Now, aren’t you glad you missed out on all that Gamestop excitement? The Reddit trader who boasted that he made tens of millions of dollars, leading an army of amateur investors in a campaign framed as pitting Main Street versus Wall Street — lost $13 million as shares of Gamestop plummeted. The only regret I have is that I have a sore back from shoveling all that snow we caught here in New Jersey. But my wallet is still intact, and I can claim that I did not lose millions of dollars this week. I bet you didn’t either. So we can both be happy we are not losers.
Lately, I have been doing my best to avoid the news as it tends to defeat my goal of maintaining my sense of happiness. I tell you what I have been doing, though – watching robot wars. Oh, my wife dislikes it so much. So I am banished to the spare bedroom to enjoy the mechanical carnage all by myself. I don’t get the courage these builders have in investing so much time and money only to see their beautifully crafted machines shredded to pieces. They are then back next week with a rebuilt robot ready to tempt fate again contest where the robot winner receives simply a giant nut as a trophy. Squirrels seem smarter, as at least their trophy nuts are edible.
Things that made me happy this week
My local newspaper, the Bernardsville News interviewed me about my latest book Happiness Power.
I was a guest Monday evening discussing happiness techniques with Lionel Ketchian on his Happiness U program.
A slightly sore arm: I finally got the first Covid vaccination that has been so elusive.
The international high school student that we have hosted for the last three years was accepted to Emory University, Atlanta. We'll miss him!
The Latest Happiness Study- Your Sense of Mattering
Happiness researchers have identified common elements that are found in happy people. An essential element is one’s sense of mattering.
There are two forms of happiness – in the moment and fulfillment. In-the-moment comes for the actions that provide immediate gratification. For example, a dive into cool water on a hot day or the taste of a luscious brownie. Then there is the more long term related to life meaning. This type of happiness comes when we achieve a goal or create something to be proud of.
According to researchers at the University of Sussex, “Meaning is the web of connections, understandings, and interpretations that help us comprehend our experience. It helps us formulate plans directing our energies to the achievement of our desired future. Meaning provides us with the sense that our lives matter, that they make sense, and that they are more than the sum of our seconds, days, and years.”
While both types of happiness are important, research suggests that life meaning becomes more important to us over time. Fortunately, a recent paper published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology offers guidance on how to improve it.
From this definition, the psychologists extracted three core themes: coherence, purpose, and mattering. They are defined below.
Coherence refers to the process of making sense of the world and one’s experiences in it. Feeling a “sense of order” and “comprehensibility” are key facets of life coherence.
Purpose describes the feeling of having a life goal, or multiple life goals, and being able to work toward those goals. It is understood as a future-oriented motivational state — that is, having a vision for how one’s life should be.
Mattering refers to the belief that one’s actions are making a difference in the world and that one’s life is significant and worth living.
Other research suggests that mattering is especially important in our professional lives. Employees who scored higher on the agree-disagree scale below, for instance, expressed higher job satisfaction and engagement.
My work contributes to my organization’s success.
The quality of my work makes a real impact on my organization.
My work influences my organization’s functioning.
My organization praises my work publicly.
My co-workers praise my work.
I am well known for the quality of my work in my organization.
My work has made me popular at my workplace.
When employees feel like they matter to their organization, they are more satisfied with their jobs and life, more likely to occupy leadership positions, more likely to be rewarded and promoted, and less likely to quit,” state the authors of this research, led by Andrew Reece of the company, BetterUp, and David Yaden of the University of Pennsylvania. “These findings lend weight to the basic value of mattering in organizational contexts.”
This week's sweet food for happy thoughts.
"Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so.
Matthieu Ricard, 69, is a Tibetan Buddhist monk originally from France called "the world's happiest man." According to Ricard, if you want to be happy, you should strive to be "benevolent," which will make you feel better and make others like you better. You start by thinking happy thoughts for 10 to 15 minutes per day, Ricard says. Typically when we experience feelings of happiness and love, it's fleeting, and then something else happens, and happiness and love, we move on to the next thought. Concentrate on not letting your mind get distracted and keep focused on the positive emotions.
New research suggests that the lockdown helped restore people's happiness after the UK's national levels fell when the pandemic began. According to a study by Cambridge University's Bennett Institute for Public Policy, the number of Britons self-reporting as "happy" halved in just three weeks at the start of lockdown. The researchers found that the number of people declaring themselves as "happy" went from 51 percent just before the UK's first Covid-19 fatality to 25 percent by the time lockdown began on 23 March. However, once lockdown restrictions started to be lifted, these figures reversed, with happiness levels increasing back to close to what they were pre-pandemic, reaching 47 percent by the end of May.
Actively pursuing happiness can backfire. Here's what research shows helps increase joy. Happiness isn't a great long-term goal simply because it is a "fluctuating emotion," as psychologist Itai Ivtzan described it in Psychology Today. Numerous studies have shown that living and working with a sense of purpose of physical and emotional benefits. Experts believe the pursuit of purpose is what sets us apart. "Humans may resemble many other creatures in their striving for happiness," wrote researchers in a 2013 study. "But the quest for meaning is a key part of what makes us human, and uniquely so."
Recent studies reveal why Mondays are so hard. Multiple studies suggest that people’s moods are typically at their lowest on Mondays. There are physiological factors involving the body’s natural cycle that help explain why Mondays can feel so rough, particularly for those of us who follow traditional Monday-to-Friday workweeks. The main issue is that we tend to abide by a different sleep schedule during the weekend than the rest of the week. But the most common reason people find Mondays so difficult is that it follows two days of freedom and enjoyment
HAPPINESS TIP: Well, that wraps our newsletter this week. But, before I sign off, I want to remind you of one of the most valuable actions you can take to increase your happiness – the tactic is to increase others' happiness. You do so with simple gestures of kindness and generosity through small compliments. They are cost-free, but you double the reward as it not only makes others happier, their happiness is infectious as it is transferred back to you. Try it today and see how an honest compliment to another works wonders for your good mood.