Tag Archives: Happiness

University of Tennessee Knoxville: Psychologists find smiling really can make people happier

14 Apr

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD BLACK FART. A prof at Vanderbilt University conducted a study to find out if hanging around high status folk makes one happy. Both China and the U.S. were studied and here is what the prof concluded:

Song found that in urban China, knowing high-status people was detrimental to mental health. This was true whether people knew mostly high-status people, any high-status people or even just many people of comparatively higher-status than themselves. This was surprising because China, being a collectivist society, places high value on interdependence, making a strong case for social capital theory. Song says these findings indicate that comparative reference group theory predominates in urban China, because while collectivist societies are more oriented toward interdependence, they also promote negative self-comparisons to people of higher status….
In the United States, the findings were even more interesting. Here, knowing high-status people or comparatively higher-status people than themselves was also detrimental to mental health, consistent with comparative reference group theory — we tend to feel worse except when most of a person’s network was clustered at one end of the status range. When, on average, members of an individual’s network had high-status jobs, depression rates were lower, and when many members of individuals’ networks had lower-status jobs than themselves, depression was higher, consistent with social capital theory….

Journal Reference:
Lijun Song. Does who you know in the positional hierarchy protect or hurt? Social capital, comparative reference group, and depression in two societies. Social Science & Medicine, 2015; 136-137: 117 DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.05.012

Preliminary research from the University of Tennessee Knoxville found that smiling is a clue to emotional state.

Science Daily reported in Psychologists find smiling really can make people happier:

Smiling really can make people feel happier, according to a new paper published in Psychological Bulletin.
Coauthored by researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Texas A&M, the paper looked at nearly 50 years of data testing whether facial expressions can lead people to feel the emotions related to those expressions.
“Conventional wisdom tells us that we can feel a little happier if we simply smile. Or that we can get ourselves in a more serious mood if we scowl,” said Nicholas Coles, UT PhD student in social psychology and lead researcher on the paper. “But psychologists have actually disagreed about this idea for over 100 years.”
These disagreements became more pronounced in 2016, when 17 teams of researchers failed to replicate a well-known experiment demonstrating that the physical act of smiling can make people feel happier.
“Some studies have not found evidence that facial expressions can influence emotional feelings,” Coles said. “But we can’t focus on the results of any one study. Psychologists have been testing this idea since the early 1970s, so we wanted to look at all the evidence.”
Using a statistical technique called meta-analysis, Coles and his team combined data from 138 studies testing more than 11,000 participants from all around the world. According to the results of the meta-analysis, facial expressions have a small impact on feelings. For example, smiling makes people feel happier, scowling makes them feel angrier, and frowning makes them feel sadder.
“We don’t think that people can smile their way to happiness,” Coles said. “But these findings are exciting because they provide a clue about how the mind and the body interact to shape our conscious experience of emotion. We still have a lot to learn about these facial feedback effects, but this meta-analysis put us a little closer to understanding how emotions work.” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190412094728.htm

Citation:

Psychologists find smiling really can make people happier
Date: April 12, 2019
Source: University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Summary:
Smiling really can make people feel happier, according to a new article. A team of psychologists combined data from 138 studies testing more than 11,000 participants and found that facial expressions have a small impact on our feelings.
Journal Reference:
Nicholas A. Coles, Jeff T. Larsen, Heather C. Lench. A meta-analysis of the facial feedback literature: Effects of facial feedback on emotional experience are small and variable.. Psychological Bulletin, 2019; DOI: 10.1037/bul0000194

Here is the press release from the University of Tennessee:

PUBLIC RELEASE: 11-APR-2019
Psychologists find smiling really can make people happier
Audio interviews available
UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE AT KNOXVILLE
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Smiling really can make people feel happier, according to a new paper published in Psychological Bulletin.
Coauthored by researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Texas A&M, the paper looked at nearly 50 years of data testing whether facial expressions can lead people to feel the emotions related to those expressions.
“Conventional wisdom tells us that we can feel a little happier if we simply smile. Or that we can get ourselves in a more serious mood if we scowl,” said Nicholas Coles, UT PhD student in social psychology and lead researcher on the paper. “But psychologists have actually disagreed about this idea for over 100 years.”
These disagreements became more pronounced in 2016, when 17 teams of researchers failed to replicate a well-known experiment demonstrating that the physical act of smiling can make people feel happier.
“Some studies have not found evidence that facial expressions can influence emotional feelings,” Coles said. “But we can’t focus on the results of any one study. Psychologists have been testing this idea since the early 1970s, so we wanted to look at all the evidence.”
Using a statistical technique called meta-analysis, Coles and his team combined data from 138 studies testing more than 11,000 participants from all around the world. According to the results of the meta-analysis, facial expressions have a small impact on feelings. For example, smiling makes people feel happier, scowling makes them feel angrier, and frowning makes them feel sadder.
“We don’t think that people can smile their way to happiness,” Coles said. “But these findings are exciting because they provide a clue about how the mind and the body interact to shape our conscious experience of emotion. We still have a lot to learn about these facial feedback effects, but this meta-analysis put us a little closer to understanding how emotions work.”
###
The study, “A Meta-Analysis of the Facial Feedback Literature: Effects of Facial Feedback on Emotional Experience Are Small and Variable,” is co-authored by Jeff Larsen, professor of psychology at UT, and Heather Lench of Texas A&M University. The research is supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship awarded to Coles.
CONTACT:
Brian Canever (865-974-0937, bcanever@utk.edu)
Andrea Schneibel (865-974-3993, andrea.schneibel@utk.edu)
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

