In my Part 1 blog post, I shared thoughts on two topics: 1) we're wrong about what will make us happy; and 2) why we are so wrong about what make us happy. Check it out first before you read this post.
The second portion of this class focuses on what actually makes us happy, and how we motivate ourselves to do more of those. Here're the stuff that actually makes us happy:
- It's so simple, yet it's true. Exercise keeps you healthy - physically and mentally. Learn about the basics of exercise and fitness from a credible source such as Harvard Health.
- To get started, YouTube has some great FREE workout videos. I recently found the BodyFit by Amy channel and absolutely love it. She's a certified personal trainer in LA. her videos are energetic, easy to follow, and most importantly focuses on form - which is very important for beginners to avoid injury. All you need is a mat, two dumbells, and some space at home!
- Awesome experience, not awesome stuff
- This is the most interesting point to me. Because of the annoying feature of hedonic adaptation, our mind adjusts itself to material goods or any luxury good pretty quick. We'll end up always going after the better, more expensive, more luxurious stuff. However, it's different for experiences. Due to the fact we can't own an experience the way we own a car, a bag, a house, we actually come to cherish good experience more. The key is to be in the moment and learn how to savor the experience. So if you have $500 and not sure if you want to buy a fancy watch, or book a quick weekend vacation with your loved one, it's almost always a better idea to go for that vacation.
- Professor Elizabeth Dunn from British Columbia University conducted a series of research, where she gives people $5 and they could either buy themselves something, or buy someone else something. Then she tracks their happiness afterwards. The result is very interesting - people who bought something for others have a higher increase in happiness, compared to those used the $5 on themselves. She repeated the similar experiment in different settings, in developed countries like Canada as well as third world countries where $5 is a lot more money. The finding remains consistent.
- So, doing something nice for other people, no matter how small it might be, could make you happier.
- Social Connection
- We don't talk to each other anymore. On the train, we put AirPods on. We read. We look down on our phone. However, research shows just being surrounded by someone make an experience better. Talking to someone while eating a piece of chocolate seems to make it better!
So there you go. Scientifically proven ways to make you happier. It's nothing earth shattering really. Things that we inherently have known for years probably. How do we achieve them though?
Professor Laura Santos shared a method - WOOP.
WOOP stands for: wish, outcome, obstacles, plan. Again, it's scientifically developed. Over 20 years of research has proven WOOP works. Generally it works like this:
- Wish: envision something you really really want, something if you could do, can make your life much better.
- Outcome: if you are successful, what outcomes will you achieve?
- Obstacles: what might be in your way to achieve your outcomes? Focus on the inner barriers. List them out.
- Plan: what can you do to overcome the barriers. If (obstacle)..., I will...(action/thoughts).
Check out the WOOP website to learn more.
Hope you get to check out the "Science of Well Being" course after reading this post!