In honor of United Nations International Day of Happiness we here at NOI are issuing a challenge. But not before a little education!
What is happiness?
John Reich from Arizona State University summarises happiness as the awareness that you can cause positive events to occur, and that you can prevent negative things from happening to you.
Ingredients for life
Science (with the help of Prof Ed Diener) has created a happiness formula. It includes frequent positive affect (pleasurable feelings), reduced negative affect (painful experiences) and a large amount of life satisfaction. To fit this into your daily life Prof Diener -possibly the happiest man alive? – has listed the following as essential:
1. Psychological wealth is more than money. It is also your attitudes, goals and engaging activities at work.
2. Happiness not only feels good, but is beneficial to relationships, work and health.
3. It is helpful to set realistic expectations about happiness. No one is intensely happy all of the time.
4. Thinking is an important aspect to happiness. His theory of Attention, Interpretation, and Memory (AIM) helps people to increase their psychological wealth.
Attempting to cause as many positive events as you feel capable of – and being successful at them – will set you on the fast track to true happiness. And if you want to drive on that fast track in a Ferrari we recommend a little known happiness booster called altruism. Giving giving causes happiness, and as it turns out, happy people are more likely to give! This starts a little thing called the altruism cycle.
Our challenge to you
NOI are challenging you to start a cycle of your own by performing 1 (or more) altruist act today. It doesn’t need to be big act. You don’t even need to know the person. Buy a bus ticket, pay for someone’s coffee- just do something kind. If you feel strange bout this you can just blame International Happiness Day!
And now dance around to this :)
Diener, E. and Rober-Biswas Diener (2008) Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth. Blackwell: Oxford.