For those of you following along…sorry for the delays. Between break and getting sick I have fallen behind in posting, but am still continuing going through the podcasts and course. I will post week 4 on Tuesday 1/21.
Feel free to share about your thoughts on the podcasts / courses so far!
I am interested to hear how people are navigating the rewirement challenges as well.
Science of Well-Being: Week 2
Understand that simply knowing is not enough to change behavior
Give examples of what things won’t make you as happy as you think they will
Revise and reconsider goals and aspirations that will not lead to improved well-being
Practice savoring and gratitude every day for at least one week
The lecture was based on the idea that we are chasing (generally) five things in life: awesome stuff, true love, perfect body and good grades. What we find out is that materialist attitudes actually led to worse outcomes in happiness twenty years later. Additionally our predicted happiness vs actual happiness regarding positive/negative life events has much less of an effect than we tend to think.
For example students predict that bad grades will lead to a great amount of unhappiness but after receiving their grades (whether good or bad), they reported relatively average happiness. In other words, their grades didn’t impact their happiness nearly as much as they thought they would.
The question of what does make us happy is then debated, and the work of Sonja Lyubomirsky led to this pie chart:
Smcg8374 [CC BY-SA]
Happiness Lab - Ep. 2: The Unhappy Millionaire
Winning the lottery can ruin your life, while contracting an incurable disease can be “a gift”. Dr Laurie Santos hears about dreams come true and nightmares realised, and talks with Dr Dan Gilbert about why human happiness isn’t defined by these major events in the way we all assume.
Science of Well-Being: Week 3
Science of Well Being - Week 3
Understand that our strongest intuitions are often misleading (Annoying Feature of the Mind #1)
Understand that we judge ourselves relative to reference points which are often irrelevant and make us feel worse than we should (Annoying Feature of the Mind #2)
Understand that our minds are programmed to adapt and ultimately get used to things (Annoying Feature of the Mind #3)
Understand that we don’t realize how good we are at adapting and coping and mispredict how certain outcomes will make us feel (Annoying Feature of the Mind #4)
Discover how cognitive biases (Annoying Features of the Mind) impact your daily life
Practice kindness and social connection every day for at least one week
(found in week three of the workbook)
Dr. Santos discussed the four annoying features of the mind which can get in the way of happiness
Annoying Feature #1
Our minds’ strongest intuitions are often totally wrong
Source: Gilbert & Wilson (2000). ”Miswanting: Some problems in the forecasting of future affective states.”
This book excerpt defines miswanting which is the act of being mistaken about what and how much you will like something in the future
Annoying Feature #2
Our minds don’t think in terms of absolutes; our minds judge to relative reference points
Medvec et al. (1995). When less is more: Counterfactual thinking and satisfaction among Olympic medalists.
This paper tells us due to the power of salient reference points, bronze winners tend to be happier than silver medal winners
Annoying Feature #3
Our minds are built to get used to stuff
- Brickman et al. (1978). Lottery winners and accident victims: Is happiness relative?
- This paper tells us we adapt to having more money - even in extreme cases of lottery winners
Annoying Feature #4
We don’t realize that our minds are built to get used to stuff
This paper tells us we mispredict how we will feel if we break up with a significant other - we think we will feel much worse than we actually do
Happiness Lab - Ep. 3: A Silver Lining
Ice skater Michelle Kwan was all set to win Olympic Gold… but in a major sporting upset came second. Sharing her story with Dr Laurie Santos, Michelle lets us in on a key secret to achieving happiness when life doesn’t go to plan.