If you’re not a natural Pollyanna, take heart. “Research shows that change is possible, even if you’ve had the same mindset since you were 10 years old,” says happiness researcher Shawn Achor, head of GoodThink and author of The Happiness Advantage. “When it comes to things like pessimism, genes may play a role, but they’re not the end of the story.”
Willing yourself to be more optimistic probably won’t get you very far, but focusing on what you’re grateful for can shift your outlook, he says.
A more interesting study would be to see how much more effective a $5000 robot seal would be vs. a $10 stuffed animal seal. In the last days of my dad’s dementia when he was in his final care facility for people like that, there were a lot of patients with baby dolls which they loved and cared for. None of them looked like they cost anywhere near $5000.
Pet rats are wonderful. They’re smart, playful, affectionate, and often hilarious. I think it’s important to distinguish between the kind you willingly keep your home, and the wild kind (especially the huge city-dwellers).
Cats have been a thing on the Internet almost as long as we’ve had the World Wide Web. Cat memes are legion, and social media has made stars of felines like Sockington, Maru, and Lil Bub (who is even having her genome sequenced). There are festivals and art installation raves about cat videos. Jessica Myrick, a professor at Indiana University, set out to quantify the behavioral effect of exposure to all those cat videos, and the results have just been published in the journal Computers and Human Behavior.
You might assume that the length of your commute is the main thing that affects how pleasant or nightmarish it is. But a number of studies show that the mode of transportation you take is also really important — both in terms of how happy (or unhappy) you are with your commute, and your overall chance of obesity.
I commute by bike to work. It takes me as long to do by bike as it does to commute by car – that’s in the morning, when there’s no traffic. In the evening, I pass lots of cars stuck in traffic. A co-worker who lives in the area told me that the commute by car took them over an hour one day.
Criteria like housing prices, population density, and crime rates are often emphasized when people consider the desirability of living in an urban area. These “livability” factors are associated with higher life satisfaction, both directly (by making the lives of residents better) and indirectly (because more affluent and satisfied people live in these neighborhoods).
However, according to a recent PNAS paper, these livability factors can only account for two-thirds of the difference in life satisfaction, with a large portion of the difference being attributed to something more surprising: a match between personality and neighborhood. In London, personality traits cluster in different neighborhoods and contribute to the life satisfaction of the residents there.
In other news: Your personality influences where you work—and how happy you’ll be there.
A majority of people tend to take their own conclusions about things and project them onto others, equating what they think they need and want and believe into what other people need and want and believe. Happiness, as a transitive emotional state, is the most relative thing in the world to try to measure.
People tend to adapt and don’t want to live in an unsatisfied state. Mankind is a tribal creature, and tends to emulate the behaviors of others when in crowded situations (such as a large city like London) in order to “fit in”. Most people tend to stay in a relatively small geographical region and will then emulate the behaviors of that region. Not wanting to seem “outside the tribe” they may even think that they’re “happy”. It’s not that their personality influences where they live, or how happy they are there. At least not for most people, which is what the study concludes. It may well be that the opposite occurs due to man’s tribal nature.