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Your Kindness Is Good For You

Why we could all use a little more self-examination. [more inside]
posted by ellieBOA on Jul 9, 2014 - 11 comments

Quality of life around the developed world

The OECD has for a long time offered up measures of human wellbeing across a range of indices. Now they've taken the resolution a step further, providing measures of well being at a regional level for 300 regions/provinces/states across the developed world. How does your neck of the woods fare? What other part of the world is comparable to where you live? Allow your location and see.
posted by wilful on Jun 25, 2014 - 44 comments

The time to be HAPPY is NOW

"How can I be happy?" Narrated by Stephen Fry
[more inside]
posted by jammy on Mar 27, 2014 - 46 comments

Legendary

After coming it at #19 in 2012, the great state of North Dakota was the happiest state to live in for 2013, according to The Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Feb 25, 2014 - 31 comments

If Only For A Second

Twenty cancer patients were asked to keep their eyes shut while they were given a makeover. A photographer then immortalized the moment they opened their eyes in front of a one-way mirror.
posted by gman on Dec 8, 2013 - 57 comments

the aspiration curve from youth to old age

Commenting on work by Hannes Schwandt, Peter Levine writes: "Many young adults feel that they are not yet getting what they want from life but expect to get it in five years. In middle age, people are disappointed not to have seen their expectations met and rate themselves dissatisfied. They also expect life to get worse–it won’t offer important new satisfactions or successes, but their health will decline as their years run out. Instead, life does offer new rewards in the later decades, and so people are pleasantly surprised. Mean self-reported satisfaction is the same at age 70 as it was at age 30 (and much higher than it was at 50). What could we do to avoid the dreaded U-curve of satisfaction?" [more inside]
posted by anotherpanacea on Nov 25, 2013 - 46 comments

Don't be Sad; Two out of Three Ain't Bad

Why do we feel happy when we listen to sad music? A study from the Tokyo University of the Arts and RIKEN says that while we expect sad feelings to result from sad music, often the emotions are more neutral or even positive. [more inside]
posted by soelo on Oct 20, 2013 - 14 comments

Those paid more than the value they create are thieves.

Quit. Quit early and quit often, not when something is hard, but when something isn't for you. That's the way you find your genius, (YT) says Prof. Deepak Malhotra, who gave this among other tips to graduating students at Harvard Business School in a speech on how to avoid the tragedy of living an unhappy life. [more inside]
posted by shivohum on Sep 22, 2013 - 48 comments

Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy

Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy - A short essay on happiness, reality, frustration, and generational expectations.
posted by Argyle on Sep 17, 2013 - 297 comments

Life, liberty and the pursuit of fuck-you money

The Quality of Life: As Macaulay once noted: “If men are to wait for liberty till they become good and wise in slavery, they may indeed wait forever.”
posted by Gyan on Aug 2, 2013 - 18 comments

How Redditgifts is making money on altruism

Does giving gifts to strangers make you happier? The people behind redditgifts think so, and are trying to monetize it.
posted by reenum on Jul 13, 2013 - 5 comments

The Benefits of Nostalgia

Home Sweet Home "'I told him I did live my life forward, but sometimes I couldn’t help thinking about the past, and it was rewarding,' he says. 'Nostalgia made me feel that my life had roots and continuity. It made me feel good about myself and my relationships. It provided a texture to my life and gave me strength to move forward.' The colleague remained skeptical, but ultimately Dr. Sedikides prevailed. That lunch in 1999 inspired him to pioneer a field that today includes dozens of researchers around the world using tools developed at his social-psychology laboratory, including a questionnaire called the Southampton Nostalgia Scale. After a decade of study, nostalgia isn’t what it used to be — it’s looking a lot better."
posted by bookman117 on Jul 9, 2013 - 13 comments

Looking for happiness in the everyday

What's on your HappyList? [SLYT] Previously.
posted by holmesian on Mar 22, 2013 - 16 comments

How happy are we?

The UK Office of National Statistics is measuring and reporting on more than just money as a measure of national success The ONS has started a process of measuring and reporting on national wellbeing. They've also made some very pretty animations with the information
posted by Gilgongo on Nov 20, 2012 - 11 comments

Oliver Burkeman: "In order to be truly happy... we might actually need to be willing to experience more negative emotions – or, at the very least, to stop running quite so hard from them."

