- The Happiness Research Institute | The science of well-being
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- What is Happiness? A Definition of Happiness
There are nearly limitless degrees of happiness between the bliss of enlightenment and the despair of depression. Most of us fall somewhere between, closer to the middle than the edges. Over the millennia many have offered answers to this question and nearly all came back with too simple answers to what is, at its core, a complex problem.
Let me ask you a question. Would you say that you, like all humans, are complicated to understand? Of course you are. We all are.
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That complexity means that there are no simple, one-size-fits-all answers to what makes us happy. Our individual needs vary based on our genetics, how we were raised, and our life experiences. That complex combination is what makes each of us unique, both in our exact needs, and in every other aspect of what makes us the person we are. We may each be complex but we are all human and that provides the foundation on which we can discover our essential human needs.
The Happiness Research Institute | The science of well-being
Just as we are all born looking human on the outside, we all share common basic needs on the inside. Where we differ is exactly how strongly we feel each of those needs. I like to think of each of us like one of those big recording studio mixer boards, the ones with all the sliding controls and knobs, some of which interact with each other, some working separately, all working together to produce the final product.
Each knob and slide may be set a particular way, the way that produces the person we are. We each have the same knobs and sliders but we each have them set a bit differently. Our current theory, largely based on new scientific discoveries about how the brain works and on current happiness theories, has identified 9 universal and overlapping human needs which go by the handy acronym WE PROMISE.
These 9 categories cover the range of human needs in a very general way and are intentionally overlapping, just as our thoughts and feelings overlap in our mind. All these are experienced in one event, many at the same moment in time. Wishing you happiness and fufillment, Kenneth Benjamin and the Happiness International team. Using the toolkit has been shown to lead to significant improvements in children's wellbeing.
Ten Keys to Happier Living New book from psychology expert Vanessa King, showing how we can unlock the science of happiness, become happier and help create a happier world. Action for Happiness Course Take our 8-week 'Exploring What Matters' course to discover what really matters for a happy and fulfilling life - together with a group of friendly, like-minded people. Our poster series Everyone's path to happiness is different.
But our review of the latest research has found 10 Keys to Happier Living. Download and share our free series of posters on the 10 keys to happiness! The happiness of a 2nd-degree contact e. Happiness doesn't just feel good. A review of hundreds of studies has found compelling evidence that happier people have better overall health and live longer than their less happy peers. Anxiety, depression, pessimism and a lack of enjoyment of daily activities have all been found to be associated with higher rates of disease and shorter lifespans.
Harvard School of Public Health examined separate research studies on psychological wellbeing and cardiovascular health. When we give to others it activates the areas of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection and trust. Altruistic behaviour releases endorphins in the brain and boosts happiness for us as well as the people we help. Studies have shown that giving money away tends to make people happier than spending it on themselves. Recent research has shown that an 8 week mindfulness meditation class can lead to structural brain changes including increased grey-matter density in the hippocampus, known to be important for learning and memory, and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection.
Having a network of social connections or high levels of social support has been shown to increase our immunity to infection, lower our risk of heart disease and reduce mental decline as we get older. Our emotions affect our long term well-being. Research shows that experiencing positive emotions in a 3-to-1 ratio with negative ones leads to a tipping point beyond which we naturally become more resilient to adversity and better able to achieve things.
Research shows that people who are optimistic tend to be happier, healthier and cope better in tough times. Live the life you have imagined" - Henry David Thoreau. Western neuroscience has now confirmed what Eastern wisdom has known for a long time: happiness is a skill we can learn. Research shows that happiness, compassion and kindness are the products of skills that can be learned and enhanced through training, thanks to the neuroplasticity of our brains. So the good news is that our actions really can make a difference.
But recent discoveries in psychology and neuroscience show that this formula is backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. When we're positive, our brains are more motivated, engaged, creative, energetic, resilient, and productive. Meditating together as a family can help parents and children to lower stress and enhance wellbeing. Supporting the movement. We just need a little bit of information about you before we can add this to ouractions for happiness.
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What is Happiness? A Definition of Happiness
This is the commitment that our members make to live their life as a force for good. Areas of interest Click to select We can send you information relevant to your areas of interest. Areas of work Click to select We can send you information relevant to your area of work. Why are you joining the movement Why are you joining the movement. All things considered how happy are you on a scale of 0 to 10? Let's take action for a happier world Join the movement.
The movement is growing from countries Join us. X Your browser doesn't support frames. Action for Happiness helps people take action for a happier and more caring world Our patron is The Dalai Lama and our members take action to increase wellbeing in their homes, workplaces, schools and local communities. Ways you can take action Action 19 Give yourself a happiness check up more about this action. Action 41 Take care of the world around you more about this action.
Action 21 Know your thoughts , choose your actions more about this action. Action 24 Understand each others' needs more about this action. Action 3 Create a local Action for Happiness group more about this action. Action 20 Learn how to meditate more about this action. Action 30 Figure out what's important to you more about this action.
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Action 16 Set your goals and make them happen more about this action. Action 38 Boost your positivty ratio more about this action. Action 43 Wake up your MP and your Council to wellbeing more about this action. Action 4 Find three good things each day more about this action.
Action 2 Do kind things for others more about this action. Action 22 Find your true purpose more about this action.
Action 8 Find your strengths and focus on using them more about this action. Action 26 Ask others about the things that have gone well more about this action. Action 28 Detox your negative thinking patterns more about this action. Action 32 Write down your dreams for your future more about this action. Action 5 Thank the people you're grateful to more about this action.