Saturday, October 24, 2009

People aren't very good at predicting what will make them happy

Cutting-edge research shows that people aren't very good at predicting what will make them happy. In my own experience, that explains a lot. So I'm hoping this article, titled "Psychologists now know what makes people happy", will help me understand it more. I recommend reading the whole article (which I found from more than one source, such as this one). But if you prefer a quick run through, here are snippets I found most interesting:
- The happiest people spend the least time alone. They pursue personal growth and intimacy; they judge themselves by their own yardsticks, never against what others do or have.

- A person's cheer level is about half genetic.

- Plenty of healthy people take their health for granted and are none the happier for it... Meanwhile, the sickly often bear up well, and hypochondriacs cling to misery despite their robust health.

- Life satisfaction occurs most often when people are engaged in absorbing activities that cause them to forget themselves, lose track of time and stop worrying.

- Everyone has "signature strengths"... and the happiest use them.

- Gratitude has a lot to do with life satisfaction, psychologists say. Talking and writing about what they're grateful for amplifies adults' happiness, new studies show. Other researchers have found that learning to savor even small pleasures has the same effect.

- Forgiveness is the trait most strongly linked to happiness.

- In pursuing happiness... we should have more trust in our own resilience and less confidence in our predictions about how we'll feel. We should be a bit more humble and a bit more brave.
Good luck in your journey to find real happiness!


M.S. said...

Great article. Thanks for the link.

Jeff Gordon said...

Very true. Happiness doesn't come from trying but from being. It shows up in unexpected places and sometimes it can be right under your nose without even knowing it.

It's interesting to see a study that proves what many people knew all along about being happy. :-)