8.06.2013

what happy people do differently.

i just finished reading up on what happy people do differently. if you read this blog, you know that happiness is a favorite subject of mine. i really find it fascinating. it must be the psychologist in me. 

here's a little taste of the article in psychology today, my favorite bits:

- (happiness) is the product of mental arithmetic, when you compute your expectations, your ideals, your acceptance of what you can't change—and countless other factors. that is, happiness is a state of mind, and as such, can be intentional and strategic.

- happy people, it seems, engage in a wide range of counter intuitive habits that seem, well, downright unhappy ... truly happy people seem to have an intuitive grasp of the fact that sustained happiness is not just about doing things that you like. it also requires growth and adventuring beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone. happy people, are, simply put, curious.

- a blind eye to life's vicissitudes; this is not to say that we should take a laissez-faire attitude to all our responsibilities; paying attention to detail is helpful. but too much focus on minutiae can be exhausting and paralyzing. the happiest among us (cheerfully) accept that striving for perfection—and a perfectly smooth interaction with everyone at all times—is a loser's bet.

- the happiest people are the ones who are present when things go right for others—and whose own wins are regularly celebrated by their friends as well ... in life, it seems, there are an abundance of florence nightingales waiting to show their heroism. what's precious and scarce are those people who can truly share in others' joy and gains without envy. so while it might be kind to send flowers to your friend when she's in the hospital for surgery, you'll both derive more satisfaction out of the bouquet you send her when she finishes medical school or gets engaged.

- happy, flourishing people don't hide from negative emotions. they acknowledge that life is full of disappointments and confront them head on, often using feelings of anger effectively to stick up for themselves or those of guilt as motivation to change their own behavior. this nimble mental shifting between pleasure and pain, the ability to modify behavior to match a situation's demands, is known as psychological flexibility. the ability to tolerate the discomfort that comes from switching mind-sets depending on whom we're with and what we're doing allows us to get optimal results in every situation.

- pleasure and purpose work together. purpose is what drives us to take risks and make changes—even in the face of hardship and when sacrificing short-term happiness. 

- if you want to envision a happy person's stance, imagine one foot rooted in the present with mindful appreciation of what one has—and the other foot reaching toward the future for yet-to-be-uncovered sources of meaning.

if you liked all that ^^^ make sure you read the article in it's entirety.

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