Stanford Psychologist Says These 6 Things Are The Keys To Happiness And Success
1. Live in the moment
2. Be resilient
When we're constantly working ourselves to the bone and feeling stressed, it activates our sympathetic nervous system, also known as the "fight or flight" response. Studies show that while short-term stress can be good for you, long-term stress is terrible for your health.
But if we can train ourselves to be more resilient to the setbacks in our lives, we're more likely to bounce back from them, a 2004 study suggests. The study found that resilient people were able to recover faster (as measured by their heart rate and blood pressure) when they used positive emotions to respond to a stressful experience.
3. Keep calm (and carry on)
4. Do more of nothing
In Western society, we have this ingrained notion that we need to constantly be doing something, or we're not being productive. But in fact, research suggests that we are most creative whenwe're not at our peak alertness.
In one 2011 study, researchers gave 428 students questionnaires to determine whether they were a morning person or an evening person, and then gave them logic problems in either the morning or late afternoon. Surprisingly, they found that morning people scored highest in the late afternoon, whereas evening people scored highest in the morning.
The findings suggest that we're at our mental best when we're not especially alert or focused. So if we want to be creative, we need to give ourselves more time off.
Even in our leisure time, we tend to go full bore. In surveys, when Americans are asked to define happiness, they often use words like excitement, elation, and thrill, whereas people in East Asian countries use words like peacefulness, serenity, and calm.
Seppala recommends building downtime into your workday by alternating high-intensity activities like preparing a presentation or attending a board meeting with low-intensity tasks like organizing your desk or files. And when possible, it's a good idea to "unplug" from work completely, she said.
5. Be good to yourself
6. Be compassionate to others
Finally, we often assume that we should be looking out for ourselves first and foremost. But in fact, research suggests that you're better off nurturing supportive relationships with others. If you have good relationships with your boss, colleagues, or employees, you're more likely to inspire loyalty, which in turn makes everyone more productive, Seppala said.
And you can actually train yourself to be compassionate, Seppala and her colleagues have found. People who underwent a nine-session training program at Stanford's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education had lower stress, were more empathetic, were more likely to help others, and were more resilient to the suffering of others.
"If you have supportive relationships with others, you end up doing well in the long run," Seppala said.
Source: Emma Seppala on happiness and success - Business Insider