Tag Archives: Happiness

Talk Deeply & Be Happy

Would you be happier if you spent more time discussing the state of the world and the meaning of life — and less time talking about the weather?

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Deep conversations made people happier than small talk, one study found.
It may sound counterintuitive, but people who spend more of their day having deep discussions and less time engaging in small talk seem to be happier, said Matthias Mehl, a psychologist at the University of Arizona who published a study on the subject.

“We found this so interesting, because it could have gone the other way — it could have been, ‘Don’t worry, be happy’ — as long as you surf on the shallow level of life you’re happy, and if you go into the existential depths you’ll be unhappy,” Dr. Mehl said.

But, he proposed, substantive conversation seemed to hold the key to happiness for two main reasons: both because human beings are driven to find and create meaning in their lives, and because we are social animals who want and need to connect with other people.

“By engaging in meaningful conversations, we manage to impose meaning on an otherwise pretty chaotic world,” Dr. Mehl said. “And interpersonally, as you find this meaning, you bond with your interactive partner, and we know that interpersonal connection and integration is a core fundamental foundation of happiness.”

Dr. Mehl’s study was small and doesn’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship between the kind of conversations one has and one’s happiness. But that’s the planned next step, when he will ask people to increase the number of substantive conversations they have each day and cut back on small talk, and vice versa.

The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, involved 79 college students — 32 men and 47 women — who agreed to wear an electronically activated recorder with a microphone on their lapel that recorded 30-second snippets of conversation every 12.5 minutes for four days, creating what Dr. Mehl called “an acoustic diary of their day.”

Researchers then went through the tapes and classified the conversation snippets as either small talk about the weather or having watched a TV show, and more substantive talk about current affairs, philosophy, the difference between Baptists and Catholics or the role of education. A conversation about a TV show wasn’t always considered small talk; it could be categorized as substantive if the speakers analyzed the characters and their motivations, for example.

Many conversations were more practical and did not fit in either category, including questions about homework or who was taking out the trash, for example, Dr. Mehl said. Over all, about a third of all conversation was ranked as substantive, and about a fifth consisted of small talk.

But the happiest person in the study, based on self-reports about satisfaction with life and other happiness measures as well as reports from people who knew the subject, had twice as many substantive conversations, and only one-third of the amount of small talk as the unhappiest, Dr. Mehl said. Almost every other conversation the happiest person had — 45.9 percent of the day’s conversations — were substantive, while only 21.8 percent of the unhappiest person’s conversations were substantive.

Small talk made up only 10 percent of the happiest person’s conversations, while it made up almost three times as much –- or 28.3 percent –- of the unhappiest person’s conversations.

Next, Dr. Mehl wants to see if people can actually make themselves happier by having more substantive conversations.

“It’s not that easy, like taking a pill once a day,” Dr. Mehl said. “But this has always intrigued me. Can we make people happier, by asking them, for the next five days, to have one extra substantive conversation every day?”

Source: The New York Times. (Health, March 17,2010)

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Happiness Wards off Heart Disease

Being happy and staying positive may help ward off heart disease, a study suggests.

US researchers monitored the health of 1,700 people over 10 years, finding the most anxious and depressed were at the highest risk of the disease.

They could not categorically prove happiness was protective, but said people should try to enjoy themselves.

But experts suggested the findings may be of limited use as an individual’s approach to life was often ingrained.

At the start of the study, which was published in the European Heart Journal, participants were assessed for emotions ranging from hostility and anxiousness to joy, enthusiasm and contentment.

They were given a rating on a five-point scale to score their level of positive emotions.

By the end of the analysis, some 145 had developed heart disease – fewer than one in 10.

But for each rise in the happiness scale there was a 22% lower risk of developing heart disease.

The team believes happier people may have better sleeping patterns, be less liable to suffer stress and be more able to move on from upsetting experiences – all of which can put physical strain on the body.

“Essentially spending a few minutes each day truly relaxed and enjoying yourself is certainly good for your mental health and may improve your physical health as well” Says  Dr Karina Davidson

Lead researcher Dr Karina Davidson admitted more research was needed into the link, but said she would still recommend that people try to develop a more positive outlook.

She said all too often people just waited for their “two weeks of vacation to have fun” when instead they should seek enjoyment each day.

“If you enjoy reading novels, but never get around to it, commit to getting 15 minutes or so of reading in.

“If walking or listening to music improves you mood, get those activities in your schedule.

“Essentially spending a few minutes each day truly relaxed and enjoying yourself is certainly good for your mental health and may improve your physical health as well.”

It is not the first study to suggest there is a link between happiness and health.

But Ellen Mason, of the British Heart Foundation, suggested such an association may be of limited value anyway.

“We know that improving your mood isn’t always easy – so we don’t know if it’s possible to change our natural levels of positivity.”

Cardiologist Iain Simpson, of the British Cardiovascular Society, added: “Things like reducing cholesterol and diabetes are more important when it comes to reducing heart disease.

“But at the end of the day it heart disease is still the biggest killer  so anything you can do to help should not be ignored.”

