The Science of Happiness

I’ve long held the belief that happiness matters; not just because it feels good but because it’s an important driver of success in life. This belief has recently led me to explore the fascinating new field of the science of happiness.  For years psychologist have focused on studying our negative emotions like fear, anger and greed; more recently the science of happiness has brought an important shift toward looking at our positive emotions such as our capacity for compassion, gratitude and trust.

On a mission to learn more I came across this short video that shares the work of UC Berkeley researchers embarking on a range of studies to explore positive emotions and happiness

I encourage you to take the time to hear how Psychologists Dacher Keltner, Rudy Mendoza-Denton, and sociologists Rob Willer and Christina Carter are discovering how and why happiness matters to the success of people in all walks of life.  Their studies and those of others in this exciting field are revealing that human beings are much more reliant on compassion, gratitude, trust, and altruism to survive and thrive than previously thought. The theory of “survival of the fittest” is giving way to “survival of the kindest.”

Speaking about the importance of raising happy children, Christina Carter says “what we know now is if what we want is for our children to be high achievers, to be good learners, if what we want for ourselves is to be successful in life, the best thing we can do is focus on our emotional well being”.  And as one teacher interviewed puts it “when you feel good in your environment, when you feel happy, when you feel confident, and you like coming to school, then you’re going to be able to take risks, you’re going to be able to try and learn new things and that’s how you get further in education.”

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