Oliver Burkeman on happiness through negative thinking: "I think many of the techniques that claim to enable us to achieve happiness don’t work. They are too focused on strenuously stamping out any trace of negativity, rather than cultivating the conditions of real happiness... We are all to some extent in its grip, whenever we think that the way to achieve whatever we’re trying to achieve is to go after it vigorously, and that if we believe it will all work out fine then it will." A "five books" interview with the author of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking. [more inside]
posted by flex on Nov 4, 2012 - 49 comments

two Erics summarize SCIENCE! for life improvement & greater understanding

Barking Up The Wrong Tree distils scientific research, focused on its motto: "I want to understand why we do what we do and use the answers to be awesome at life." With a gradual shift to more digest posts packed with links to summaries & sources, a sampling of the past couple weeks includes: What are 10 things you should do every day to improve your life? - What are 10 things you should do every week to improve your life? - 25 research-based ways to increase your intelligence - What are 7 things that can make you happier in 7 seconds? - 7 steps to never procrastinating again. Another blog along the same lines but less glib & immediate is Peer-Reviewed By My Neurons; recently: How confusion facilitates learning - The science of coming on too strong - Want to be creative? Play Dungeons & Dragons [more inside]
posted by flex on Aug 5, 2012 - 39 comments

Stop measuring happiness!

Happyism: The Creepy New Economics of Pleasure. Economist Dierdre McCloskey, in the New Republic, digs into the mathematical underpinnings of the scientific study of happiness. Executive summary: she doesn't like what she finds.
posted by escabeche on Jun 17, 2012 - 26 comments

Happinness Takes (A Little) Magic

Brian Lam, from the excellent resource the wirecutter, drops some knowledge about what it's like to live a bit more meaningfully. "I owe my livelihood to technology and I love the raw capability it offers us as a tool, but I fear it a bit more than most people do. It's a tool, but it's not quite a hammer, because a hammer doesn't seduce you into sitting around lonely in your underwear for 6 hours at a stretch clicking on youtube videos and refreshing Twitter.
posted by pwally on Feb 2, 2012 - 15 comments

Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen.

30 Things to Stop Doing To Yourself
posted by gauche on Dec 16, 2011 - 158 comments

Wisdom of the Aged.

Back in October, NYT columnist David Brooks asked his older readers (aged 70+) to send him "life reports." He wanted them to appraise their lives, in an effort to glean some life lessons for all of us to learn by. After receiving thousands of replies, he published his assessment of them a couple weeks ago, in two columns (Part 1: Nov 24, 2011; Part 2: Nov 28, 2011). He's also selected specific ones and published them on his blog. [more inside]
posted by crunchland on Dec 6, 2011 - 61 comments

Joy.

This little girl just had surgery to correct her cleft palate. Watch as she sees her "new" smile for the first time, and prepare to experience sheer, pure joy with her. SLYT. [more inside]
posted by tristeza on Sep 19, 2011 - 58 comments

A Happy Life Depicted in Diagrams

The Harvard Study of Adult Development is the longest prospective study of mental and physical well-being ever conducted. For 72 years, researchers at Harvard have been following 824 individuals through war, career, marriage and divorce, parenthood and grandparenthood, and old age. Designer Laura Javier took ten of those cases and visualized them in the Elements of Happiness. [via flowingdata]
posted by anifinder on Jun 27, 2011 - 13 comments

There is no perfect pasta sauce: there are only perfect pasta sauces!

"The mind knows not what the tongue wants." We all take variability and niche markets for granted these days, but back in the 70's and 80's, the American food industry was obsessed with the so-called platonic dish - a perfect and universal way to serve a food. Howard Moskowitz, of prego fame, helped explode the idea in the food industry and beyond. In this TED talk, Malcom Gladwell, tells you all about it and why variability matters a lot. [more inside]
posted by fantodstic on Jun 24, 2011 - 48 comments

The little team full of heart

L'equip petit - "... if one day I score, I'll be so happy that I'll fly."
posted by madamjujujive on Jun 23, 2011 - 12 comments

Something is rotten.

Denmark is the happiest place on Earth! At least according to 24/7 Wall Street, which has released their list of the 10 "Happiest" Countries in the World. Determined using "11 measurements of quality of life including housing, income, jobs, community, education, the environment, health, work-life balance, and life satisfaction," the United States did not make the cut. The US, however, made it to #1 on the list of the 10 Countries with the Most Millionaires. [more inside]
posted by eunoia on Jun 6, 2011 - 98 comments

Your Commute Is Killing You

One of the best things you can do to increase your happiness is to move closer to where you work. [Previously]
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear on May 28, 2011 - 161 comments

