16 Jun Harvard Report – The happiness-health connection
Want to improve your health? Start by focusing on the things that bring you happiness. There is some scientific evidence that positive emotions can help make your life longer and healthier.
But to produce good health, positive emotions may need to be long term. In other words, thinking positive thoughts for a month when you already have heart disease won_ã_t cure the disease. But lowering your stress levels over a period of years with a positive outlook and relaxation techniques could reduce your risk of heart problems.
Pathways to happiness
In an early phase of positive psychology research, University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman and Christopher Peterson of the University of Michigan chose three pathways to examine:
- Feeling good. Seeking pleasurable emotions and sensations, from the hedonistic model of happiness put forth by Epicurus, which focused on reaching happiness by maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain.
- Engaging fully. Pursuing activities that engage you fully, from the influential research by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. For decades, Csikszentmihalyi explored people_ã_s satisfaction in their everyday activities, finding that people report the greatest satisfaction when they are totally immersed in and concentrating on what they are doing_ã”he dubbed this state of intense absorption _ã–flow._ã
- Doing good. Searching for meaning outside yourself, tracing back to Aristotle_ã_s notion of eudemonia, which emphasized knowing your true self and acting in accordance with your virtues.
Through focus groups and testing hundreds of volunteers, they found that each of these pathways individually contributes to life satisfaction.
Things that won_ã_t make you happy
People tend to be poor judges of what will make them happy. While most people say they want to be happy, they often believe in myths or carry assumptions that actually get in the way. Here are some widely held myths about what will bring happiness…
…read more of the original article – HERE