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Happier Human - Page 2 of 17 - Happiness: Backed by Science
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Is Depression Really on The Rise?

It’s an idea repeated so often that it’s now taken for fact – depression is on the rise.

If true, modern society has messed up.

In 1985, 10% of people had no one to discuss important matters with. By 2004, that number had grown to 25% – one out of every four people! (1)

We’re spending less time with other people, eating worse food, and getting less exercise, sunlight, and sleep.

Surely the rate of depression has gone up.

My father disagrees.

Normally that wouldn’t mean anything to me – he believes lots of crazy things. But he’s a psychiatrist.

Psychiatrists are the ones who invented the scientific study of mental dysfunction.

The field has problems. But they base many of their beliefs off of empirical evidence, not armchair philosophizing, like what used to be common (think Freud and penis envy).

Psychiatry has insights to offer.

Is the idea that the rise of depression is more media sensationalization than hard journalism one of them?

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19

Positive Psychology 101 – The Best Self-Help

UPDATE: THE PRICE OF THE COURSE MENTIONED IN THIS POST HAS INCREASED BY 200%. I NO LONGER RECOMMEND THIS PRODUCT

What do the most successful people do differently?

Why are some people able to bounce back from failure?

What allows some couples to stay happily together for many decades?

What do very happy people do differently?

These are the questions asked by the science of positive psychology.

Through the efforts of hundreds of scientists conducting thousands of experiments, case studies and analyses we’ve started getting answers – insights into how we can become happier.

Happier Human was created to make those insights accessible. So that you can improve your life and the lives of others.

Most of what I produce is free, but at the end of the day I’ve got to be able to eat and pay rent.
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23

The Four Reasons Why Overthinking and Depression Are on the Rise

More and more people are getting fat.

From the growing waistlines and rates of cardiovascular disease it’s obvious.

We call it the obesity epidemic.

But there’s another epidemic that’s been spreading that’s just as bad.

Why is the rate of depression on the rise?

Why do we feel more stressed than ever before?

There’s an overthinking epidemic.

20% of Baby Boomers, 52% of Gen Xers, and 73% of Gen Yers are overthinkers. (1)

Less than 27% of people younger than 30 remain healthy!

This is part two of a three part series on overthinking. In part two, you’ll learn four of the reasons this virus has been getting worse, infecting more and more of the population.

  1. Quick fixes work.
  2. Chronic stressors are on the rise.
  3. Dreaming comes with a cost.
  4. Introspection has gone too far.


Read part one to take the Are You an Overthinker quiz and find out why overthinking is so dangerous.

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Are You an Overthinker? You’ve Been Poisoned

Feeling anxious, upset, or sad? Natural.

Feeling reflective? Productive.

  • Going over a failure or conflict again and again to see how it could have gone better.
  • Ranting and raving about the wrongs that have been done to you.
  • Trying to figure out why life isn’t living up to your expectations.
  • Constantly reflecting on your sadness.

That’s overthinking.

Overthinking is so common that many consider it natural, sometimes even productive.

No.

Overthinking is a modern phenomenon that’s unnatural and counterproductive.

Overthinking? Don’t you mean correctthinking? It’s better to confront a problem than to ignore it.

Spend more time thinking about it and you’ll discover an insight you missed.

That’s why your attention keeps coming back to it. The underlying concerns and emotions haven’t been addressed.

No.

Overthinking is poison.

Ruminating and venting isn’t processing. It’s pouring fuel on the fire. (1, 2)

Most problems have causes which no amount of reflection will uncover. (3)

And what you’ll learn in this post – overthinking was designed by evolution to trigger depression and abandonment, not effective problem solving. (4)

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7

Do Pets Bring Happiness?

If you want more happiness, get a pet.

In the 80s and 90s, research came out suggesting many benefits from pet ownership. From reduced risk of asthma, allergies, and cardiovascular disease to increased mood and wellbeing.

Some doctors started recommending pet ownership to their patients.

I thought the decision was a no-brainer. It seems fun and the companionship will be great. Once I have enough money, let’s get a pet!

But as scientists became more rigorous with their research, many of the benefits started to disappear.

The average person sees no change to their mood and life satisfaction from having a pet, although there are outliers.

The benefits were overstated while the costs were swept under the rug.

That doesn’t mean I won’t be getting a pet, only that I have to think harder before I make a decision.

Let’s start with something objective.

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2

Misattribution of Arousal: The Lies Your Inner Narrator Tells You (and How They Hurt You)

When I was 16, I had the craziest summer of my life.

I woke up in the middle of the night, my heart pounding and my palms sweating.

Why oh why? Why had she broken up with me? I want her back!

Walking, talking, working, studying – whatever I was doing, she would pop back into my head. I called, texted, and banged on her door. She told me she never wanted to see me again.

I was a man boy with love spurned. Woe was me. Not.

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