01 May Write your way to happiness
Check out this great article from Wellbeing.com.au …
We all search for happiness but where are you looking? It is tempting to think that happiness lies on the other side of a lottery win, or perhaps under a coconut tree in the Caribbean, or even underneath an Oscar or Pulitzer prize. According to a new study though happiness does not reside in any of these far flung places but in fact it is right under your nose, well actually just above your nose, in your mind.
The new research involved five separate studies asking participants to complete surveys about past experiences, possible future experiences, and how they felt those experiences did impact or would impact their happiness.
The first thing to show up was that the more easily the subjects could write about positive past experiences, the greater the happiness they associated with them. Equally, the easier they could write about past negative experiences the less happily they perceived those experiences. In the same way, the easier it was for people to write about positive future events, the happier they thought those events would make them. However, this did not hold true for negative future events. Even when people could write fluently about possible negative future events they did not think those things would significantly affect future happiness. Yet people who could fluently write about bad things happening to friends did think that their friend’s happiness would be affected.
So there appears to be mental mechanism that discounts the likelihood that negative things will actually happen to you in the future. This makes sense as a survival mechanism because if you see a better future you are more motivated today but there was another interesting finding as well.
The research showed that when people were asked to recall twelve positive things their perceived happiness was less than when they were only asked to recall three. This did not hold true for negative events as whether they had to recall three or twelve negative events people felt the same lack of happiness about those times.
Apparently, the harder you have to work to think of the good things in life, the less they make you happy. Just focusing on the things that come to readily to mind makes people happier.
It seems then that you should not work too hard to imagine your happiness, just focus on the positives that come readily to mind because as far as your happiness is concerned less really is more and the simpler, the happier…
…see the original article HERE