Want To Be Happier? Evidence-Based Tricks To Get You There

Want To Be Happier? Evidence-Based Tricks To Get You There

via NPR by Shereen Marisol Meraji

Who isn’t looking for a little more happiness in life, especially now? Life Kit reached out to the host of The Happiness Lab podcast, Laurie Santos, for some scientifically proven ways to boost well-being.

Santos is a psychologist who also teaches a class on the science of happiness at Yale University — it holds the title of “most popular course” in the university’s 300-year history.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Shereen Marisol Meraji: You talk about this gratitude study conducted on college students by Robert Emmons. Can you walk me through it?

Laurie Santos: He had folks write down either a few things every day that they were grateful for or a few things every day that he called “burdens,” which are the pain-in-the-butt things in life — not the huge things, but the things that get on your nerves.

He found that the act of listing what you’re grateful for over time can actually significantly improve well-being, even in just a couple of weeks, whereas the act of griping about the things that you don’t like in life doesn’t help your well-being. It turns out that, scientifically speaking, we might be mistaken that complaining will make us feel better.

So gratitude is super good for us. How does having more gratitude affect our interpersonal relationships?

Evidence suggests that if you express gratitude to the people you care about, you can end up boosting those relationships. Often, researchers have subjects do what’s called a gratitude visit. They ask subjects to scribble down a few things they’re really grateful for about a person they haven’t thanked. Then, they have them meet in person and read the letter.

I think the awkwardness would stop so many of us from doing this …

The research shows that we have really dumb ideas about how things are going to feel. We think it’s going to be more awkward than it is. One of the reasons we don’t seek out social opportunities that make us feel better is we get the consequences all wrong.

In practice, the people who receive these letters often report that it’s one of the best moments in their life. But what’s more amazing about these gratitude visits is that they not only help the person that receives the gratitude — they also help the person who expresses the gratefulness.

There’s work by Martin Seligman and colleagues suggesting that the simple act of doing one of these gratitude visits can significantly bump up your well-being for over a month…

…. keep reading the full & original article HERE

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