One of the best lists of what makes folk happy comes from Thomson’s 10 Characteristics of a Happy Person:

And the results are these ten characteristics that make a happy person.
1.Happy people always have happy friends. Remember the old proverb, birds of a feather flock together. Those having a positive and happy outlook to life understand and prefer the company of others with the same outlook to life.
2. Happy people usually know how to speak for themselves about what they feel and if they are not treated well. In addition to this, happy people tend to lead a life of integrity, are honest and sincere with others and themselves and always live according to their values.
3. Happy people love, and enjoy listening to music. Remember that music always makes the world go round, especially for happy people.
4. Happy people appreciate what they have and recognize the blessings that come their way. They know how to show appreciation and gratitude constantly.
5. As happy people receive and share lots of love, compassion and affection, they enjoy life better. And in the process, find that they can sleep better.
6. Happy people not only know how to eat well, they also know how to feed their body with great quality food. In addition to this, they also follow a regular exercise routine. This is because they believe in self care and work at reaching the epitome of mental and physical strength.
7. Happy people are both patient with people and things around them, and excitedly look forward to life everyday. They are always ready and welcome the adventures life offers them.
8. Happy people look for the best in themselves and in people around them as they are naturally optimistic. They know how to alter negative positions into positive ones.
9. Happy people know their purpose in life and live to their passions. It is because of this that they are always learning new things, and are open to new and fresh ideas.
10. Happy people are always ready to forgive themselves, and don’t beat themselves up for unavoidable mistakes. Being spiritual, they believe in the power of praying, and consider everything is possible and attainable through constant prayer…. http://www.growyourselves.com/10-characteristics-of-a-happy-person.html

Happy folk come in all flavors and any social status. It doesn’t matter the job title or social group.

If you want to be happy, be.
Leo Tolstoy

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The 07/21/13 Joy Jar

21 Jul

When the sun is shining as it has been during this Seattle summer, it is easy to be happy. Really, people are as happy as they choose to be. Marc and Angel Hack Life: Practical Tips for Productive Living is a blog that looks on the positive side of things. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is choosing to be happy.

