1. Spend money on experiences: makes you more likable and happier longer term.
  2. Watch less TV, use less social media, reduce social comparisons.
  3. Remember that there’s hedonic adaptation, don’t overestimate the intensity and duration of the boost you’ll get by accomplishing something you want or getting it.
  4. Focalization: focusing too much on a single thing and forgetting to put it in the perspective of life at large.

The Science of Well-Being

Reference: Coursera: The Science of Well-Being by Laurie Santos from Yale

  1. We badly predict what will make us happy.
  2. Job salary: if making 30k, we want 50k. If making 100k, we want 250k. The more you have the more you want.
  3. Money and life satisfaction: 0.1 correlation
    1. Stronger impact on poorer countries
    2. $75k threshold
  4. Materialists are less happy and more mental disorders. Study on 12k freshmen and 20-year follow-up.
  5. True love? Marriage boost for 1-2 years.
  6. Lose weight: diet plans make us unhappy.
  7. Happiness is determined by:
    1. 40% Thoughts and actions
    2. 10% Life situation
    3. 50% Genetics
  8. Social comparisons mess up our benchmark.
  9. Annoying features:
    1. Intuition is wrong
    2. Relatives, not absolutes
    3. Mind habituate = hedonic adaptation
    4. Don’t realize we have hedonic adaptation
  10. Relatives: olympic bronze happier than silver. Bronze reference point – nothing! Silver reference point – gold!
  11. Harvard:
    1. Opt 1 – $50k while others make $25k.
    2. Opt 2: make $100k others $250k
    3. Over 50% chose option 2.
  12. TV: 1997 Study show that watching TV leads to unreasonable reference points including wealth reference point. More TV lowers happiness.
  13. 1989: Spouse ratings drop after looking at hot people (Kendrick)
  14. 2014: Facebook use correlation with unhappiness. r = -0.2 (2x as strong as salary correlation on happiness).
  15. Impact bias: we forecast higher intensity and duration than reality, particularly for negative events.
  16. Focalizing: focus on one thing and forget to put it into perspective of life & large.
  17. Experiences >> Stuff
  1. Other people think more highly
  2. of those that speak of experiences. 2x as likely to be considered humorous, 1.5x as friendly.
  3. Howell & Hill (2009)
  1. Savoring: note things and focus. Jose et al. (2012)
    1. Helps:
      1. Talk about how good it felt
      2. Share it with other people
      3. Think about how lucky
      4. Think about sharing with others
      5. Physical expressions of energy
      6. Laughed or giggled
      7. Told myself how proud I was
      8. Be present and absorbed
    2. Hurts
      1. Focus on future
      2. Reminding it’ll be over
      3. Told myself is not as good
      4. Reminded nothing lasts forever
      5. Thought it’ll never be this good again
      6. Thought about how it could be better
      7. Told myself didn’t deserve it
  2. Kurtz (2008): take pictures to savor, but focus to be present. Don’t let Instagram make you lose the present.
  3. Negative visualization: think about how things may not have worked out
    1. Wrote about it might not have been (5.67)
    2. Wrote about how it happened (4.77)
  4. Gratitude visit: deliver in person a hand-written gratitude letter. Measurably happier 1+ months.
  5. 50% higher fundraising per caller from supervisor showing gratitude.
  6. Reset your reference point:
    1. Re-experience: what was it like before your last promotion?
    2. Concretely observe: what is it really like out there? Grass greener?
    3. Avoid social comparisons: practice gratitude instead
    4. Interrupt consumptions: Ads/pauses help overall satisfaction.
  7. My character strengths (VIA TEST)
    1. Judgement
    2. Love of learning
    3. Honesty
    4. Hope
    5. Love
    6. Gratitude
  8. Growth mindset is correct

Being Happier

  1. Kindness
  2. Prioritize time over money after basic needs are met
  3. Social connections: more = happier, even with strangers.
  4. Time affluence: having time to do what you want
  5. Mind control: mind wanders 47% of the time → meditate
  6. Exercise: 3x/wk for happiness and cognitive performance.
  7. Sleep: happiness and cognitive performance.