01 August 2011

yet another one of those articles

As you know, I read a lot of articles about a lot of different things. And it just so happens I found an article about happiness today in Parade (which I always read).
It's called Sunny Side Up: Do you know how to be happy? And some of the things are pretty surprising.
First piece of advice: people who are generally happy and cheerful don't really think about it very much; they just live their lives. Which is interesting because the purpose of me doing this was to find something. To search for something. But really you don't have to search, it will come to you. You will feel it inside of you instead of running around trying to find something that you are unsure of.
And since it's the summer, let's talk about vacations. When are people most happy about vacations? It's not during, it's beforehand. Planning vacations and imagining what it's going to be like is evidently more pleasing than the actual vacation. The anticipation is something that makes us really excited and happy inside.
Here's another fact: some of us are more likely than others to be happy. 50% of happiness is determined by genetics. But that doesn't mean you have no say in your happiness: 40% is determined by your mindset. The other 10% is based on life experiences.
Sometimes when people are sad, they'll watch reruns of their favorite TV show, even if they have seen it so many times that they can recite the lines. But the better solution is to go outside. According to a study from the University of Rochester, 90% of the test subjects felt better after spending time outside with trees, plants, animals, and fresh air.
But not all technology is bad. Listening to music on your iPod is a great way to overcome sadness and be a little bit more happy and cheerful. And it doesn't have to be a ukulele-by-the-beach song; my music you like will make you feel better, whether it's Mozart or metal. As long as you like it, you'll be happy.
And for another science-y one: taking fish oil supplements can help you to feel better. But this one's a little more chemical: fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help your brain to receive messages from endorphins (happy hormones). In this way, it almost works like depression medication.
Also from the research lab: you don't have to be happy to be happy. Sound confusing? It's not. Even if you are completely devastated inside, if you imagine yourself having fun, or laughing, or a scene from a happy movie, etc., you will be happier. Researchers found out that the areas of the brain that show happiness were more visible on the screen when subjects were imagining something happy. So you can fake yourself out and get the long end of the stick.
And for the last one: being optimistic doesn't make you happier. In fact, pessimists can be happier in the long run because lowering their expectations can leave them less disappointed than optimists, who hope, and sometimes expect, everything to turn out alright. So if you lower your expectations, you can be pleasantly surprised more often than sadly disappointed.
So there you have it - the myths of happiness uncovered! If you have anymore, post them as a comment right here!

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