Source : BBC News: Feb.18th.2010

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In Search of Unqualified Happiness

If Only
Since most of our experiences are rooted in cause and effect, we naturally want to justify our contentment. We envision grand circumstances, stating that if only we could achieve this goal or obtain that possession, we would finally be in a position to attain happiness. As a result, satisfaction is always just out of reach and the very notion of grabbing hold of it seems like nothing more than a pipe dream. But the truth is that sincere contentment and fulfillment are never wholly the result of external events or situations. Though life’s joyful moments can ignite the spark of contentment within us, that spark is fueled by serenity long established in our souls. When we forget this, it is easy to become stuck in “if only” patterns of thought. If we concentrate on the natural serenity that exists within us, however, we can move forward unimpeded by disappointment.

The circumstances you live through each day have the potential to bring both joy and despair into your life. Relying on the reactions they awaken within you to create an emotional foundation means living on a roller coaster of feeling whose course is determined by chance. Though you may yearn for the object of your desire—be it a new job, financial health, a spouse, or some other symbol of success—you have within you the power to be happy without it. Letting go of your “if only” thinking patterns can be as easy as recognizing that inward emptiness cannot be dispelled with outer world solutions. Try creating a list of your “if only”s. Then literally and figuratively let go of the items on the list by tearing it up or burning it. This simple action can help set in motion the intention to set you free, enabling you to make a fresh and balanced start in the present, unencumbered by regrets and unfulfilled desires.

There will likely be periods in your life in which you find yourself tempted to seek a magic formula for fulfillment that is centered upon a single goal or achievement. But the ingredients that come together to form the seeds of happiness that can sustain your spirit throughout the triumphs and trials of existence come from within rather than from without. When your search for satisfaction is focused on your soul, you will never fail to find the joy you seek.

Source: Daily Om

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A Flow of Joy

Good Vibrations …...CLICK & SEE
Feelings vibrate, just as all things in the universe do, at a particular frequency. Negative feelings like anger, guilt, and depression vibrate at low frequencies, while positive feelings like joy, appreciation, and passion vibrate at high frequencies. These high frequency vibrations make us feel good. This is why people and places that inspire and cultivate positive feelings have what we call good vibrations…..CLICK & SEE

Good vibrations inspire health, happiness, and optimism. When we are tuned in to good vibrations, our bodies heal, our hearts open, and our minds shift toward the light. We see new possibilities and feel powerfully energized to follow our inner visions. At the same time, we feel relaxed and capable of manifesting these visions without giving in to stress or struggle. Good vibrations put us in a state of perfect receptivity so that we feel it is the energy flowing through us that accomplishes what needs to be done. We feel guided, supported, protected, and nourished within this joyful flow. We sometimes forget that we are allowed to feel this way all the time....CLICK & SEE

Lower frequency vibrations are not bad in a moral sense, but they are bad in the sense that they simply don’t feel good. Still, they have a purpose, which is to alert us to the fact that we are blocking out the higher frequency vibrations that we need to function well. They are a call for healing ourselves from within. The key to our healing lies in remembering that it is our birthright to feel good and that feeling good is the essence of our true nature. When we are receiving and sending out good vibrations, we are in the flow. When we are not, we can begin to raise our vibration by seeking out people, places, and situations that vibrate at a higher frequency. Whether we need to go on retreat or just call a friend who makes us laugh, seeking out those good vibrations and basking in them is a sacred and loving practice that returns us, time and again, to the joyful flow of the universe.

Source: Daily Om

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Making Life Yours

Perception :-
There is no secret recipe for happiness and contentment. The individuals who move through life joyously have not necessarily been blessed with lives of abundance, love, success, and prosperity. Such people have, however, been blessed with the ability to take the circumstances they’ve been handed and make them into something great. Our individual realities are colored by perception—delight and despair come from within rather than without. Situations we regard as fortuitous please us while situations we judge inauspicious cause us no end of grief. Yet if we can look at all we have accomplished without dwelling on our perceived misfortune and make each new circumstance our own, the world as a whole becomes a brighter place. A simple shift in attitude can help us recognize and unearth the hidden potential for personal and outer world fulfillment in every event, every relationship, every duty, and every setback.

The universe is often an unpredictable and chaotic place, and the human tendency is to focus on the negative and assume the positive will care for itself. But life can be no more or no less than what you make of it. If you are working in a job you dislike, you can concentrate on the positive aspects of the position and approach your work with gusto. What can you do with this job that can turn it around so you do love it. When faced with the prospect of undertaking a task you fear, you can view it as an opportunity to discover what you are truly capable of doing. Similarly, unexpected events, when viewed as surprises, can add flavor to your existence. By choosing to love life no matter what crosses your path, you can create an atmosphere of jubilance that is wonderfully infectious. A change in perspective is all it takes to change your world, but you must be willing to adopt an optimistic, hopeful mind-set.

To make a conscious decision to be happy is not enough. You must learn to observe life’s complexities through the eyes of a child seeing everything for the first time. You must furthermore divest yourself of preconceived notions of what is good and what is bad so that you can appreciate the rich insights concealed in each stage of your life’s journey. And you must strive to discover the dual joys of wanting what you have. As you gradually shift your perspective, your existence will be imbued with happiness and contentment that will remain with you forever.

Source: Daily Om

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