5 Things Science Learned About How to Live a Happier, More Meaningful Life in 2022

5 Things Science Learned About How to Live a Happier, More Meaningful Life in 2022

Last year was a busy and productive one for the field of positive psychology.

This great article by Jessica Stillman outlines a number of evidence based strategies you can integrate into your life to create more happiness and wellbeing.

Don’t ever forget that you CAN be better; that doesn’t mean everything is bad at the moment, or that we don’t need to accept some things as they are, but self improvement and self development are possible and this article provides 5 paths forward …

It was a banner year for science in 2021 as researchers around the globe turned out vaccines and new therapeutics in near miraculous times. But the pandemic hasn’t just turned up the pressure on our physical health. It’s been a pressure cooker for our mental health too. 

And just as brilliant medical researchers have been racing to make discoveries that will keep us physically healthier, psychologists and behavioral scientists have been hard at work figuring out how we can all be a little happier, more resilient, and well adjusted in a world that often feels like it’s going off the rails. 

The UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center’s online magazine chronicles these breakthroughs throughout 2021 and helpfully rounds up some of the most important and useful each December. Some are niche insights for therapists or educators, but a handful can help just about any of us have a more joyful and meaningful 2022. 

1. Uncertainty pushes us to stop and smell the roses. 

This pandemic has had very, very few silver linings, but positive psychology researchers may have uncovered at least one. It turns out the more wildly uncertain your life is, the more likely you are to stop and smell the roses. 

“Researchers handed out flyers to pedestrians that said ‘Life is unpredictable: Stop and smell the roses’ or ‘Life is constant: Stop and smell the roses.’ A short distance away was a table with a dozen red roses on it–and the people who read that life is unpredictable literally smelled the roses 2.5 times more often than the others,” Greater Good reports. Which is cute, but does this effect actually translate to real life? 

Apparently yes. When the same researchers “pinged 6,000 participants up to a dozen times a day, asking how chaotic and unpredictable the world felt and whether they were savoring the present. It turned out that when the world felt messy, people were more likely to be savoring their lives a few hours later, at the next ping.”

We’d all love to see the end of this virus, of course, but perhaps it will cheer you to know it’s pushing us all to pay more attention to the life’s small pleasures. Maybe we’ll even keep this newfound good habit once we fully settle back into a more predictable routine. 

2. There’s a right and wrong way to daydream. 

We’re bombarded with advice on how to eat right, exercise more efficiently, and work smarter. The last thing we need is advice on how to optimize our daydreaming, right? 

But new science insists that there is actually a correct (and wrong) way to daydream. One approach leads to fresh ideas. The other way leads straight to anxiety. What’s the difference? Mind-wandering, where you’re thinking about something other than the task at hand but in a focused way, makes you feel lousy. But when your thoughts are free flowing and meander from topic to topic, daydreaming makes you happier and more creative.

Here’s the bottom-line takeaway from Greater Good: “We don’t have to be 100% focused all the time. So, if you want to be more creative and happier, don’t feel guilty about doing a little daydreaming.”

Keep reading the full & original article HERE