Over the past handful of years, I have been talking and reveling a lot about the science of happiness, and my happiness from having learned that science through courses at Yale and Berkeley online. I do this enough that there’s even a header menu choice for “happiness” on my blog, even though there’s not a huge number of posts under it. That’s how much I value trying to catch people’s attention with it to share it with them! For all of its value and my intent, though, I find that talking about the science and pursuit of happiness in life occasionally rubs people the wrong way, or lead them to think I’m really misguided since I’d never be happy if I’m always chasing something I can’t get, right? Yes, except that I’m really working to maintain as much of something as I can, though that wasn’t quite right, either. I am not trying to be ecstatic or even perky sort of happy throughout most of my days, which is not what the courses taught, either. I am just pursuing a general feeling of bliss throughout as much for as many of my days as possible, and minimizing stresses and/or things that get me down, stressful or not. But how to properly explain that? Well, recently, the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley which had taught me the Science of Happiness course came to the rescue. Contentment, was the word I was seeking and meaning to use, not happiness, and it makes a huge world of difference!
On today’s No Stupid Questions podcast, there was mention of a study on the value of psychotherapy where the study authors (not the podcasters), stated psychotherapy had no value, and arrogantly added, therefore, all the studies that showed psychotherapy had value were now in question. I’ll address that arrogance later, but in the meanwhile, I’ll address the problem with that study’s bias that the podcasters, economist Stephen Dubner and psychologist, Angela Duckworth, didn’t fully reconcile, to my surprise.
Some practical advice on how to get yourself some motivation for any time, not just at the start of a new year or new decade! See the Happiness Lab Podcast in Twitter link below.
Fresh Start Effect
Extra motivation we get when we deem something to be a fresh start for ourselves.
A motivation technique to bundle something you are tempted by with something productive you are less keen on (eg. audiobook listening while exercising).
Psychological Immune System
A concept parallel to the physical immune system, to describe one’s ability to resist or accept change, both good and bad, the way the physical immune system can reject things intended to be good for the body like organ transplants.
- More info from Psychology Today
The linked article doesn’t offer the same definition, and doesn’t talk about the resistance to good changes, either. I learned about the concept in a more easily understandable way via the episode of the new The Happiness Lab podcast linked below.
I recently completed two courses on the science of happiness. The first was the Science of Well-being course from Yale, on Coursera, offered by Professor Laurie Santos. The second was the Science of Happiness offered by the UC Berkeley on their edX platform. From those two courses that were fairly complementary, I have put together a presentation not just on the science of happiness, but what it says to help you become happier, that summarizes the content of the courses, for which there was plenty! Links on the side of each slide lets you access much more information than the practical aspects I touch upon for this to be useful. While the courses are about the science of happiness, their content is geared towards making the learner happier, and that is lens through which I am presenting it. The science on its own isn’t terribly great if you don’t or can’t use it for something good, right?
Below is the presentation in 3 formats, pending how you want to view them.