Marc and Angel Hack Life
Post written by: Angel Chernoff
75 Happiness Quotes to Live By
Here are 75 happiness quotes gathered from our sister site, Everyday Life Lessons, to brighten your day and move your mindset in a positive direction.
1.Smile every chance you get.  Not because life has been easy, perfect, or exactly as you had anticipated, but because you choose to be happy and grateful for all the good things you do have and all the problems you know you don’t have.
2.Never let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life.
3.Tell the negativity committee that meets inside your head to sit down and shut up.  (Read Learned Optimism.)
4.A bad attitude is like a flat tire, you can’t get very far until you change it.
5.In a world where you can be anything you want, BE YOURSELF.
6.The more you love your decisions, the less you need others to love them.
7.It’s important to make someone happy, and it’s important to start with yourself.
8.Life is not about making others happy.  Life is about sharing your happiness with others.
9.Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design into the present.
10.If you settle for just anything, you’ll never know what you’re truly worthy of.
11.Sometimes life gives you two options: losing yourself or losing someone else.  Regardless of the situation, don’t lose yourself.
12.If your happiness depends on what somebody else does, you do have a pretty big problem.
13.Whatever someone did to you in the past has no power over the present.  Only you give it power.
14.Don’t worry too much about people who don’t worry about you.
15.Know your worth!  When you give yourself to someone who doesn’t respect you, you surrender pieces of your soul that you’ll never get back.
16.Sometimes you’ve got to emotionally let go of the things that once meant a lot to you, so you can move beyond the past and the pains they bring you, and open the next chapter in your life.
17.If you want to get over a problem, stop mulling it over and talking about it.  Your mind affects your mouth, and your mouth affects your mind.  It’s nearly impossible to move beyond something when you’re obsessing over it.
18.If it is detrimental to you emotionally, physically and spiritually, what choice do you have but to let go and flourish with self-respect.
19.Saying goodbye is one of the most painful ways to solve a problem.  But sometimes it’s necessary.
20.Moving on doesn’t mean forgetting, it means you choose happiness over hurt.
21.Stop looking at what you have lost, so you can see what you have.
22.Someone else is happy with far less than what you have.
23.Talk about your blessings more than you talk about your problems.
24.Sometimes people throw away something good for something better, only to find out later that good was actually good enough and better never even came close.
25.In life, you get what you put in.  Everything comes back around.
26.You can never change the past nor control the future, but you can change the mood of the day by touching someone’s heart with your smile.
27.The happiness you feel is in direct proportion to the love you give.
28.Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.
29.It’s nice to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s also important to make sure you haven’t lost track of the things that money can’t buy.
30.You don’t need a lot of money to lead a rich life.  Good friends and a loving family are worth their weight in gold.
31.You will never fully believe in yourself if you keep comparing yourself to everyone else.  Instead, compare yourself to who you were yesterday.  (Read Authentic Happiness.)
32.You won’t always be punished FOR your anger, but you will always be punished BY your anger.
33.Give yourself permission to immediately walk away from anything that gives you bad vibes.  There is no need to explain or make sense of it.  Just trust what you feel.
34.One of the greatest freedoms is truly not caring what everyone else thinks of you.
35.As long as you are worried about what others think of you, you are owned by them.  Only when you require no approval from outside yourself can you own yourself.
36.Don’t let anyone walk through your mind with their dirty feet.
37.It hurts the most when you start pretending it doesn’t.
38.You are responsible for how you feel no matter what someone does to you. Remember, you are always in control of your thoughts so choose to feel confident and adequate rather than angry and insecure.
39.Being kind to yourself in thoughts, words and actions is as important as being kind to others.
40.Death is not the greatest loss in life; the greatest loss is what dies inside while you’re still alive.
41.Only when we begin to be awake do we realize just how asleep we have been.
42.You are always free to do something that makes you smile.
43.You define your own life.  Don’t let other people write your life’s story for you.
44.Don’t be afraid of change.  Oftentimes you will lose something good, and then gain something even better.
45.Worry is a massive waste of time and energy.  It doesn’t change anything.  All it does is steal your joy and hinder your ability to make positive changes.
46.If you want to be happy and bright, let go of your need to always be right.
47.In life, you usually get what you ask for and it rarely comes in the package you think it’s supposed to come in.
48.If you don’t like something, change it.  If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.
49.Life does NOT have to be perfect to be wonderful.
50.You look the best when you wear your smile.  There is no beauty like the one that comes from inside you.
51.Grudges are a waste of perfect happiness.
52.The time spent on hating is the time lost for living a peaceful, happy life.  It is a habit that controls what you see, what you say, what you do, and ultimately what you become.
53.Sometimes you need to be alone to reflect on life.  Take time out to take care of yourself.  You deserve it.
54.The good things we build end up building us.
55.You cannot change what you refuse to confront.
56.The difference between who you are and who you want to be, is what you do.
57.If you want your life to change, your choices and actions must change.  Every day brings a chance to start over.
58.Good things don’t come to those who wait.  Good things come to those who pursue the goals and dreams they believe in.
59.Don’t make a decision based solely on popularity. Just because other people are doing it doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for you.
60.Following all the rules leaves a completed checklist.  Following your heart achieves a completed you.  (Read The Happiness Project.)
61.Knowing yourself is one thing, but truly believing and living as yourself is another.  With so much social conditioning in our society, we sometimes forget who we are.  Don’t lose yourself out there.
62.Of all the things that can be stolen from you – your possessions, your youth, your health, your words, your rights – what no one can ever take from you is your freedom to choose what you will believe in, and who and what your heart will love.
63.When you find yourself cocooned in isolation and despair and cannot find your way out of the darkness, remember that this is similar to the place where caterpillars go to grow their wings.
64.Take all the time you need to heal emotionally.  Moving on doesn’t take a day; it takes lots of little steps to be able to break free of your broken self.
65.When you can forgive, yourself and others, and stop the imprisonment, you’re creating the love of your life.
66.What you believe has more power than what you dream or wish or hope for.  You become what you believe.
67.Keep your heart open to dreams.  For as long as there’s a dream, there is hope, and as long as there is hope, there is joy in living.
68.When you try to control everything, you enjoy nothing.  Sometimes you just need to relax, breathe, let go, and just live in the moment.
69.Even though you cannot control everything that happens, you can control your attitude toward what happens.  And in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.
70.Life will never be perfect, no matter how hard you try.  Even if you pour your heart and soul into it, you will never have that perfection you seek.  There will always be broken hearts, there will always be days where nothing goes right.  But you must accept and learn that even the most imperfect things will always be made better with love and laughter.  (Read Stumbling on Happiness.)
71.Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.
72.Satisfaction is not always the fulfillment of what you want; it is the realization of how blessed you are for what you have.
73.Sometimes you just have to look back at your past and smile about how far you’ve come.
74.Just because it didn’t last forever, doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth your while.
75.It’s not that everything will be easy or exactly as you had expected, but you must just choose to be grateful for all that you have, and happy that you got a chance to live this life, no matter how it turns out.
http://www.marcandangel.com/2012/07/04/75-happiness-quotes-to-live-by/