The Science Of Gratitude
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It seems simplistic, but remembering to say "thank you" can turn your day, your month, or even your year around. It's true (science says so). There's only so much you can control in this world, but counting your blessings has been proven to make a positive difference. According to a 2003 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, not only can gratitude make you feel better by reducing toxic emotions, but it can also influence how you take care of your health. In the study, three groups of participants were assigned to keep a journal. One group was instructed to list five things they were grateful for in the past week, another group recorded neutral events, and the last group documented five daily hassles that got in the way of their day. The grateful people in the study reported feeling more optimistic and better about their lives overall, in addition to exercising more and experiencing fewer physical ailments.
Bhutan's Gross National Happiness Outranks Its Gross Domestic Product
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Money can't buy happiness. That's just as true for individuals as it is for governments. In Bhutan, a Buddhist kingdom nestled in the Himalayas between India and China, they've turned that truism into government policy.
Eat Fruits And Veggies To Boost Your Happiness
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It's common knowledge that fruits and vegetables are vital parts of a nutritious diet. Recent research shows strong evidence that eating fruits and veggies provides even more positive benefits than just for your physical health. Reported in July 2016, researchers at the University of Warwick found evidence that eating fruits and vegetables is associated with a substantial increase in happiness levels. In the study, happiness increased for each extra daily portion of fruit and vegetables up to eight portions per day. This was one of the first major scientific attempts to look at the link between eating fruits and vegetables and positive psychological effects. Some researchers believe there is a link between optimism and blood levels of carotenoid, which is present in many fruits and vegetables, although more research is needed. We've collected some awesome videos on this topic. Watch them now to learn more.
The More Choices You Have, The Less Happy You Are
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For a 2000 study led by psychologists Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper, researchers put out two different jam displays in a supermarket, each on different days. On the first day, shoppers saw 24 different jams on the table; on the second, they saw only six. Though more shoppers sampled jam at the larger display, the final sales told a different story: people who saw the large display were one-tenth as likely to buy jam as those who saw the small one. This study demonstrated what became known as the "paradox of choice," the contrarian phenomenon that makes our satisfaction decrease as our number of options increase, even while we think more choice is what we really want. It should be noted, however, that this phenomenon doesn't play out in every scenario. For example, other studies have found something called "single option aversion," where customers faced with two choices are more likely to buy one than if there's just a single product. How choices are categorized also makes a difference in how much "choice paralysis" we experience. Still, the anxiety people feel over too much choice is a very real phenomenon in the right circumstances, as many studies have shown: there are examples of how employees faced with a wide variety of retirement plans are less likely to participate in one at all, and accounts of companies trying to save money by discontinuing products in certain categories that have inexplicably boosted sales in the process. We've collected some awesome videos on this topic. Watch them now to learn more.
from The RSA
Key Facts to Know
Psychologists have observed that overwhelming choice creates the feeling of anxiety. It also pacifies people by freezing them in a state of indecisiveness. 0:55
Choices provoke anxiety for a few reasons. 2:31
Self-criticism and anxiety over your choices are reasons that the ideology of choice can actually prevent social change. 8:50
Living In Sight Of Water Can Make You Happier
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It's been scientifically proven that images of seascapes are calming. But before now, science hasn't known whether that calming effect extends to living near water, where you have a daily view of what scientists call "blue space." In a 2016 study, researchers used anonymous answers from New Zealand's national health survey to compare people's mental health to how much green or blue space they could see from their Wellington homes. They found an association between a view of the ocean and lower psychological stress, even when accounting for income and crime. A view of green space, such as a park or a playing field, didn't have that effect. It should be said that this association doesn't necessarily mean that a view of the water makes you happy; happier people may just be drawn to ocean views. If the study can be reproduced, it may help create calmer, happier cities.And since we're thinking about relaxing, here are some videos about other tricks to tapping into that calming effect.