Archive for the ‘Psychology’ Category

      Simple test that measures your stress level and personal anxiety. Excessive stress is terrible for the body, mind and soul; find out your results after taking this quick and painless test.




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         Check out these picture tests you stare at and they tell you how much stress you have. Criminals see them moving around madly, children and seniors see them as staying still. Find out what you see when you look at them.


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               Dan Gilbert, a professor of psychology at Harvard, recently gave a talk at the most recent Technology Entertainment Design (TED) conference. I had the chance to see the video in which Gilbert dissects the concept of synthetic happiness, or happiness made by the mind. I found the talk extremely interesting, and a very poignant view on the idea of true happiness. The idea of synthesizing one’s own “false” happiness seems to contradict what humans generally percieve as real satisfaction. Gilbert’s point comes from asking the question: why is self-generated happiness deemed less fulfilling than “natural” happiness, that is, attaining happiness by getting what we desire. The argument is quite compelling to contemplate.

               The key is to understand the boundaries and natural desires that arise in everyday life. Humans are obviously constantly in search of fulfillment, meaning, purpose and ultimately happiness. success_and_happiness1.jpgThe desire to get what we wish for, attain what we aspire to be, and live up to our own expectations has always been the assumed route to being happy in life. But, as Gilbert emphasizes, if we look deeper, research has shown that when given fewer options that what we initially want, we end up more satisfied. If that just flew over your head, let me simplify the equation. Person A is offered one free ipod case from a group of 3 different ones, and cannot change his mind once he picks the one he wants to take home. Person B is offered the same group of cases, but has 3 days to change his mind if he does not like the case he originally chose. Nearly 70% of the time, person A ends up more satisifed with their decision, but why? The answer is the deliberation factor, or as Gilbert calls it, the factor of boundaries. If we are offered the chance to change our decision, our brains tend to put too much importance on the different possible outcomes. When there is no turning back, and we are forced to stick with it, we inevitably end up more satisfied in the end.

                 This concept of placing too much importance on the different possible outcomes of our decisions is the foundation of synthetic happiness. The ability to be subconsiously more fulfilled with something based on the simple fact that there was “no turning back,” or no way to reverse our decision. Many times the irreversible desires prove much more fulfilling, despite the average assuption that being able to “fall back” on other options invites happiness. When we get what we originally want, we may end up regretting it.

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