more about: psychology

How Perceptions of Choice Affect Health and Happiness

In the new book “The Art of Choosing,” Columbia business school professor Sheena Iyengar discusses how to make better decisions. In addition, Iyengar demonstrates that perhaps the most important choice an individual can make is how she chooses to mentally frame her circumstances.

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Want to Feel More Cheerful and Energetic? Jump!

It occurred to me that my feet rarely leave the ground. For exercise, I use the stationary bike, the Stairmaster, yoga, and weight-training. I walk everywhere. I almost never run up the stairs or hop over puddles.

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Quiz: Are you organized?

It’s a real pain to be disorganized. You spend a lot of time hunting for your keys; you have to order a replacement birth certificate; you know you must have ten hammers someplace in your house, because you always end up buying a new one when you need it, because you can’t find the ones you already have.

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Do You Hoard Your New Underwear?

The most idiosyncratic and cryptic of my Twelve Personal Commandments is “Spend out.” What does that mean? I’m a bit of a miser. By spending out, I mean to stop hoarding, to trust in abundance, to stop keeping score.

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A Secret to Happiness? Long Underwear.

A humbling fact about my happiness project is that many of the ideas that have made the biggest difference in my life are so…simple. For example, consider one of my twelve personal commandments: Identify the problem.

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Does “Arrival” Make You Happier? Or Not?

Today is a big day for me. It’s the publication day for my book, The Happiness Project. I’ve been working on it for a long time — it’s hard to believe that it’s out in the world at last.

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A Secret to Happiness? Pick a Favorite.

On our last family trip to visit my parents in my hometown, Kansas City, it occurred to me that one of the reasons we have so much fun there is that we make the rounds of our “favorites” – our favorite hamburger joint, our favorite ice-cream store, our favorite toy store, our favorite book store, our favorite barbeque place (several contenders for this—it’s Kansas City, after all!)

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Note to Self: Don’t Talk About Things that Annoy Me.

Here’s something to do—or rather, not do—that has boosted my happiness and (I bet) the happiness of the people around me: I’m trying to resist the urge to talk about things that are annoying me.
One of my favorite authors, Samuel Johnson, observed: “To hear complaints is wearisome alike to the wretched and the happy.” I finally realized the truth of that statement.

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When Making Decisions, Are You a Satisficer or a Maximizer?

One of my favorite happiness-project Secrets of Adulthood is “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” But how, you might ask, does this apply in real life? Here’s a good example: decision-making.

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Are Midwesterners Really More Friendly?

I’m from Kansas City, Missouri (just a few blocks from the Kansas state line, but we Kansas Citians care a lot about the distinction), and a few days ago, I had dinner in New York with one of my best friends from high school, who now lives in Brooklyn. We were talking about Kansas City, and she told me that she’d decided that Midwesterners really were more friendly and enthusiastic than people on the East Coast.

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