Five Steps for Being Happier Today
Tal Ben-Shahar is an author and lecturer at Harvard University. He currently teaches the largest course at Harvard on "Positive Psychology" and the third largest on "The Psychology of Leadership"--with a total of over 1,400 students.
Tal consults and lectures around the world to executives in multi-national corporation, the general public, and at-risk populations. Topics include happiness, self-esteem, resilience, goal setting, mindfulness, and leadership.
An avid sportsman, Tal won the U.S. Intercollegiate and Israeli National squash championships. He obtained his PhD in Organizational Behavior and BA in Philosophy and Psychology from Harvard.
Tip 1: Accept painful emotions.
Tal Ben-Shahar: The first thing to do to become happier, paradoxically, is to accept painful emotions, to accept them as a part of being alive. The paradox is that when we give ourselves the permission to be human, the permission to experience the full gamut of human emotion. We open ourselves up to positive emotions as well.
Tip 2: Stop texting while you're with your friends.
Tal Ben-Shahar: A very good predictor of well-being is what psychologist Tim Kasser calls time affluence. Time affluence is the thing that we have time to sit down and chat with our friends while -- not while being on the phone at the same time or text messaging at the same time, being with that person.
Tip 3: Exercise!
Tal Ben-Shahar: Three times a week for 30 to 40 minutes of aerobic exercise, could be jogging or walking or aerobics or dancing, three times a week of 30 to 40 minutes of exercise is equivalent to some of our most powerful psychiatric drugs in dealing with depression or sadness or anxiety.
Tip 4: Express your gratitude daily — in writing.
Tal Ben-Shahar: People who keep a gratitude journal, who each night before going to sleep write at least five things for which they are grateful, big things or little things, are happier, more optimistic, more successful, more likely to achieve their goals, physically healthier; it actually strengthens our immune system, and are more generous and benevolent toward others.
Tip 5: Simplify.
Tal Ben-Shahar: Do less rather than more. The problem is that we try and cram more and more things into less and less time, and we pay a price. We pay a price in terms of the quality of the work that we do. We also pay a price in terms of the quality of relationships that we enjoy.
Recorded on: September 23, 2009
Positive psychologists have found a series of scientifically-proven ways for you live a happier life.
Should humans fear artificial intelligence or welcome it into our lives?
- Sophia the Robot of Hanson Robotics can mimic human facial expressions and humor, but is that just a cover? Should humans see AI as a threat? She, of course, says no.
- New technologies are often scary, but ultimately they are just tools. Sophia says that it is the intent of the user that makes them dangerous.
- The future of artificial intelligence and whether or not it will backfire on humanity is an ongoing debate that one smiling robot won't settle.
A new study from Singapore found that intermittent fasting increases neurogenesis.
- Rats that fasted for 16 hours a day showed the greatest increase in hippocampal neurogenesis.
- If true in humans, intermittent fasting could be a method for fighting off dementia as you age.
- Intermittent fasting has previously been shown to have positive effects on your liver, immune system, heart, and brain, as well as your body's ability to fight cancer.
Researchers argue that most coronavirus infections around the world go undetected.
- A new paper contends that only 6% of actual coronavirus infections have been detected.
- Delayed and inadequate testing as well as differences in reporting are to blame.
- The researchers argue that better testing needs to be set up before social distancing is eased.