Motivational psychology hinges on the idea that understanding what is most important to any individual person is the key to changing behavior. I’ve heard this idea referred to as mission, as purpose. It’s easy to think that following your mission and living your purpose would mean happiness, but what if it doesn’t? Continue reading If You Want to Be Happy . . . Find the Meaning in Your Life
In some ways, control is at the heart of the most common clinical approaches to mood disorders like depression. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), the “gold standard” talk therapy for depressive disorders, focuses on controlling one’s reactions to troubling events. By exerting control over thoughts (cognitions), people can gradually reduce their negative emotional responses to events. Eventually, the process becomes more automatic and the person is, hopefully, able to reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms of depression. Continue reading Controlling Your Way to Happiness?
In reality, people show their prickly sides to their spouses. We become confident that we are loved and as a consequence don’t always put as much effort into nurturing the relationship. Continue reading The Secret Ingredient to a Lasting Marriage? Kindness.
Choice is a funny thing. Having autonomy is one of our basic shared human needs, and depriving people of choice certainly leads to unhappiness. On the flip side, too much choice is paralyzing, and can lead to regret and rumination if people feel they haven’t chosen correctly.
I recently came across an article in The Atlantic that framed the path to happiness as being ok with some choices being “good enough” rather than perfect. Continue reading Finding Happiness By Settling
A few weeks ago, I wrote about how asking other people for help is a way to forge a connection. The post was inspired by the book The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer. I loved the core message that making yourself vulnerable by revealing a need and permitting someone else to fulfill it is how relationships are made and strengthened. Continue reading Using Art to Connect with People
I’ve been collecting perspectives on authenticity as a way to be as happy as possible. I believe that being yourself helps ensure contentment; although life sometimes demands we do things that are not what we’d choose, being true to our core selves as much as we can helps us be our best selves. Evidence increasingly shows that we do better when we focus on the things we love and have talent for. Continue reading Where Home Is: Bill Murray on Authenticity
I’m pretty open about my dislike of winter. Snow can be beautiful, but after a while, it can also be brutal. I miss feeling warm, seeing vibrant colors outdoors (an exception to the brilliant bluebird who tours my neighborhood a couple times a week–hi, friend!), and smelling flowers, grass, and rain on my walks. Continue reading February Pick-Me-Up: Smell a Lovely Smell
Martin Seligman, one of the founders of Positive Psychology, points out that many resolutions are about quitting a bad behavior. People give up junk food, vow to drop weight, or swear off cigarettes. And, as the folks who took up gym memberships in January are realizing about now, these types of resolutions don’t often stick.
[A note on these New Year’s gym rats: I’d argue they’re not taking up exercise so much as trying to give up their sedentary lifestyle. There’s a survey waiting to happen there.] Continue reading Finding Your Strengths, Feeding Your Competence
Last week I was in Portland, Oregon for work. The weather was about 45 degrees–a temperature that usually signals the onset of winter for me. Yet, after being pummeled by multiple snowstorms and near-zero temperatures in Boston, I couldn’t get enough of the “warm” Portland air.
I went for two outdoor runs–without gloves or a headband. When the first 45 degree days roll around in Boston, I at least debate pulling out the winter gear. Not this time. Continue reading Blizzards and Happiness: Hedonic Adaptation
Apparently, so much so that we become angry and distressed when we get rejected . . . by software.
One of our fundamental human needs, the need for relatedness is so strong that we feel depressed and anxious even when we know the people excluding us are actually just computer programs. Continue reading Those “The Software Is Ignoring Me” Blues