Science of Happiness

This morning I watched a very interested TED Talk on happiness, which is obviously very relative to me given yesterday’s blog post.

In the Talk, Dan Gilbert discusses the idea of synthetic happiness, the concept that we can manufacture our own happiness, even if we don’t get what we want.

We smirk because we believe that synthetic happiness is not of the same qualty as what we might call natural happiness.

This really struck out to me. It reminds me of another TED talk discussing the paradox of choice, the phenomenon where people with more choices are less happy because they’re worried that they won’t make the correct choice.

We are apparently really bad at predicting our own happiness due to something called impact bias: we overstate the impact that getting what we want will have on us. Instead of striving to always get what we want, focusing on our mental states of mind will have a far deeper, longer-lasting effect on our happiness. Cool.

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