21 December 2008

happiness and new year's resolution

I was pointed to this talk on TED, about Positive Psychology which researches how people can become more happy.

Here are the points that I remembered from it:
  • studies have shown that the most happy people all have a steady romantic relationship and do socialise a lot. 
  • studies have also shown that pleasure (like ice cream, a Porsche, sex, ...) does only provide a little happiness and we also get used to it, so it provides less happiness in the long term. 
  • two other sources of happiness are "flow" and "meaning". Flow basically means engaging in rewarding activities; this is the happiness people who like their work are feeling. Meaning means accomplishing things that we think are high values, especially doing this for other people or the common good. (I think that's one reason relationships make happy: people often do things for their partner and that gives them already happiness points.)
  • There's an experiment called "gratitude" (see the talk for details), which had amazing results and which I also should try at some time. But I am still to shy and have to train for it first.
Now how does this translate into my new year's resolutions:
  1. socialise more
  2. be a great boyfriend
  3. do some good volunteering: 
    • join the bike pirates
    • volunteer more at the sailing club
    • think about other things I could do in this area
  4. and last: learn more about positive psychology and my own life goals and values and how to use to for life planning, time spending and happiness increasing
Remark: all those ways of spending my non-work time have to be seen in light of my previous post on productivity. I still have to think about how to derive more happiness from my work, but working closer together with other people is certainly one step.


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