The Sweet Tune of June: a month of happiness

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I have this problem.

I'm interested in EVERYTHING. That's bad – because want to provide YOU with value.

I can't do that unless I focus on a few things, one at a time.

So I've declared June the Month of Happiness. Every weekday, I'm going to post one idea for making you a Happier Human. You'll see the same analysis and scientific foundation you're use to seeing – no new age crap or fluffy, unsubstantiated claims.

Some of the ideas I'm going to post are so easy that you'll be able to do them as soon as you read about them. And you will immediately feel better.

Others will require some of the most deliberate actions you've ever taken in your life. It will be worth it.

Some ideas are mainstream – we can all agree meditation has large benefits. Others, you've likely never heard of before, like morning faces therapy, but that doesn't mean you should automatically discount them. Happiness deserves our full respect and an open mind.

It's completely free. Just take a few of the ideas and put them into practice. You may not find your life transformed, but who doesn't want an extra bit of happiness?

If you are looking for a more complete theory of well-being–of what it is and how you can create it for your life, I recommend reading, in order:

I hope you can find something in the series that works for you

Day 1: Psychostimulants: They might give you happiness; they might give you a heart attack

Day 2: How to Harness the Power of Laughter: An Easy, Effective, and Infinite Source of Joy

Day 3:  Three Good Things, A Small Gratitude Exercise for a Large Boost of Happiness

Day 4: The Right Way to Fake a Smile For Health and Happiness

Day 5: Emotional Contagion: 5 Ways to Get Your Environment to Work for You

Day 6: Ditch Porn – It’s Playboy on (Dopamine Draining) Steroids

Day 7: Why I “Remain” an Introvert, Though the Science Suggests Extroverts are Happier

Day 8: Yoga – It Isn’t Just for Female Hipsters

Day 9: Watch More TV; It Makes You Happy!

Day 10: Kaizen: Accomplishing Big Goals with Tiny Steps

3 thoughts on “The Sweet Tune of June: a month of happiness”

  1. I find your in-depth research absolutely fascinating. Looking forward to reading up the June posts you already have up.

    While I’m not into new-age fluffiness myself, one thing I’m curious about is that perhaps people are happy even through unproven theories or fluffiness if it suits their personality/goal, and not happy with even proven methods if it goes against their nature, or against what they really desire. Maybe something for you to research 😉

    • You’ve raised a few interesting questions – I think their essence is a concern with fit.

      I agree 50%, and disagree 50%.

      Starting with the disagree:
      1) I think people in general are poor are selecting maximizing goals and desires. For example, a huge body of the self-help movement is focused on making people more extroverted, on making them, essentially, better more confident salesmen, so that they can be wealthy and have big houses. I think this is flat-out wrong; and that they are better off adopting proven methods, like meditation.
      2) Many proven methods have been tested across large demographic samples. People’s nature is also flexible.

      The agree:
      1) Many unproven theories and fluffiness work, but I’m not certain that has to do with fit. I think it’s simply because the science is lagging. Until recently, meditation and yoga was for hippies. Now we know that’s not the case. I don’t think meditation and yoga worked before for people who were simply more spiritual (or some other personality trait); it works for everyone.
      2) The happiness science is heavily biased towards extroverts. I think it’s because extrovert happiness is easy to measure (e.g. bubbly good feelings of dopamine); whereas introvert happiness like tranquility is much harder to quantify and study (at least for now). So here is my strong opinion – both introverts and extroverts would benefit from happiness interventions that make them more sociable (there is a great study that shows that when introverts are asked to become extroverts, they experience more extrovert happiness). However; it’s entirely likely that introverts would be better served focusing their efforts on other interventions, more attuned to their personality, such as entering states of flow. It’s also possible that some interventions have no effect (or even a negative effect) on certain sub-groups .

      I’m definitely interested in learning more about how different sub-groups respond differently to different methods; unfortunately this kind of research really is in its infancy. Thank you for the questions though – they really got me thinking, as you can tell from this long comment 🙂

      • I agree that most self-help books are geared towards making people extrovert, and that it is not always a solution, especially if the person is a genuine introvert. But I disagree that just because something works on “demographic” it could work for everyone. Surveys do not include majority. Let’s take meditation as an example. I can’t do it. Instead of relaxing and calming, I end up getting annoyed. It works for many people. But nothing works for everyone.

        I think it depends on your personality – not because your nature isn’t flexible, but on how strong your personality is, and how comfortable you are with it. If you are confident in yourself, if you are comfortable with who you are, then there is less reason for you to adapt behaviour that is not in your nature.

        Introverts do benefit from socialising, but only a certain kind of socialising. If they are with people whose company they enjoy, feel comfortable in, they enjoy it. Otherwise, general socialising – just walking into a room full of strangers, and attempting to be bubbly, is energy draining for them. Whereas for extroverts, it’s energy producing.

        I agree that scientific studies are biased towards extroverts. Not just because extrovert happiness is easier to measure, but also because in general terms, what we term “success” as a society, high-level career, social status etc. require extrovert tendencies. That is why introverts who do get to high level management positions based on their skill, then find it difficult/tiring to have to deal with the extrovert way of dealing with people.

        Really interesting topic 🙂


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