25 Jun 6 ways to focus on the right things for more happiness
We're all so busy.
There's so much to do.
The internet can take is in so many directions and provide so much information and entertainment but…
…does this really make us happy?
Does happiness come from busily consuming as much as possible?
I think not.
Rather, as this article explains, focusing on a few (important) things will do more for your happiness than trying to focus on everything! Keep reading below…
by Eric Barker for TIME magazine
Give me your undivided attention for a second. (It’ll make you happier, I promise.)
You create your world with what you pay attention to.
There are a million things happening right now: some good, some bad.
Pay attention to the good, you’ll feel better. Pay attention to the bad, and, well … you get it.
… the things that you don’t attend to in a sense don’t exist, at least for you. All day long, you are selectively paying attention to something, and much more often than you may suspect, you can take charge of this process to good effect. Indeed, your ability to focus on this and suppress that is the key to controlling your experience and, ultimately, your well-being …
Research shows that paying attention to positive feelings literally expands your world. Focusing on the negative makes it tiny.
Based on objective lab tests that measure vision, Barbara Fredrickson, a psychologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, shows that paying attention to positive emotions literally expands your world, while focusing on negative feelings shrinks it — a fact that has important implications for your daily experience.
As Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman famously said, “Nothing in life is as important as you think it is while you are thinking about it.”
As research has shown, lottery winners aren’t as happy as you might guess and paraplegics aren’t as unhappy as you might think. Why?
For each, being rich or being paralyzed eventually becomes one small piece of their very big life. In other words, they stop focusing on it.
“People think that if they win the lottery, they’ll be happy forever. Of course, they will not. For a while, they are happy because of the novelty, and because they think about winning all the time. Then they adapt and stop paying attention to it.” Similarly, he says, “Everyone is surprised by how happy paraplegics can be, but they are not paraplegic full-time. They do other things. They enjoy their meals, their friends, the newspaper. It has to do with the allocation of attention.”
And controlling that attention can be the key to your happiness.
Kahneman says that both the Dalai Lama and the Penn positive psychologist Martin Seligman would agree about the importance of paying attention: “Being able to control it gives you a lot of power, because you know that you don’t have to focus on a negative emotion that comes up.”
So in a world of buzzing iPhones and relentless emails and text messages, how can you better control your attention and make yourself happier?
Here are six tips from research.
(I still have your undivided attention, right? Just checking.)
How you react to things is more important than what actually happens.
Research pioneered by Arnold and Lazarus shows reappraising situations, focusing on the good elements of “bad” events, can be a huge step toward staying positive.
… direct your attention to some element of the situation that frames things in a more helpful light. After a big blowup over an equitable sharing of the housework, rather than continuing to concentrate on your partner’s selfishness and sloth, you might focus on the fact that at least a festering conflict has been aired, which is the first step toward a solution to the problem, and to your improved mood.
Sound like denial? Self-deception?
It is. And it works like a charm.
That’s why people happier than you do it all the time.
Directing your attention away from a negative experience not only is not as maladaptive as many of his peers think but, according to the Columbia psychologist George Bonanno, can be a superior coping strategy. Indeed, he finds that in the wake of an upsetting event, “self-deception and emotional avoidance are consistently and robustly linked to a better outcome.” Even when you’re reeling from a severe blow, such as a loved one’s death, diverting your focus from your grief can boost your resilience.
As I’ve posted before, more thinking can cure bad feelings. Meditation can increase your attention span.
2) Focus On Those Who Believe In You
How do politicians and salesmen stay so positive?
Part of it may be acting but they also have a tendency to selectively pay attention to positive reinforcers.
Individuals of sanguine temperament, such as certain politicians, CEOs and salesmen, seem naturally to excel at directing their focus away from negative targets. Research shows that when they confront a potentially unpleasant situation, such as some unfriendly faces at a gathering, these extraverts are apt to shift their attention rapidly around the room and zero in on amiable or neutral visages, thus short-circuiting the distressing images before they can get stored in memory…
…keep reading the full article HERE