December 15, 2017

Happiness and Defensive Pessimism

Several of the more interesting 'Happiness' articles that appeared recently

The 8 Friends You Need To Be Happy In Life

The Builder: Someone who motivates you and encourages you to take it to the next level.

The Champion: Somebody who roots for you and describes you to others in a way that makes you blush.

The Collaborator: A friend with similar interests — the basis for many great friendships. When you talk with a Collaborator, you’re on familiar ground.

The Companion: They won’t just help you move; they’ll help you move bodies. .They’ll be at the police station at 3AM with bail money. Again.

The Connector: No matter what the issue, they know somebody who can help. They make friends more often than most people make excuses. Even if they were locked in solitary confinement with no one to talk to, they’d end up best pals with the prison guard.

The Energizer: That fun friend. The person you’re always laughing around. The one who always knows the great place to go or the awesome thing to do.

The Mind Opener: They send you interesting articles. They get you to question your assumptions. They challenge you and make you think really hard.

The Navigator: Like a high school guidance counselor, except useful.  Navigators are the friends who give you advice and keep you headed in the right direction. You go to them when you need guidance, and they talk through the pros and cons with you until you find an answer. In a difficult situation, you need a Navigator by your side. They help you see a positive future while keeping things grounded in reality.

The Power of Negative Thinking Pessimists fare better than people with a sunnier disposition.

Married couples who were extremely optimistic about their relationship’s future were more likely to experience relationship deterioration.  Optimism may also be tied to lower earnings. A study of data from British households found that across two decades, especially optimistic self-employed people earned about 25 percent less than their pessimistic peers. And National Cancer Institute researchers found that people who lowballed their risk of heart disease were more likely to show early signs of it...

Embracing negativity may also have social benefits. Compared with cheery moods, bad moods have been linked to a more effective communication style, and sadness has been linked to less reliance on negative stereotypes. Feeling down can make us behave more fairly, too. People who saw sad video clips before playing an allocation game were more generous with their partners than those who saw happy clips.

A rosy outlook leaves us overconfident and can beget disappointment.  So try “defensive pessimism” and  harness your anxiety for good.  A pair of follow-up studies found that by setting low expectations and envisioning worst-case scenarios, defensive pessimists optimized their performance on a variety of tasks, from darts and math problems to fulfilling real-life goals.  A 30-year study of more than 10,000 Germans found that older adults who had underestimated their future satisfaction were less likely than their optimistic peers to end up disabled or die prematurely.  Defensive pessimism isn’t exactly a new strategy, of course—the Stoics were urging “the premeditation of evils” some 2,300 years ago.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

How To Create Happy Memories That Will Last A Lifetime

Create moments of elevation: Boost sensory appeal (light some fireworks.) Break the script (don’t wait for the 4th of July.) Raise the stakes (hope you don’t get arrested.)

Celebrate moments of pride: If your first book comes out and someone insists you go someplace special that night, do it. Otherwise you wouldn’t have a vivid memory. You wouldn’t have photos. All you would have is some random date to remember like in 8th grade history class.

Build moments of connection: Struggle. Working together on something, especially something meaningful, bonds us together. So just help Gary move this weekend and stop whining.

Posted by Jill Fallon at December 15, 2017 11:34 AM | Permalink