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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What makes us happiest?


A February study focused on happiness as it relates to what gives us greater happiness- new possessions or experiences. What won out?
• People may like those new toys but research indicated that in the long run experiences make people happier than acquiring new possessions
• They discovered that the joy of the acquired possession such as a new car or computer fades over time where experiences seem to last longer on the happiness scale

Most of us think that getting new things, especially in this recession would make us happy, but what were some of the reasons for this surprise finding?

• Experiences tend to somehow get us more connected with people. We do the experience with others, or share pictures or talk about our experiences more than our possessions.
• People feel greater vitality and “aliveness” when they have experiences that add to their life, versus possessions
• Happiness from a new thing lasts 8-12 weeks, but experiences create memories that can last for a lifetime.
• Most people say they wouldn’t trade anything in the world after experiencing a great adventure

We’ve discussed the fact that the quality of our friendships enhances our happiness levels, but how can we make our selves more likeable to increase our potential for happiness?
• Smile more. No surprise, studies show that the more you smile during a conversation, the more you are perceived as happy. If you smile more, others mimic that behavior
• Have an open, friendly disposition. Lean in towards people, touch others, turn your body towards theirs, and nod and say yes as they speak. This means focusing on the other person, versus checking your emails or twitter account while you are talking to someone.
• Laugh at yourself. Showing vulnerability and humor makes you more approachable and likeable. That doesn’t mean putting yourself down—it means just keeping it light. Remember laughter is contagious.
• Show you like the other person. We want to get closer to those who act like they like us—it’s no surprise. Look for ways to show that you enjoy spending time with the other person…. It will pay off in raising your happiness quotient as well as theirs

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