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Albert Einstein described happiness as a state of mind brought by a calm and modest life, not by the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.Emily Esfahani Smith, a positive psychology instructor from the University of Pennsylvania, explained that in spite of our obsession to achieve happiness, its true meaning is deeper than understood.
"Many psychologists define happiness as a state of comfort and ease, feeling good in the moment.Meaning, though, is deeper," said Smith.
Smith pointed out that a deeper sense of happiness comes from belongingness and serving something larger than yourself, and from developing the best inside you.The feeling of long-lasting happiness may be delivered by self-appreciation, helping others, having a purpose, and loving oneself, rather than achieving goals related to material things.
Smith also shared that chasing happiness by following the path to success, such as getting a better job, finding a perfect romantic partner, and living in a beautiful apartment can lead to anxiety and confusion.That approach to search happiness seems to be connected to a study in 2011 about seeking happiness leading to people's unhappiness.
"Happiness is a key ingredient of well-being.It is thus reasonable to expect that valuing happiness will have beneficial outcomes.We argue that this may not always be the case.Instead, valuing happiness could be self-defeating, because the more people value happiness, the more likely they will feel disappointed," said the researchers.The study also expressed that valuing happiness could be self-defeating because more people tend to value happiness itself that increased the effect of disappointment if the source of happiness is within grasp yet unreachable.
"Even though life is getting objectively better by nearly every conceivable standard, more people feel hopeless, depressed and alone," said Smith.
Improved Standards of Personal Living
Science and technology have helped lives in almost every aspect, such as medicine, transportation, and communication.Today, people can indulge in social applications like Facebook and Instagram to converse with people around the world.But can these apps make us truly happy?
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1.Social Media PlatformsA research study from the University of Leuven in Belgium found that Instagram can help people, particularly adolescents, cope with social anxiety and depression.But the researchers also found out that using the app does not bring someone closer to friends and can potentially hurt users.One example is Selena Gomez who told Vogue that she became an addict with Instagram and ended up feeling like crap after looking at the app.
2.Dating AppsThere are several dating apps accessible through web browsers that can also be downloaded our mobile devices, such as Skout and Tinder.But a research study revealed that regular use of these apps can lead to lower self-esteem.The study was published in June 2017 and highlighted that Tinder users reported lower levels of satisfaction with their face and body image.These users also experienced high levels of shame about how their bodies looked.The study also revealed that users of the app were more attentive and focused on physical attributes.
3.Occupational StressA high-paying job usually makes people happy because they can now spend more money to buy expensive items or start investing for long-term goals, such as getting a new house.However, high-paying jobs have bigger responsibilities that may lead to occupational stress.Employees who cannot control their work have increased stress and this reduces motivation, and eventually, lack of happiness.
Tips to Have a Meaningful Life
Smith discussed at the Technology, Entertainment, and Design conference that there are ways to achieve a happier and more meaningful life.
- Be with people who value you and your value as well.
- Find a purpose and use your strengths to serve others as the sense of your purpose.
- Achieve the transcendent state or an experience beyond normal feelings and is larger than life.
- Control your life story by interpreting the events of your life.Getting the meaning of each good and bad event will give you something to hold on to.
Happy Brain Hormones
Whenever we achieve something positive out of life's experience, our brains produce hormones that make us feel happy, rewarded, and proud.
1.Dopamine is responsible for motivating us to reach our goals and claim the rewards.The hormone can give you blissful and pleasurable experience when you achieve a task.
2.Oxytocin is a linked to social bonding and romantic attachment.Whenever we share a moment with someone close to us, oxytocin is produced and promotes emotional attachment, and it improves trust and loyalty.
3.Endorphin is a natural pain-killer in our body, produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus.Exercising, working out, and performing strenuous activities allow the production of endorphins,
4.Gamma-aminobutyric acid is found in the central nervous system, and this gives a sense of calmness.Calming techniques like medication and yoga promote the production of GABA that reduces anxiety and stress while improving focus.
5.Serotonin plays a lot of major roles in the body and it is commonly represented by confidence.Regular achievement of goals every day no matter how big or small increases the production of serotonin.Challenge yourself to pursue objectives and finish tasks to give deeper meaning of your life's purpose to get more serotonin.The hormone improves sleeping patterns, self-esteem, and confidence while lowering depression, anxiety, and food cravings.