3 Ideas to Happiness

In this topic, how do synthesis, economy, and smiling create a common denominator? I’m sure they seem familiar, but how can these elements result in a happier life? Or better yet, how do our brains define happiness when these words are presented?

Three different TED talks by Dan Gilbert; The Surprising Science of Happiness—2004, Michael Norton; How to Buy Happiness—2011, and Ron Gutman; The Power of Smiling—2011 stress on their ideas to live well—Happily, and how it relates to our present lives.

Author of: Stumbling on Happiness, Gilbert establishes that we are able to synthesis “fake” happiness over a period of time—with our evolutionary developed frontal lobes, rather than the belief that happiness is something to be found. Well in his talk, he presents happiness into two parts: The happiness we make when we do not get what we want (the inferior belief) vs. Natural happiness–when we do. If you believe the inferior belief it true like I did, you might want to check on the case studies that he presented as they turned out to be real head turners around how happiness is made.

Michael Norton in his TED talk opened with his idea by this quote: “Money can’t buy happiness, you’re not spending it right.” It battles around the subject between spending money anti-socially and pro-socially. Now which one do you think is happier? Well antisocial might seem like a negative connotation, but we spend money on ourselves all the time! Do we not all feel happiness when we buy ourselves the newest mp3 or Starbucks? Well according to Norton, self=nothing, selfless=happiness. Although I disagree with the idea that buying yourself a treat doesn’t create happiness, but there is something missing something lonely with self benefit. I define the success of teamwork, and partnerships not with cooperation—allies cooperate with each other too—I’d like to define it with acts of kindness. In this case we can provide pro-social happiness all the way from buying a friend Starbucks, to reaching our hands to bettering the world. So if you say money can’t buy happiness, maybe you aren’t spending it right.

Finally Ron Gutman introduces the power of smiling. Smiling, directly related to happiness, may seem redundant to discuss, but it is infectious, contagious, and unavoidable in many circumstances. In his mathematical equation to smiling, Smiling + Frowning= Smiling, so how does this work? Well we are born smiling as babies, sleep smiling as babies, and then we grow up our whole lives smiling. Pictures of smiles, in advertisements, TV, movies, and in humor there’s Comedy Central, jokes, pranks, and the king himself Charlie Chaplin. Smiles are everywhere! Children smile on average 400 times a day! While adults smile 20… now maybe these statistics aren’t as true at SWC, but it’s out there. So smiling increases happiness—like we didn’t know that already. But smiling also reduces stress hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine. It’s a long term method of happiness. Cliché as it sounds, we should start smiling more.

“I am the happiest man alive. I have that in me that can convert poverty to riches, adversity to prosperity, and I am more invulnerable than Achilles; future hath not one place to hit me.”                                                                                     –Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici (1642)


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