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Noticing and Linking

 

Techniques Happiness > Noticing and Linking

Description | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Notice the good things around you. Pay attention to the fact that it is a pleasant, sunny day. Appreciate the rich hues of flowers and leaves. Remember how important and kind your friends are.

Associate with these good things. Connect yourself into them and feel them becoming a part of you. Link your feelings to things that make you feel good.

In the same way, turn away from the things that make you unhappy. Do not dwell on miserable memories. Think about the good ones, even if they are brief. Who cares that you are not the richest person in the world? You are alive now, with many good things around you.

Discussion

We take a lot of cues for happiness from our environment and, as we notice them, we not only feel happier but we make predictions of continuing happiness. The Availability Heuristic comes into play here as we assume that what comes to mind is more generally applicable. We are also affected by mood when we assess happiness and anything that lifts our general mood also lifts our general sense of happiness.

In one psychology experiment (Schwarz and Strack, 1999), people who found a (planted) cent on a photocopier later reported being happier on average with their whole lives. In another experiment (Schwarz and Clore, 1983), people reported being happier with their lives when asked on a sunny day, but only if the researcher drew their attention to the fine weather.

See also

Availability Heuristic

 

Schwarz, N. and Clore, G. L. (1983). Mood, Misattribution, and Judgements of Well-Being: Informative and Directive Functions of Affective States. JPSP, 1983, 45, 513-523

Schwarz, N., and Strack, F. (1999). Reports of subjective well-being: Judgmental processes and their methodological implications. In D. Kahneman, E. Diener, & N. Schwarz (Eds.), Well-being: The foundations of hedonic psychology (pp. 61-84). New York: Russell-Sage

 

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