Tag Archives | Happiness

Gimme Nirvana Baby: On the Spiritual Journey of Ash from the Evil Dead Films

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Ugh. I’ve desperately tried to write this essay without referring–for the second essay in a row–to my Sunday living habits. They’re really not that interesting, and I understand that. But I’m sorry. Just like the last essay, the origins of this one occur during those existential lulls that seem to characterize a lot of people’s Christian Sabbath.

You see, in my household–after my morning workout– Sunday mornings are reserved for one of two rituals. One, because my wife is a practicing Catholic, we go to mass. Or, two–if we’re too lazy on that particular morning–we lay around in our sweats and my wife watches “Super Soul Sundays” on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Of the two, even though I am a blasphemer, heretic and just an outright nonbeliever, I greatly prefer going to mass, even though it means making the effort to look presentable in public on a Sunday morning and listening to some dweeb in a blouse tell me about how I need to make some more time for gahd/Jesus in my life.… Read the rest

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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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