The world of psychology is overflowing with literature on how to live a good life and be happy. Who doesn’t want to be happy? The problem is that often people look in the wrong places. For example, many people think that the road to happiness involves great achievement, in either academic performance or in their career. Other people search for happiness in trying to make sure they have plenty of money and material comfort or possessions. However, it is possible to become very successful and very rich and still be entirely unhappy.
The brain is a phenomenal problem-solving machine. It will work on problems even when you aren’t aware that this is happening. How many times have you experienced an idea popping into your mind that provides a perfect answer to a problem you have been wrestling with. Our subconscious mind constantly churns over problems. It even does this when we are asleep.
Is your glass half-empty or half-full? Many psychologists believe that your answer to this question depends on what you regularly focus on. If you routinely focus on negative things and complain about them then, no surprises here, you will be a grouch. And you will never run out of things to complain about. It is like driving through life and all of your attention is focused on the dead flies and smears on your windscreen. You miss out on the scenery.
The research of the American Professor, Carol Dweck, suggests that there are two fundamental approaches which we can use when we encounter difficult learning or life challenges. One of these approaches will serve you well and carry you to many successes in life. The other will keep you stuck.
We all worry if we catch ourselves talking to ourselves. It’s said to be the first step to madness. But, in a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, leadership experts Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman propose that, in some contexts, talking aloud to yourself can be really helpful. In fact, they claim that it helped 92% of people they worked with to shed bad habits and become more successful.
Is intelligence the most important thing that determines our success in life? Possibly! But, in the 1960s a psychology experiment took place that suggested there is another factor which is far more likely to determine our future life course. The experiment was called ‘the marshmallow test’.
Has 2016 flown by for you? Is that because you were having fun, or is it because you are getting older? Interestingly, psychological research suggests that we all experience the passing of time differently, and that doing lots of new things may be the key to subjectively slowing time down.
New research suggests that people having a positive perspective on their future have a lower risk of death and major illness compared to people who have a more pessimistic outlook. A major study, published last week, followed the health of 70,000 older women over a six year period. Their average age was about seventy years old. The womens' level of optimism was measured by a questionnaire that asked how much they agreed with statements such as, “I’m always optimistic about my future”.
Many of life’s difficulties stem from an inability to accept things as they are. Sometimes this is because we experience a big gap between how we want things to be and how they actually are. Modern society doesn’t help with this – it creates expectations about what we should own or possess, or how we should look, or how we should be living our lives. Despite the fact that most of us live a life that would be on a par with royalty some centuries ago, we still remain dissatisfied. This dissatisfaction is further fuelled by a sense of entitlement – a belief that we deserve better.
Would you describe yourself as left wing or right wing? According to recent research the way your brain responds to images of disgust can predict your political leanings with a phenomenal degree of accuracy