Recent research related to children

Recent research on children. (1) Brothers and sisters who argue a lot can improve their language, social skills and outcomes: Guardian article; paper on part of the research (pdf). (2) First findings from Understanding Society. Conclusions include: the unhappiness of children’s mothers with their partners affect children’s happiness, but this is not the case if children’s fathers are unhappy in their relationships; having older brothers or sisters doesn’t appear to affect children’s happiness, but having younger brothers or sisters is associated with less happiness; not living with both natural parents has a greater negative impact on a young person’s life satisfaction than their material situation. (3) A longitudinal study on people now in their forties has found that for these people reading is linked to career success, though not necessarily to better pay, whilst playing computer games and doing no other activities was associated with less likelihood of going to university. In particular, those who owned a ZX Spectrum or Commodore C64 were less likely to go to university. thinq interview with researcher. Guardian article. Telegraph article. (4) Poll about children’s attitudes to losing in sport. Press release. Data from children’s survey. Data from parents’ survey. (All three are PDFs.)
posted by paduasoy on Apr 9, 2011 - 30 comments

more of the same

Life after Capitalism - Beyond capitalism, it seems, stretches a vista of... capitalism: [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 25, 2011 - 33 comments

Life is probably getting worse

"Affluence breeds impatience, and impatience undermines well-being." Avner Offer is the professor of economic history at the University of Oxford, and he is interested in the well-being of people and families in liberal market societies. His latest work, The Challenge of Affluence: Self-Control and Well-Being in the United States and Britain since 1950, is an empirical socioeconomic history of the effects that liberal and neo-liberal economics has had on happiness, relationships, and social welfare. Specifically, he argues that Reaganism/Thatcherism catapulted forward the ability to produce new goods and services, and to create the desire for them, far ahead of society's ability to cope. Reagan and Thatcher "smashed the family to pieces;" the result of market liberalism is societies of ever-more dissatisfied, atomized, unhappy communities of dual-worker consumerist families.
posted by r_nebblesworthII on Nov 19, 2010 - 51 comments

Refreshingly blunt

America: The Grim Truth [more inside]
posted by knz on Nov 13, 2010 - 126 comments

"This is how science (unlike religion) works: in the end it's the data that counts."

New evidence of religion's reproductive, cooperative, and personal benefits militates against the belief that religion is a "virus of the mind." [more inside]
posted by anotherpanacea on Sep 19, 2010 - 315 comments

75,000 is the magic number

"We infer that beyond about $75,000/y, there is no improvement whatever in any of the three measures of emotional well-being." Two social scientists at Princeton, Angus Deaton and Nobelist Daniel Kahneman, have a new paper in PNAS about money and the determinants of happiness. Increased income above $75,000 is not associated with higher subjective happiness, though it is associated with superior scores on measures of overall life satisfaction. Other tidbits: "Religion has a substantial influence on improving positive affect and reducing reports of stress, but no effect on reducing sadness or worry... The presence of children at home is associated with significant increases in stress, sadness, and worry."
posted by escabeche on Sep 8, 2010 - 49 comments

$$ = :) ??

On money and happiness Takeaway: buying stuff doesn't make you happier, although investing in experiences that strengthen social and familial bonds can. Interestingness: savings increased to 6.5% this year and some experts think this is permanent; conspicuous consumption is shifting to calculated consumption; “There’s massive literature on income and happiness. It’s amazing how little there is on how to spend your money.” [more inside]
posted by erikvan on Aug 9, 2010 - 57 comments

Learning to underthink a plate of beans.

On Self-Delusion and Bounded Rationality A short story by M.I.T. faculty member Scott Aaronson about a woman whose rationality got in the way of her happiness. [more inside]
posted by Obscure Reference on Jul 24, 2010 - 92 comments

I don’t care that I’ve never seen Paris

For Jessica [more inside]
posted by Luddite on Jul 23, 2010 - 58 comments

planning a revolution? contribute to greater net good by doing better

Moving beyond GDP for an information-based society - If indeed[1,2] "A 'Quantum Leap' in Governance" is needed[3] then, as part of the solution,[4] we might start looking past GDP[5,6] and perhaps more toward "betterness instead of business, pursue awesomeness instead of innovation — and maximize good, instead of quarterly profits..." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 16, 2010 - 29 comments

As women get older they get sadder...

I'm just not sure that "happiness" is supposed to be the stable human condition, and I think it's punishing that we're constantly being pushed to achieve it. Screw Happiness, an essay on the folly of using happiness as a measure to define women's lives.
posted by desjardins on May 10, 2010 - 84 comments

Pessimism

Pandora, Prometheus, and Pessimism. "Pessimism deserves serious consideration in today’s culture of Oprah-quick-fix happiness, Prozac induced euphoria, and unjustified optimism for our species. Unlike Oprah and Prozac, pessimism is not easy to swallow. It is time we consider this tradition in a culture steeped in farcical, puerile conceptions of happiness; an environment where every person who is able to grin on a book-cover can tell us how to achieve happiness now; where angels or god or some other fairy-tale character cares about our actions in this world. Life is not a grand, heroic narrative with a happy ending. It is not a place where we are overcoming obstacles in order to achieve a time in our lives of perfect serenity. In order to combat such serious obstructions to clear-thought, boundaries to reality and gateways to delusion, pessimism can help us shape our thoughts on matters which resonate with all us rational, bipedal apes."
posted by homunculus on Apr 15, 2010 - 65 comments

Money can't buy me love....

