want to be married on the national guard plan. 1 weekend a month. Two weeks in the summer.
by Honolulu Mother
This long Oatmeal cartoon muses on what happiness means, and suggests that our definition of happiness is too limiting. The author won’t call himself happy. Instead, he says, “I do things that are meaningful to me, even if they don’t make me ‘happy.'”
(The cartoon is way too long to display in the post; you’ll have to follow the link)
If asked, would you describe yourself as happy? Or content? Unhappy? Or do you agree with The Oatmeal that those terms are too limiting to really capture the experience of living?
And if you’d like to be happier, the internet has no shortage of suggestions. E.g.
25 Science-Backed Ways to Feel Happier
Creative and neurotic: Is neuroticism fueled by overthinking?
This article positing a link between neuroticism and creativity discusses a correlation with no known mechanism, so we can speculate unencumbered by data. Mr WCE and I both have trouble turning off, and for him especially, that leads to sleep difficulties. I can’t tell how neurotic I am, but I know I spend a lot of time living inside my own head. When I spent a month in the hospital before my twins were born, it was hard to read books and so I mostly did Sudoku puzzles and thought, with some listening to music. Apparently not everyone is like that.
What do Totebaggers think of the happiness gap between parents and non-parents?
For U.S. Parents, a Troubling Happiness Gap
by SWVA Mom
This came across my LinkedIn feed and I thought it might make a good Totebag discussion starter.
Why Doesn’t Anyone Ever Feel Rich? (Or Even Happy?)
Totebaggers, do you ever feel rich? Or happy?