We are Made for Love

As I mentioned in the previous post, the 2nd World Congress on Positive Psychology happened last weekend. I wasnt’ there, but that is what I found out: this year’s conference boasts 1,200 attendees from 62 countries, 50 symposiums and workshops, 400 posters, and 22 speakers from around the world. I’m very impressed with Kelly Erickson’s post on Greater Good about the presentation by Barbara Fredrickson on the opening day “Love: A New Lens on the Science of Thriving”:

” Fredrickson completely transformed how I think about love and connection. She first got my attention by: defining what love IS and is NOT. According to Fredrickson:

Love is NOT: sexual desire (there is love in sexual desire), special bonds (products of love), commitment (which is a decision), exclusive (love is not felt for just one person), and lasting (as with all other emotions, love is a reaction to changing circumstances). And, finally, love is not unconditional, in that it requires two preconditions: 1) safety felt when with another, and 2) connection in the form of co-presence, eye contact, touch, voice, etc.
Love IS: an investment in the well-being of others for others’ sake, and perceived responsibility for them and them for you (i.e., the feeling that others ‘get’ me/care about me, etc). Love, like other emotions, has a biological component.

Her resulting definition for love: an interpersonal, social situation with positive emotion marked by momentary increases in invested well-being in others, bio-behavioral synchrony, and mutual responsive action tendencies.

Taking a step back, Fredrickson gave an overview of the numerous positive aspects of positive emotions, especially the ways they make us feel connected to others emotionally and the way they make us better at taking others’ perspectives, which not only makes us more likely to help them but enables us to see past differences that may divide us, such as racial differences.

She then drew on several studies to highlight the behavioral and neurological effects when two people share positive emotions. The more connected two people feel—such as through sharing joy, gratitude, pride, laughter, inspiration, awe, etc.(!)—the more they will move their bodies in similar ways and the more their neurological activity will look the same.

So this sounds a lot like what she defines as “love,” doesn’t it?

In fact, Fredrickson proposed that when any positive emotion is shared between two people, the act of sharing that emotion changes it into one of love; in other words, love is any shared positive emotion.

Taking this a step further, she said that love is a single act performed by two bodies and brains. She concluded with a slide picturing two hikers on their journey to the top of a snow covered mountain: Love is the pinnacle of emotions, she argued. We are not “made to love,” she said, but “made for love.”

Read complete post http://bit.ly/oEVs47 .

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Great Life Happiness Manual

I met Ricky a couple of days ago at “I’m happy project” meet-up in Santa Monica. I learned about his website, which I studied thoroughly and I found a lot of great quotes, posts,  audio and video material. This one is my favorite:

It reminded this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTJ7AzBIJoI. The lyrics are taken from a famous essay — written in 1997 by Mary Schmich, a columnist with the Chicago Tribune — which gives some amazing advice for life, highly recommend everyone to watch the video or read this http://tinyurl.com/schmich-sunscreen!

International Happiness Day is on July 10

I just found out about this website and International Happiness Day, which was proposed back in 2008 by a person from Portugal. On the website you can find a letter to the UN to promote Happiness and Peace on Earth. They will need 50 mln signatures. It is a cool idea and I put my signature on it. Check it out for yourself.
Hello,  

My name is sign now! and I live in sign now!. I recently found out about International Happiness Day on July 10th. I am writing to you because I see the importance of commemorating this worthy cause world wide.
Over the years we have come to take cause in the fundamental human experiences beyond technology and economics and have noticed there was an overlooking of important concepts like the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink. We have Dr. Robert Muller, Former Assistant Secretary General for the United Nations, who saw the importance of holding a worldwide environmental conference. We also so the with the UN supported universities of Peace.
As the environment becomes more of a concern and our need for peace on Earth starts getting attention, it is imperative for our world to embrace simple human experiences such as happiness and love.
By acknowledging and supporting the cause of International Happiness day, it would help me know that happiness is my birthright and I was born here, that happiness is a state of being that starts with a choice to be happy!
It is your duty as my UN representative to take my request serious and know that as other countries have forged forward with their own happiness emphasis, i.e. Bhutan and Gross National Happiness, other countries are making headway as well. The reason why happiness is so important to me and everyone I know is because of all of the great benefits that come with it, such as better health.
By commemorating this July 10th, 2011 as an International Happiness day, I as a global citizen will practice gratitude, love, joy, optimism and forgiveness at each and every opportunity. Please embrace and support this initiative, it could be the greatest day our planet has ever experienced!

All my best in happiness,

sign now!

Making the Happiness Formula

Last weekend I finalized happiness categories to be in the formula. The whole process of identifying and validating them took at least four months. I had to read psychology books, self-help books, philosophical works, summaries of religious views, results of various happiness studies and tests. I studied Maslow hierarchy of needs. To collect more modern happiness categories from real humans, I conducted happiness survey back in March. I combined my survey findings with research findings and then removed duplicates. It is important to exclude overlapping categories as much as possible, but have remaining categories complement each other and to form happiness base.

Last month while searching for categories, I found 2003 Happiness model generated by psychologists after interviewing 1,000 people. Its categories were lumped into groups (to make formula short) and that was hard to understand from the user point of view. The model I generated is about having separate defined categories, that don’t have to be in the formula all the time. Individuals will be able to pick and choose what categories apply to their happiness and generate their own formula, which will be unique. Even if everyone on the planet was happy at the same time, all individual formulas still be different as people’s happiness is derived from different sources and amplitude of it is different.

You will be able to create your happiness formula which describes your particular state of mind, outlook on life, if you wish, which will be constantly changing, and you will learn later why.

It would be strange to impose some ideal formula of happiness on someone and say that they have to conform.  People go through different stages in life and some parts of the formula maybe not be understood or accepted by them. Some categories may be absolutely unimportant to some people at some point of their life or throughout life. They just need to understand the whole spectrum of happiness sources to be prepared for changes and to maintain their happiness level long-term.

So I unbundled some broad group categories (like environmental mastery) into standalone categories. And created phrase categories that are easy to understand and identify as the same need to a certain limit. For example, category Love: do you have enough love in your life? This will most likely be interpreted as romantic love that could be platonic or not, but could also be parent’s, sibling’s or friend’s love. etc. So it is up to you what kind of love you want, you just need to be able to tell how much of it you have now in your life. For those who are confused on what love is there will be a way to clarify that later in subcategories.

So in short the formula is about what is it that we want for us to be happy vs how satisfied are we with it now. When I finished describing categories, I created a model in Excel file with formulas of how it will work and started using it daily. Today is the 5th day of my testing and I found some interesting facts.

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