Everybody Have Fun. In 1978, a trio of psychologists curious about happiness assembled two groups of subjects. In the first were winners of the Illinois state lottery. These men and women had received jackpots of between fifty thousand and a million dollars. In the second group were victims of devastating accidents. How happy had they been before these events? How about now? How about expectations for the future? These and other results have shown that hitting the jackpot fails to lift spirits along with a whole range of activities that people tend to think will make them happy (getting a raise, moving to California, or having kid). Is the United States a nation of joyless lottery winners? And are there implications for public policy decisions?
posted by bluesky43 on Mar 19, 2010 - 47 comments

Change Your Mind Change Your Brain

Change your mind, change your brain - Matthieu Ricard talks about creating the inner conditions for authentic happiness, and the effects of meditation on the brain. [more inside]
posted by MetaMonkey on Jan 31, 2010 - 17 comments

The Happiest State

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index is a survey that rated the 50 states of America from most to least happiest, based on things like emotional health, job satisfaction, and healthy decisions. The top states may surprise you.
posted by Taft on Nov 16, 2009 - 96 comments

The revolution will not be [make your own joke here].

We think it’s normal to work all day every day at a dead-end job. It’s normal to fight with our spouses and our children. It’s normal to eat and drink and drug ourselves to escape, to veg out and stare at a screen for hours a day just to dull the pain. It’s normal to hate our lives and be miserable, it’s normal to be lonely, it’s normal to feel hollow. The Freak Revolution Manifesto.
posted by fiercecupcake on Oct 2, 2009 - 97 comments

"Let people live in your heart"

Children Full of Life - grade 4 students in Kanazawa, Japan learn deep life lessons from their incredible teacher and from each other. I strongly recommend this as awesome, but one caveat: keep tissues handy. (5 parts, 40 minutes total, English)
posted by madamjujujive on Jul 25, 2009 - 48 comments

Are those $100's in your wallet or are you just happy to see me?

When Money Buys Happiness. List the ten most expensive things (products, services or experiences) that you have ever paid for (including houses, cars, university degrees, marriage ceremonies, divorce settlements and taxes). Then, list the ten items that you have ever bought that gave you the most happiness. Count how many items appear on both lists. [more inside]
posted by zinfandel on Jul 2, 2009 - 82 comments

does this house make my butt look too big?

ladies: is your house making you fat? and unhappy? [more inside]
posted by msconduct on Jun 24, 2009 - 61 comments

Happy Stabbiversary!

Fourteen years ago I was stabbed in the throat.
posted by william_boot on Jun 3, 2009 - 47 comments

What Makes Us Happy?

Is there a formula—some mix of love, work, and psychological adaptation—for a good life? For 72 years, researchers at Harvard have been examining this question, following 268 men who entered college in the late 1930s through war, career, marriage and divorce, parenthood and grandparenthood, and old age. Here, for the first time, a journalist gains access to the archive of one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies in history. What Makes Us Happy?
posted by allkindsoftime on May 12, 2009 - 57 comments

YMMV. Greatly.

Think having children will make you happy? Think again, suggests Nattavudh Powdthavee – you’re experiencing a focusing illusion [pdf]. [via.]
posted by you just lost the game on Mar 27, 2009 - 165 comments

great generation or greatest generation?

Now is the time for a less selfish capitalism - "we should stop the worship of money and create a more humane society where the quality of human experience is the criterion... accelerated economic growth is not a goal for which we should make large sacrifices." Lord Layard challenges the orthodoxy; perhaps it's time to rein in the banks and try trickle-up bailouts? btw Richard Layard's 2003 LSE happiness lectures I think were pretty influential in reorienting economics back towards a more 'utility-based' approach in recent years, cf. Giddens on 'third way' politics re: Blair, New Labour and now Brown, viz. "to build tomorrow today..." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 15, 2009 - 14 comments

The voices of happiness

What does happiness sound like? Maybe Anna knows. Charles Spearin explores. Mrs. Morris - Vanessa [more inside]
posted by bigmusic on Feb 15, 2009 - 3 comments

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