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6 Ways to Achieve Eternal Happiness — According to Science

February 26, 2013 in Blogs

By Robert T. Gonzalez, i09



The following article first appeared at io9:

Science has all the answers, right? Wrong. But it has a pretty good sense of things, a lot of the time*. So what does science have to say about the pursuit of happiness? A lot. Like, build-an-entire-industry-around-it, even-the-pseudo-scientific-stuff a lot.

So let's look at some of the more recent things science has had to say about happiness and how you can score some for yourself — including one tip that might actually work (and you won't even have to pay us to hear it).

1. Surround yourself with happy people

Or, at the very least, surround yourself with people who surround themselves with happy people. A longitudinal investigation conducted over 20 years in collaboration with the Framingham Heart Study revealed that shifts in individual happiness can cascade through social networks like an emotional contagion. That's right, happiness is kind of like a disease. (The researchers don't mean Facebook, btw, but physical, old-school networks — like live-in friends, partners and spouses; and siblings, friends and neighbors who live close by.)

“Most important from our perspective is the recognition that people are embedded in social networks and that the health and wellbeing of one person affects the health and wellbeing of others,” conclude the researchers, noting that the relationship between people's happiness was found to extend up to three degrees of separation (i.e. all the way to friends of friends of friends). “This fundamental fact of existence provides a fundamental conceptual justification for the specialty of public health. Human happiness is not merely the province of isolated individuals.”

Also worth noting: the researchers found sadness to be nowhere near as “infectious” as happiness.

2. Master a skill

This one is kind of a tradeoff: a study published in a 2009 issue of the 100% real Journal of Happiness Studies found that people who dedicate themselves to mastering a skill or ability tend to experience more stress in the moment, but reported greater happiness and satisfaction on an hourly, daily, and longterm basis as a result of their investment.

“No pain, no gain is the rule when it comes to gaining happiness from increasing our competence at something,” said Ryan Howell, assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University …read more
Source: ALTERNET

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