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Thread: The psychology of happiness

  1. #1

    Default The psychology of happiness

    5 Things You Think Will Make You Happy (But Won't) | Cracked.com

    Read that article. It's from Cracked, but it's pretty wise.

    Basicaly, the things in life that we think will make us happy (fame, wealth, beauty, genius, power) actualy cause us to become depressed and unfulfilled. The fame one is particularly poetic; all these people love you, but you can never return that love and they all mean nothing to you. Wealth doesn't make us happy because we always want more. How do people in developing countries end up so much more happier than us, even though they have so much less? We're too preoccupied with getting the latest ipod.

    Beauty is only skin deep, and since beautiful people are always given bullshit compliments, they have a harder time differentiating between that bullshit and genuine compliments. Genius doesn't make us happy because we're constantly looking down on the people around us who are so stupid compared to us. And power... well, power corrupts. We all know that.

    So, what makes us happy?



    Experts have figured out that the brain has no ability to actually predict your emotional reaction to life changes that haven't happened yet. In other words, you physically do not know what you want. The act of sitting around pondering it is apparently what fucks you up.

    This might be because for most of human history, we didn't have time to do that. We were too busy gathering berries and running from wild animals. Now that we've got things so under control that the animals hug us. . . well, we're like the guy up there who didn't know what to do with his lotto winnings.

    This may be why studies show friendships, altruism and religious practices bring happiness. It may be that taking the focus off your own happiness is what makes happiness possible.
    I'll let that sink in...

    So, to reach a perfect happiness, you would have to reject a lot of the things we aren't to keen on rejecting here in the West. Instead of worrying about getting that promotion, or buying that flat screen TV, we should work towards developing relationships and helping people.

    People look at the richest, most powerful man. They say, "Boy, he must be the happiest man alive." But his friends are fake, and his entire life revolves around material possessions instead of human relationships. We all think that we would be happy if we were in his position, with his money, but we wouldn't.

    Research has found that once your basic needs are met, additional income does little to raise your sense of satisfaction with life .

  2. #2
    EmeraldsAndLime

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chillhouse View Post
    Research has found that once your basic needs are met, additional income does little to raise your sense of satisfaction with life .
    I have a hard time believing that, since I think happiness varies from person to person and is really up to every person's own feelings. Who's to say a person with wealth and fake friends isn't happy? What's not to say power, genius and fame can make you feel more alive and invigorated?

    Ignorance is bliss, eh? I think if the person doesn't realise the sham their life is, then they could be genuinely happy with what they've got.

  3. #3

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    i will be happy when DLs are considered "harmless" poeple who enjo alternative clothing prefences, alone, or with mutual company!!
    any volunteers for a "national spokesman"?
    I am too busy and i'd rather my family and neighbors etc NOT find out i wear dipes! I could imagine their biased overreactions (not that i am negative, jsut my gut feeling)

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukie View Post
    I have a hard time believing that, since I think happiness varies from person to person and is really up to every person's own feelings. Who's to say a person with wealth and fake friends isn't happy? What's not to say power, genius and fame can make you feel more alive and invigorated?

    I think the key thing is that this is a general trend, not every single case. Yes, everyone's going to be different, and there are probably some people out there that can be satisfied with wealth and fame. However, my guess is that in general those things aren't as truly satisfying as things like real friendships and other relationships...I don't think any psychological study claims that something is true 100% of the time, just that it is more often than not.


    To be honest, though, to me I've felt this way for a really long time...I've felt that the US at least is way too materialistic and cares too much about the wrong things. It's like the thread made a while ago about simple pleasures...I've felt for the longest time that those kinds of things give us true happiness. For me, those are the things I remember.

    I won't go as far to say that material items don't give any happiness. Hell, I would be way out of my comfort zone without my computer (though I think that that's mostly because of the connections with people and information, so it kind of goes back to the other things). I've also had some very fond memories playing certain video games or watching certain TV shows and movies (though these are usually enhanced when done with friends, which goes back to the relationship aspect). And of course, money does bring about certain basic needs that are necessarily for happiness for me...food...a mode of transportation...a warm bed...my teddy bear (though you might argue that one is a friendship too :P ).

    So like I said, I wasn't surprised by this article. I just feel fortunate to understand it in my life at such a young age, whereas it seems like a lot of people don't realize these things until they're in their 40's.

  5. #5

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    Interesting article!

    I find the "famous" one interesting, as it's one those things that politicians tend to bitch about:
    "Children today... all the the girls want to be pop-stars, and all the boys want to be footballers! It's all about being famous!"

    I don't think being happy involves rejecting anything. In fact I think giving up what fame, wealth, beauty, genius, and power I have (if any) would make more unhappy, just because I'm used to this. I don't even think that striving for more is even a bad thing, as long as I keep in mind that these things aren't for happiness.

  6. #6

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    Money buys a waverunner and a waverunner creates happiness. (Yes that is from Danial Tosh)

  7. #7

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    You need a balance of everything. not too much or too little

  8. #8

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    i'm not going to be able to cite sources here, since this is from an article that a friend told me about. it says that people tend to achieve a level of happiness in early adulthood that changes very little over the course of their lifetimes. in the short term winning the lottery might make you very happy, or having your leg amputated might make you very depressed, but eventually you'll settle back into your old emotional habits. a very happy man who loses a leg is likely to go back to being very happy after he's gotten used to living with one leg.

    there are a few things that can permanently change how happy you are. one of them is meditating. another is getting married. another is having children, but not in the way you'd think -- having children actually tends to make you more unhappy in the long run. in general the happiest people tend to live in very tight communities or tribal societies. an emphasis on family and community seems to be one of the most important things we can strive toward.

    definitely all of the happiest people i know are close to their families and they have solid, stable networks of friends. i've tried to focus on the same goals, and so far i think i can say with confidence that i'm an extraordinarily happy person.

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