Happiness Essential Reads

What’s the Best Way to React to an Insult?

Insults live at the bottom of the scale of socially appropriate behavior. Because our first tendency is to be polite, especially with people we don’t know very well, it’s not always clear whether to respond in kind or turn the other cheek. Here’s some guidance for how to handle these confusing situations.

Will an Optimist Win the Election?

Studies have shown that optimistic leaders are perceived to be more effective, and happier people are even judged to be more likely to go to Heaven. But wouldn’t it be nice if psychological scientists could analyze the positivity of presidential candidates and relate it to the outcomes of actual elections? As luck would have it, two U Penn researchers already have.

Playfulness Is a Spiritual Practice

By Bernard L. De Koven on November 23, 2015 On Having Fun
Being playful, the very understanding of the purpose of games is redefined. Games are no longer about winning or even about cooperating. They are all and only about celebrating our capacity for having fun together.

An Evolutionist’s List of Thanks

From an evolutionary perspective, gratitude is a significant social emotion. It drives us to connect with others - and it works to remind us of the fact that we are always part of something larger than ourselves. Here is a list of 6 things to be grateful for this Thanksgiving (and all other days of the year as well).

The End of Rural Communities: Why Young People Leave

Research shows that young people prefer to remain in their rural communities if they have access to education and employment opportunities. It will take governments and the private sector to build resilient rural spaces that stop out-migration.

Shame and Envy in the World of Social Media

From a mental health standpoint, you should be more likely to browse through the Facebook posts of your friends and acquaintances to make yourself feel better. The reality is that social networks can just as often stimulate the unpleasant emotions of shame and envy. Here's how to shrug off those posts that peeve you.

RID Yourself of Psychological Distress

By Tim Carey Ph.D. on November 19, 2015 In Control
When correcting any problem, the way in which the trouble is understood will have a large bearing on how effective and efficient the remediation efforts are.

How Your Emotions Really Work

It can be the opposite of what you think.

Top 10 Unpopular Strategies to Boost Happiness

When it comes to boosting well-being, some exercises get all the attention (e.g.., mindfulness) and some get little attention. This post offers 10 powerful but rarely discussed interventions that emerge from well-being research.

You Can't Have Pleasure Without Pain

The research is clear - you need to endure some pain if you want to live a truly happy life.

On the Rebound!

By Erica B Slotter Ph.D. on November 13, 2015 Me, You, & Us
Are rebound relationships a good idea? Recent research suggests that they may not be as bad for us as popular belief might suggest.

4 Unexpected Benefits of Gratitude

By Amie M. Gordon PhD on November 12, 2015 Between You and Me
As more researchers turn their attention to gratitude, we are learning about the widespread and sometimes surprising benefits of having a more grateful outlook. Here are four findings that suggest gratitude might play a role in how we clean, sleep, and save money.

An Epidemic of Hopelessness?

Depression and suicide are on the rise, while life spans decline. Part of the reason is our politics.

The Hundred Kinds of Silence

By Sam Osherson Ph.D. on November 11, 2015 Listen Up!
Do you wonder how to deepen your conversations? How to connect more fully with yourself? A few well-placed silences can make all the difference.

When Worries Get to You, This Can Help

For most of us, there’s plenty to worry about in our lives. However, some people seem to figure out how to keep their worries down to a minimum. Whether you’re a chronic or sometime worrier, you can benefit from learning their secrets.

Why Doesn’t Increased Wealth Always Make Countries Happier?

By Art Markman Ph.D. on November 09, 2015 Ulterior Motives
The United States seems to exist in a state of perpetual political campaign these days. Politicians play on people’s dissatisfaction and unhappiness as they talk about why they will be able to make things better. The hidden assumption of this work is that if the economy improves, people will be happier.

Why Women Over-Apologize: How and Why To Stop It!

What drives women to over-apologize? And why you need to get a grip.

Why Is Denmark the Happiest Country in the World?

Denmark's social democratic public policies and its labor market policies illustrate what the scholarly literature suggests are the most important determinants of human well-being.

50 Isn't the New 30 (and Why That’s a Good Thing)

By Deborah Carr Ph.D. on November 08, 2015 Bouncing Back
What Gen Xers need to know, as the big 5-0 looms.

This Could Be the Way to Get People to Appreciate You

Do you ever feel that people don’t appreciate what you do? Whether at work or in your personal life, you may feel that your efforts justify more recognition than you’re getting. Turn your resentment into positive results with this simple tip.

Why Adults Are Less Happy Than They Used to Be

Why American adults aren't as happy as they used to be.

Sex and Happiness: Natural Allies or Strange Bedfellows?

By Noam Shpancer Ph.D. on November 05, 2015 Insight Therapy
Sex and happiness are linked, we know that. How exactly are sex and happiness linked? We don’t know that.

The Search For Meaning

The vast majority of humans need some meaning to our lives beyond acquiring, consuming and devouring. The search for meaning might be a belief in a benevolent, omniscient God, but spiritual states and beliefs exist for non-believers as well. That Search for a Sense of Believing (along with Being, Belonging and Benevolence) enables us to fulfill and evaluate our lives.

How to Strengthen Your Brain's Happiness Circuitry

By Alex Korb Ph.D. on November 04, 2015 PreFrontal Nudity
I used to think that being happier was all about teaching yourself to think more positively. But often the most powerful path to increasing happiness is to strengthen the right brain circuits by using these five simple neuroscience tips.

The Genius of Instinct

If you want to thrive in life, begin to use the genius of your instincts.

The Neglected Art of Receiving

We're told that it is better to give than to receive. We may strive to love, but to what extent do we allow ourselves to be loved? People who are narcissistic do not know how to lovingly extend themselves to others. But narcissism can also take the form of being so guarded and self-absorbed that we don't let love in.

Still Hooked on Books

By Susan Hooper on October 30, 2015 Detours and Tangents
In a world of 140-character tweets and other fast-paced electronic distractions, I continue to derive knowledge, inspiration and solace from books.

5 Reasons We Resist Therapy (and 4 Reasons We Shouldn't)

By Suzanne Gelb Ph.D., J.D. on October 30, 2015 All Grown Up
Are you wanting to change your life, and you’re curious about therapy or coaching, but feel hesitant? Here are some ideas on what might be holding you back, and why. There is no investment that offers a greater return than your investment in yourself.

7 Ways to Make Your Happiness Last

The ability to hang on to good feelings is an important aid to our emotional well-being, but it doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Those struggling with depression, for example, find that surges of pleasure fade like shooting stars instead of providing a lasting glow.

Not Everything Happens for a Reason

Loss, suffering, hurt, trauma, these are not things we “get over,” they are things we learn to put into perspective and that become a part of who we are becoming.