Sunday, March 25

A Scientific American


I just recently started a subscription to Scientific American (Hey - it was free). I have always been interested in science (well, after college, anyway) and I enjoy reading about new discoveries and research (even if I can only understand every third word).

The new April issue came today and I sat down to see what might be interesting, and found this:


"The Science of Lasting Happiness"

by Marina Krakovsky


The article is based on the research by Sonja Lyubomirsky, from the University of California, at Riverside. She is an experimental psychologist investigating the possibility of lasting happiness, and she "understands far better than most of us the folly of pinning our hopes on...........any good fortune that comes our way. We tend to adapt, quickly returning to our usual level of happiness. The classic example of such 'hedonic adaptation' comes from a 1970's study of lottery winners, who a year after their windfall ended up no happier than nonwinners. Hedonic adaptation helps to explain why even changes in major life circumstances - such as income, marriage, physical health and where we live - do so little to boost our overall happiness. Not only that, but studies of twins and adoptees have shown that about 50 % of each person's happiness is determined from birth. This 'genetic set point' alone makes the happiness glass look half empty, because any upward swing in happiness seems doomed to fall back to near your baseline."



Hmmmmm.....perhaps this is the reason for the saying "Money doesn't buy happiness." The fact that the saying pre-dated lotteries by many years is interesting.....LOL.



Krakovsky goes on to say " Finding out that individuals with strong social ties are more satisfied with their lives than loners, for example, begs the question of whether friends makes us happier or whether happy people are simply liklier to seek and attract friends." I happen to belive it is the latter.



"Her (Lyubomirsky's) aim is not merely to confirm the strategies' effectiveness but to gain insights into how happiness works. For example, conventional wisdom suggests keeping a daily gratitude journal. But one study revealed that those who had been assigned to do that ended up less happy than those who had been assigned to count their blessings only once a week. Lyubomirsky therefore confirmed her hunch that timing is important. So is variety, it turned out: a kindness intervention found that participants told to vary their good deeds ended up happier than those forced into a kindness rut......Why, for example, does acting kind make you happier?"

What do you think? Does it?















21 comments:

carli said...

I think it's a combination of all things, happiness: part genetics, part environment and action.

Helping others makes me happy because it gives me a sense of self-worth, like I've done something good for someone else.

Karen said...

"vary their good deeds ended up happier than those forced into a kindness rut"...

Makes sense to me.

Happiness for me would be everyone in the world getting along; no more wars.

scrappintwinmom said...

being kind does make you happy I think. here via michele.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Gosh, I don't have a clue...but I do believe that the happiness quotient and many other things about the way we view and deal with life are sent into motion even before birth!

Greg Finnegan said...

Seriously, I believe that one becomes what one thinks most about. If I think about being happy, I become happy - on a sustaining basis. I've done it all of my life.

Not so seriously, I think that two dour, gray-colored Russian women writing about this subject - Marina Krakovsky, telling Sonja Lyubomirsky's story - missed the story. What happy people would want to spend a rainy afternoon telling them about unhappiness? The image from the old commercial - "Evening vear, sviwmear" - comes to mind.

ET said...

I am a loose believer in The Peter Principal. A sudden rush to riches is hard to handle and you will almost always crash.

Peter said...

Kind acts rather than ACTING kind makes us all feel better I believe Judy.
Just catching up on all the missed posts while I've been away.

Judith said...

Michele sent me, and glad I stopped by...

colleen said...

Happiness as study-able science is very intriguing to me. I agree that for the most part it is a genetic personality type of expression. To be happy is either in your nature or not, to varying degrees. One of my sons came in happy (go lucky) and the other did not. The one that did not grew out of some of his unhappiness and was socialized to to some extent, but he retains the overall trait. He's the one who said, Josh (his brother) always hears what he wants to hear and I always hear what don't want to hear." He's also the sweetest thing and very sensitive to his environment which explains some of it to me.

I just wrote at Dave's place.... "I love when I can rise above to my highest self. It doesn't always happen but when it does I receive so much more than I give!"

terrilynn said...

I do believe that attitude or outlook is hard-wired; I've seen the evidence in my son, for sure. I don't know if acting kind makes people in general happier, but I do believe in the "fake it til you make it" principle-if you act happy or kind, it's almost inevitable that you will feel that way.

Tabor said...

I agree totally with Carli. Some people are happier than others just like some people stick to their exercise routines and are healthier than others. We can all try, but it only happens in degress based on who we are and where we came from and basic genetics.

The most important part of this research is to not focus on what can come to us but what we can put out!!

Jamie Dawn said...

Ties with family and friends are key. My happiness depends a great deal on my ability to interact with those I care about. I would not do well as a complete loner.

Showing kindness to others does make us happier people. It breaks us out of our selfishness and allows us to bring a smile to the face of someone else. It FEELS good!!

PI said...

I have always felt that attitude has a lot to do with it. Whether you consider the glass half full rather than half empty. And also I've foune the the best way to deal with one's personal unhappiness is to work with others who are worse off.
Have a good week Judy!

sage said...

so what does this say about how happy we'll be if Carolina wins later this afternoon? Oh, that's right, someone in your house played for Georgetown didn't he!

rosemary said...

I feel better...I don't know about happy....after I do a good deed. I can't act out a good deed....I'm not a good actor under any circumstance. Born with our total stash of happiness? Don't think so. I'd still like to win the Lottery....I am positive that would make me happy....positive.

Cris said...

I think happiness comes mostly from inside, our mind, and how we focus on things and use our gifts to love one another...

moon said...

Like they say, giving is better then recieving....sure we all like getting presents but we can't wait to give our loved ones something from the heart..to make them happy...good deeds do the same thing. Makes us feel good inside.

Raggedy said...

You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.~Camus
You cannot always have happiness, but you can always give happiness. ~Unknown
For some reason giving happiness brings happiness.
Hugs

Shephard said...

Interesting. Kinda like that book I read.
~S :)

srp said...

Action can change attitude.
I don't know about this but I know that happiness is not guaranteed, just the pursuit of such. And I have learned to be content in whatever state I am... and if I can change it, do so.

srp said...

Action can change attitude.
I don't know about this but I know that happiness is not guaranteed, just the pursuit of such. And I have learned to be content in whatever state I am... and if I can change it, do so.