How Too Much Happiness Makes You Unhappy
Constantly making happiness your explicit goal is a recipe for unhappiness, say psychologists. Rather, enjoy the moment you are in without too much preparation or preoccupation.
What's the Latest Development?
The more happiness the better, right? Not exactly. Psychologists say that relentlessly seeking happiness is a recipe for loneliness and dissatisfaction. After studying diary entries of 206 Americans, psychologist Iris Mauss found that "those to whom being happy was extremely important felt lonelier after experiencing a stressful event than those who didn’t make such a big deal of wanting to be cheerful." Her advice is to seek and accept a healthy balance between happy and unhappy feelings, perhaps experiencing three positive emotions for every one negative emotion.
What's the Big Idea?
Contrary to our modern drive for self-satisfaction, being too happy turns out to have a host of negative consequences. People flooded with positive emotion are less likely to be objective, succumbing to racial and sexual stereotypes more easily. They are more easily deceived, partially losing the ability to pick up on the biological cues of dishonesty. "High levels of positive feelings predict risk-taking behaviors, excess alcohol and drug consumption, binge eating, and may lead us to neglect threats," said June Gruber, a professor of psychology at Yale University.
Photo credit: shutterstock.com
Understanding thinking talents in yourself and others can build strong teams and help avoid burnout.
- Learn to collaborate within a team and identify "thinking talent" surpluses – and shortages.
- Angie McArthur teaches intelligent collaboration for Big Think Edge.
- Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Rediscovering the principles of self-actualisation might be just the tonic that the modern world is crying out for.
Abraham Maslow was the 20th-century American psychologist best-known for explaining motivation through his hierarchy of needs, which he represented in a pyramid. At the base, our physiological needs include food, water, warmth and rest.
Using a new process, a mini-brain develops retinal cells.
- Mini-brains, or "neural organoids," are at the cutting edge of medical research.
- This is the first one that's started developing eyes.
- Stem cells are key to the growing of organoids of various body parts.
Does believing in true love make people act like jerks?
- Ghosting, or cutting off all contact suddenly with a romantic partner, is not nice.
- Growth-oriented people (who think relationships are made, not born) do not appreciate it.
- Destiny-oriented people (who believe in soulmates) are more likely to be okay with ghosting.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.