The Science of Happiness

Originally composed by Lauren Myrick on 1 April 2014.

The Science of Happiness & Tips on Being Happy

Humans are the only animal that worry about the future.  The good news is that we can choose to be in the present moment… and there are tips on how to do this!  Focusing on (and enjoying!) the present is one way to increase happiness.  By aligning our values intrinsically, we can also increase our happiness.  Aligning values extrinsically, on material possessions, status, or "things," has been linked to long term dissatisfaction and mental illness.

Last month, I was able to attend a speaker series hosted by GE, “The Science of Happiness” presented by Buck Davis.  Buck’s presentation gave a background on happiness research, expanded on the elements above, and gave us six practices we can integrate into our routines to be happier.

Buck stressed the importance of believing in yourself and taking ownership over your life.  We also need to set more realistic goals.  It is nearly impossible to be the most outstanding husband/wife, parent, boss, employee, philanthropist, citizen, and friend every single day… we need to distribute our efforts, with different goals receiving their own attention.  Buck also brought up the “Zorro circle” as discussed in The Happiness Advantage, mastering your circle, then slowly growing it outward.

Other happiness-boosting notes:
  • Reducing the activation energy of a task by 20 seconds makes you more likely to start/achieve the task
  • Habits are formed in 21 days
  • 6 Ways to boost happiness (as outlined in the presentation):
Socially network, get involved, be with friends
Find meaning in daily activities
Conscious acts of kindness
Practice gratitude

Benefits of happiness (Other than being happy, of course!)
  • Increased social bonds
  • Bounce back from set-backs quicker
  • Lower mortality
  • Higher energy
  • Better work outcomes/success

 Resources & Tools: