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Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth Ed Diener Smiley Distinguished Professor of Psychology University of Illinois 4 th European.

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Presentation on theme: "Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth Ed Diener Smiley Distinguished Professor of Psychology University of Illinois 4 th European."— Presentation transcript:

1 Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth Ed Diener Smiley Distinguished Professor of Psychology University of Illinois 4 th European Conference on Positive Psychology July 1- 4, 2008 Rijeka, Croatia

2 “The most authoritative and informative book about happiness ever ^ written”

3 Unique Aspects of the Book: We present the research on the benefits of happiness – to health, work, and relationships We also show the need for “negative emotions,” and that you don’t necessarily need to be happier We show the danger of averages when applied to individuals, like for religion or marriage We present self-scoring measures for 7 variables We expose myths such as the “Set-point” We have a lot of fun stories

4 Part l: Understanding true wealth –Psychological Wealth: The Balanced Portfolio –Two Principles of Psychological Wealth Part 2: Happy people function better –Health and Happiness –Happiness and Social Relationships – You Can’t Do Without Them –Happiness at Work: It Pays to be Happy Part 3: Causes of happiness and genuine wealth –Can Money Buy Happiness? –Religion, Spirituality, and Happiness –The Happiest Places on Earth: Culture and Well-Being –Nature and Nurture – Is There a Happiness Set-Point, and Can You Change It? –Our Crystal Balls: Happiness Forecasting –Taking AIM: Attention, Interpretation, and Memory Part 4: Putting it all together –Yes, You Can Be Too Happy –Living Happily Ever After –Measuring Your Psychological Wealth

5 Pie Chart of True Wealth

6 Understanding true wealth –Two Principles of Happiness Part 2: Happy people function better Part 3: Causes of happiness and genuine wealth Part 4: Putting it all together

7 1. Happiness is a Process, Not a Place Ongoing new challenges How one “travels” Winning an award Climbing Mt. Denali

8 2. Happiness Is Desirable

9 Flaubert’s Error To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost. Gustave Flaubert

10 Dalai Lama “Stupid Happiness”

11 Why Beneficial Happiness? Broaden and build (Fredrickson) Creativity (Isen) Challenges look easier when happy (Proffitt)

12 Benefits of SWB Lyubomirsky, King, & Diener Social relationships Work and income Health & longevity Societal benefits Causal direction? –Longitudinal, lab experiments, quasi-experiments

13 Social Benefits Happy people more likely to have: Self-confidence, leadership Warmth, sociability More friends

14 Work Success A. Higher supervisor ratings B. Organizational citizenship Example: Helping others on the job C. Higher income

15 College Entry Cheerfulness, and Income 19 years later Diener, Nickerson, Lucas, & Sandvik (2002)

16 Health & Longevity The Nun Study Dr. Snowdon with Sisters Agnes and Gertrude

17 Longevity in The Nun Study Survival Rate at Age:85 93 Most Cheerful Quartile79%52% Least Cheerful 54%18% Danner, Snowdon, & Friesen

18 Smoking (pack/day) Exercise Light drinking

19 Smoking (pack/day) Exercise Light drinking Heavy drinking Hey, Doc, what about:

20 Smoking (pack/day) Exercise Light drinking Heavy drinking Hey, Doc, what about: Becoming a Nun?

21 Smoking (pack/day) Exercise Light drinking Heavy drinking Hey, Doc, what about: How happy are you? Very Happy vs. Less Happy years

22 Why happy are healthier? Stronger immune systems Better cardiovascular health Health behaviors (e.g., seatbelts) Fewer lifestyle diseases (e.g. alcoholism) Younger genes (telomeres)

23 Societal Benefits of Happiness Volunteering Pro-peace attitudes Cooperative attitudes

24 Part 3: Influences on Happiness 1.Supportive social relationships 2.Temperament & adaptation 3.Money 4.Society & culture 5.Cognition: Positive attitudes

25 1. Strong Social Relationships Every single one of the happiest people we studied have good social relationships

26 GIVING social support: People who help others live longer and are happier!

27 2. Temperament & Adaptation “Identical” (Monozygotic) Twins

28 Ed’s Daughters: Clinical Psychologist and Developmental Psychologist

29 Inborn Temperament Identical twins reared apart are much more similar in happiness than fraternal twins reared together Heritability – 20 to 50 percent of individual differences in happiness

30 Adaptation Temperament has substantial effect in long-run because people adapt to their conditions to some degree They react strongly, but then adapt back to their baseline

31 Daily moods of a 20-year old

32 Unemployment

33 Slow Adaptation to Widowhood

34 But what of Brickman et al.? Lottery winners Paraplegics

35 Life Satisfaction and 100 Percent Disability (Lucas)

36 Conclusion The “Set-point” is really more like a “Set-range” Temperament is important, but circumstances matter too

37 3. Money Despite popular myths, money is correlated with happiness, although not always strongly

38 But Warnings About Money! Toxicity of materialism Don’t sacrifice too much of other components of wealth, such as relationships Declining marginal utility

39 Even the poor can be happy Maasai Inuit Amish Slums of Calcutta A. If basic needs met, for food etc. B.If not desiring more C.Have other rewards such as relationships

40 4. Society Influences Happiness The individualism bias in positive psychology – happiness is within you only But what of positive institutions?

41 Life Evaluation Ladder Ideal to Worst (10 to 0) Denmark8.0 Finland7.7 Switzerland7.5 Netherlands7.5 Spain7.2 Ireland7.1 Togo3.2 Cambodia3.6 Sierra Leone3.6 Georgia3.7 Zimbabwe3.8 West Bank4.7

42 Culture Influences Levels of Well-being Pleasant Emotions—Enjoyment etc. High Low HondurasPakistan PanamaBangladesh Costa RicaPalestine Puerto RicoTajikistan

43 5. “Cognition:” Positive Mental Outlook The habit of seeing the glass half-full Seeing opportunities, not threats Generally trusting and liking oneself and others

44 Cognition: AIM Model Attention Interpretation Memory

45 Cognition: AIM Model Attention –Seeing beauty and good in the world Interpretation –Interpreting many things as positive Memory –Savoring rather than ruminating COGNITIVE HABITS PEOPLE GET INTO!

46 “Spirituality”: Experiencing Broadening Positive Emotions – which make life larger than just our own self-interests: Gratitude Love Awe Transcendance

47 Part l: Understanding true wealth Part 2: Happy people function better Part 3: Causes of happiness and genuine wealth Part 4: Putting it all together –Yes, You Can Be Too Happy –Living Happily Ever After –Measuring Your Psychological Wealth

48 Being too happy? No negative emotions –They can be appropriate –They sometimes help functioning Searching for constant euphoria & ecstasy –Expectations too high In some instances “8’s” do better than “10’s”

49 National Accounts of Well-Being Robert Kennedy, 1968 Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our Gross Nation Product... counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage…. Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.

50 National Accounts of SWB Measuring well-being for policy Information beyond wealth GDP, employment, etc. These will help the positive behavioral sciences!

51 Self-Scoring Scales in the book: Life satisfaction Positive affect Negative affect Positive thinking Negative thinking Strong social relationships Psychological well-being

52 Suggestions to Increase Well-Being: Have important values and goals Develop strong relationships Cultivate spiritual emotions Intelligent happiness forecasting AIM your mind Live as though happiness is a process

53 Thanks very much Questions? Discussion?


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