How to Choose Happiness: Combat 5 Decision-Making Biases

Choosing happiness can be hard work, but the effort often pays off.

“Life is the sum of all your choices.” –Albert Camus

Happiness is in our hands if only we could make the right decisions in life. Decisions often rely on making accurate predictions of how we will feel in the future. Unfortunately for us psychologists have shown that there are five major biases in the way we predict our future emotional states.

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Forget Rich Lists, Read the ‘Happy List’

The Wealth List, Power List, Influence List, Celebrity List… almost every week some publication or other is worshipping at the shrine of the wealthy and famous.

As an antidote to ‘rich lists’, the Independent on Sunday has produced a ‘Happy List’:

“The Wealth List, Power List, Influence List, Celebrity List… almost every week some publication or other is worshipping at the shrine of the wealthy and famous. Today, ‘The Sunday Times’ produces its famous Rich List, an entire magazine devoted to the moneyed. About time, then, we thought, that someone produced an antidote. So here it is: the Happy List, celebrating those Britons who have given back, enhanced the lives of others and realised that in an acquisitive society there’s a crying need for values other than mere materialism.”

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Why The Chinese Are Getting Richer But Not Happier

The rapidly developing Chinese economy has a hard lesson to teach developed nations about the happiness of the majority.

The rapidly developing Chinese economy has a hard lesson to teach developed nations about the happiness of the majority.

We all have an intuitive sense that the society we live in has a huge effect on our lives. It’s almost impossible not be influenced by the way other people treat us, the values they hold and the way they behave.

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The 3 Reasons Money Brings Satisfaction But Not Happiness

If money doesn’t bring happiness, then why do people behave as though it does?

If money doesn’t bring happiness, then why do people behave as though it does?

It seems only natural that happiness should flow from having more money. Even if they don’t admit it, people still behave as though it were true. More money means you can have what you want and do what you want. The house you dream of? It’s yours. The new car you desire? Here are the keys. The freedom to enjoy your favourite pastimes? Here’s your racket, the court is down there, just past the pool.

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The New Science of Happiness

A new and blossoming field of psychology – positive psychology – has begun to uncover fascinating, evidence-based answers to many questions about happiness.

A new and blossoming field of psychology – positive psychology – has begun to uncover fascinating, evidence-based answers to many questions about happiness. I’ve been sizing up the most recent findings to reveal the emerging science of happiness.

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9 Ways Happiness Leads to Success

The psychological literature clearly shows there is a strong relationship between success and happiness.

[Image credit: premasagar]

The psychological literature clearly shows there is a strong relationship between success and happiness. For example, people who have a comfortable income, or high status in society are usually happiest. But which one comes first, happiness or success?

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What is Happiness?

>Because happiness is something most of us aim for, how we define it has important implications for how we conduct our lives.

Because happiness is something most of us aim for, how we define it has important implications for how we conduct our lives. To see why, compare these two competing definitions of happiness:

1. Happiness is all about minimising pain and maximising pleasure.
The underlying idea here is that there is a kind of mathematics of happiness. Imagine if on our deathbeds we were able to add up all the moments of pleasure in our lives and then all the moments of pain. The amount by which the pleasures exceeded the pains would tell us how happy we were during our lives.

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Hedonist Philosopher Epicurus Was Right About Happiness (Mostly)

Epicurus’ guide to the good life compared with modern research in psychology looking at satisfaction with life.

[Image credit: mharrsch]

“If a little is not enough for you, nothing is.” –Epicurus

Philosophers down the ages have been keen to tell the rest of us how to live and how to be happy. Certainly their advice comes to us with the lustre of intellectual achievement; it is both high-brow and high-powered, but can we understand any of it and how does it fare against modern psychological research?

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Is Happier Always Better? Socially Yes, Financially No

People around the world value happiness – that is, feeling good – above intelligence, success and even material wealth.

[Photo by Huro Kitty]

People around the world value happiness – that is, feeling good – above intelligence, success and even material wealth (Diener & Oishi, 2006). This makes sense because happiness is associated with so many positive outcomes: satisfaction with personal relationships, better jobs, better performance in those jobs and a higher income.

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Do We Know What Makes Us Happy?

Happiness is all about everyday, normal activities, psychologists have argued, but do we intuitively understand what strategies increase happiness or not?

[Photo by tookie]

Happiness is all about everyday, normal activities, psychologists have argued, but do we intuitively understand what strategies increase happiness or not? To find out if students knew, Tkach and Lyubomirsky (2006) asked 500 undergraduates about the strategies they used to increase their happiness.

Below are the strategies students reported using, starting with the most frequently used, down to the least. Also, for each strategy Tkach and Lyubomirsky looked at the relationship between its use and students’ reported levels of happiness to see if those who used a particular strategy were actually happier.

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