Tag Archives | Happiness

Alfred Hitchcock’s Definition of Happiness

H/T Brain Pickings

“A clear horizon, nothing to worry about on your plate. Only things that are creative and not destructive. That’s within yourself, within me I can’t bear quarreling I can’t bare feelings between people. I think hatred is wasted energy. It’s all nonproductive. I’m very sensitive. A sharp word said by say a person who has a temper if they’re close to me hurts me for days. I know we’re only human, we do go in for these various emotions, call them negative emotions, but when all these are removed and you can look forward and the road is clear ahead and now you’re going to create something. I think that’s as happy as I would ever want to be.”

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Study Suggests That Fast Food Logos Weaken Our Ability To Experience Simple Joys

mcdonaldsdisasterVia the Raw Story, a study suggests that corporate values have so reshaped our thinking and behavior that merely seeing a fast food symbol renders us less able to derive joy from nature scenes and music:

Focus on time efficiency could be making the small things in life harder to enjoy. The research, published online in Social Psychological and Personality Science, found people exposed to fast-food symbols were less likely to find pleasure in beautiful pictures and music. The research also found those living in neighborhoods with a higher concentration of fast-food restaurants were less likely to savor pleasurable experiences.

House and his colleagues decided to examine fast food — and McDonald’s in particular — because it “has arguably become the ultimate symbol of time efficiency.”

In their first analysis, which included 280 participants from the United States, the researchers found greater fast-food concentration in one’s neighborhood was associated with reduced savoring of emotional responses to enjoyable experiences.

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Plastic Surgery To Create A Permanent Smile Debuts In South Korea

permanent smileI’m guessing this terrifying procedure is nonetheless cheaper than a lifetime on antidepressants. The Atlantic reports:

South Korea has helped paved the way for double-eyelid surgeries, dimple injections, calf reductions and even double-jaw surgery, to name a few. Now South Korean plastic surgeons are taking on surgery that alters the appearance of emotion. A new technique called “Smile Lipt” (whose name combines “lip” with “lift”) carves a permanent smile – the procedure turns up the corners of the mouth.

The procedure is increasingly popular among men and women in their 20s and 30s—especially flight attendants, consultants and others in industries aiming to offer service with a smile. The Seoul-based Aone Plastic Surgery has patented the procedure. For $2,000, it now offers patients the chance to be thus transformed:

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Stroke Leaves British Man Permanently Happy At All Times

feel sadness

Will this form of brain damage be an opt-in surgery available in the future? Via the Telegraph:

A man who suffered a stroke can no longer feel sadness because the part of his brain controlling the emotion was destroyed. Malcolm Myatt, 68, who spent 19 weeks in hospital and lost the feeling in his left side, was told by doctors that the stroke had hit the frontal lobe of his brain.

He has since noticed a number of changes, but believes that the loss of sadness from his emotional repertoire is a positive.

Dr. Clare Walton explained: “While we haven’t heard before of stroke survivors completely losing the ability to feel a particular emotion, many stroke survivors find it very difficult to control their emotions following a stroke and may cry or laugh at inappropriate times.”

His wife added: “Malcolm’s very childish now. It’s infectious. When he starts laughing everyone in the room does.

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Leading A Meaningful Life Better For Health Than Leading A Happy One

happiness

People who report leading happy but meaningless lives experience unhealthy genetic changes similar to those found in the chronically stressed. Via the Atlantic, Emily Esfahani Smith writes:

Many studies have noted the connection between a happy mind and a healthy body — the happier you are, the better health outcomes we seem to have.

But a new study, just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, challenges that picture. It specifically explored the difference between a meaningful life and a happy life, on the biological level.

Researchers Cole and Fredrickson found that people who are happy but have little to no sense of meaning in their lives have the same gene expression patterns as people who are responding to and enduring chronic adversity. That is, the bodies of these happy people are preparing them for bacterial threats by activating the pro-inflammatory response. Chronic inflammation is, of course, associated with major illnesses like heart disease and various cancers.

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Is Spirituality The Result Of A Combination Of Hallucinations And Happiness?

spirituality

Epiphenom suggests that positive moods and an inclination towards hallucinatory episodes may be the ingredients that produce the spiritual mindset:

Hallucinations and such like are actually a rather common part of the human experience – probably 70% of people experience some form of ‘unusual experiences’ at some time in their lives. You might think that hallucinations would be distressing, but people often report them to be quite pleasant. What’s more, spiritual people often report being happier than average.

James Schuurmans-Stekhoven, at the Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, Australia, speculated that that the two might be causally related. In other words, he thinks that when basically happy people have ‘unusual experiences’ like auditory hallucinations, it inclines them to a spirtual worldview.

To test this, he surveyed Australians about their spirituality, their unusual experiences, and their positive affectivity (mood). As happiness and unusual experiences increase, so to does spirituality.

But [for] people with the lowest levels of unusual experiences, changing levels of positive affect has basically no effect on their spirituality.

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The Tendency to Go Bananas When Reaching Middle Age…

A curious story has emerged which suggests new research shows chimps and orang-utans also have a ‘midlife crisis’. The Daily Telegraph picks up the story:

Human behaviour studies have revealed the well-established trend that our level of happiness declines after childhood until middle age, when we gradually begin to feel more content again.

Now researchers have found that the same “u-shaped” pattern is also seen among chimpanzees and orang-utans, who are most satisfied with life in their earliest and latest years but reach a “nadir” in middle age.

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The researchers examined behavioural reports on more than 500 captive apes compiled by their keepers, researchers or other volunteers who were familiar with them throughout their lives.

Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, they reported that the animals’ happiness was generally high in youth, declined in middle age and rose again into old age.

While the study does not rule out the influence of cultural forces on our mood, it suggests biological factors could partly explain the distinctive u-shaped pattern.

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Scientists Declare Buddhist Monk The World’s Happiest Person

Happiness is a gamma wave. Via Oddity Central:

Matthieu Ricard was declared the happiest man on Earth by a group of scientists after it was discovered his brain produces a level of gamma waves never before reported in the field of neuroscience.

A former molecular geneticist who left his life and career behind to discover the secrets of Buddhism, Ricard is now one of the most celebrated monks in the Himalayas and a trusted advisor of the Dalai Lama. In 2009, neuroscientist Richard Davidson wired up the French monk’s head with 256 sensors as part of a research project on hundreds of advanced practitioners of meditation.

The scans showed something remarkable: when meditating on compassion, Ricard’s brain produced a level of gamma waves linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory that were never even reported before in neuroscience literature. Furthermore, the scans scans also showed excessive activity in his brain’s left prefrontal cortex, giving him an abnormally large capacity for happiness and a reduced propensity towards negativity.

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