This Is How Much Money You Need to Be Happy, According to Science


But not too much!

They say money can’t buy happiness, but let’s be honest, they say a lot of things – and they’re not always right.

When it comes to income, scientists say there actually is an ideal yearly amount we can earn to feel emotionally content and satisfied – and believe it or not, if you have too much money, you may actually start creeping back into unhappy territory.

“That might be surprising as what we see on TV and what advertisers tell us we need would indicate that there is no ceiling when it comes to how much money is needed for happiness, but we now see there are some thresholds,” explains psychologist Andrew T. Jebb from Purdue University.

Jebb and his team analysed data from the Gallup World Poll, an international survey of more than 1.7 million individuals from 164 countries.

When they examined participants’ responses on questions relating to life satisfaction and well-being – measures of what’s called subjective well-being (SWB) – they discovered the magic number for ‘income satiation’ is a global phenomenon, but one that varies considerably around the world.

Nonetheless, when you average the results out, we now have a rough idea of just how much $ = 🙂 in US dollars.

“We found that the ideal income point is $95,000 for life evaluation [overall life satisfaction] and $60,000 to $75,000 for emotional well-being [day-to-day happiness],” Jebb says.

“Again, this amount is for individuals and would likely be higher for families.”

Of course, the global average masks how satiation points are significantly higher in some countries than in others, broadly associated with how wealthy each nation is comparatively.

Life satisfaction costs $125,000 in Australia, $105,000 in North America, and $100,000 in Western Europe – but only $70,000 in Southeast Asia, $45,000 in Eastern Europe, and $35,000 in Latin America.

Globally, it’s cheaper for men to be satisfied with their lives ($90,000) than women ($100,000), and for people of low ($70,000) or moderate education ($85,000) than people with higher education ($115,000).

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the study is how it highlights that once you’ve hit income satiation, you may want to freeze your earning capacity right there.

“Another important phenomenon within our data was the presence of turning points at which income levels after satiation saw consistent decrements in happiness,” the authors explain.

“It has been speculated for some time that very high incomes may lead to reductions in SWB.”

The authors detected this phenomenon in their own results, but noted it was only evident in terms of life evaluation (not emotional well-being), and limited to just five of the nine regions considered in the study: Western Europe/Scandinavia, Eastern Europe/the Balkans, East Asia, Latin America/the Caribbean, and Northern America.

As for why the pattern isn’t found elsewhere, we don’t know for sure, but the researchers speculate it’s associated with the demands that come with higher wages.

“Theoretically, it is presumably not the higher incomes themselves that drive reductions in SWB, but the costs associated with them,” the researchers write.

“High incomes are usually accompanied by high demands (time, workload, responsibility, and so on) that might also limit opportunities for positive experiences (for example, leisure activities).”

If that’s the case, it gels with a lot of other research that’s shown money buys happiness but only if you have free time to enjoy it, by spending it on the right things, and not prioritising money over time.

There’s lots of ways to encourage feelings of happiness in your daily existence, but make sure you don’t buy into the most common misconceptions about where smiles come from.

There’s no enjoyable shortcuts here folks, but the good news is we’re all getting more happy all the time – in a manner of speaking, anyway – because old folks are some of the happiest folks around.

Source:  Nature Human Behaviour.

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Exploding Fear in 5 Steps – How to Liberate Yourself from Fear in Any Situation


Fear is what so frequently holds people back on the spiritual path. Fear of what might happen if you take a certain step. Fear of completely letting go and where that might lead. Fear of hurting others by being truly authentic.

Fear invades the mind, emotions and body. But to simply ‘over-write it’ with positive intentions or infusing ‘love and light’ can lead only to more layers of identity. The liberated flow of the soul is not something to intention, or create by a veneer of gloss. It just is, and it simply arises when we open the space for it. When the soul invites authentic choice, fear can often also arise.

So how do you deal with it most effectively?

Fear only ever comes up because it is ALREADY within.

Firstly, it’s important to say that you cannot ‘spread fear’ by raising the topic of something fearful — like fear of death for example. In a fully self-realised being, there is no fear, because there is always realisation of the One Self, which lives on through eternity. So fear can only activate where it already lies.

In other words, fear only ever comes up because it is already within. People carry it, often subconsciously. And while it exists, it’s always going to be limiting, even if the tendency is to temporarily white-wash over it with some positive gloss.

In the Openhand Approach, the only truly effective and lasting way to overcome fear (to dissolve it), is by the direct confrontation of it; to get into it, and deeply explore it.

Evolutionary Growth Through Learning and Expression

In spiritual circles and mainstream motivation groups, it’s so often the case to “imagine the best possible outcome of any given situation”. Then to work to create that. But whose creating? Who is imagining the “best possible outcome?” To me, it can only be an ego wanting a particular result.

In the Openhand perspective on the soul, there is only evolutionary growth through learning and expression. When the soul encounters a crossroads in life, with one direction marked ‘hell’ and the other ‘heaven’, the choice is made not based on what the most beautiful or desirable outcome might be; it is based on what can most be learned. And if that’s in some temporary kind of ‘hell’, then so be it. When the soul confronts some kind of situation, which causes it to contract in tightness, there represents a golden opportunity to deal with unrealised limitation.

In so doing, when the realisation through the challenge happens, it always comes with the most incredible expansion. As you shake off that which previously held you back, then your soul soars like an eagle. There’s immense joy that you reclaimed a lost aspect of Self.

How do you achieve this most effectively next time you encounter fear?

Bringing Fear to the Surface: Imagine the Worst Possible Outcome

To me, I witness that fear mostly arises because in some way, we’ve unconsciously distanced ourselves from the worst possible outcome of a given situation. Because it’s apparently too difficult to deal with, even to contemplate, the tendency is to sweep it under the rug. This has a very limiting internal effect — it creates polarity. In other words, it creates a small “I” identity, which is living in fear of that possibility and can now be victimised by it; in which case you are not being The One, which can be completely okay in ALL situations. People live their lives and shape whole realities based on such avoidance — like leaving an unfulfilling relationship for example, or ending a job which doesn’t serve.

Fear represents a golden opportunity, but only if we’re prepared to turn right into it, at the time it is arising, and work deeply through it. And the most effective way I’ve found of doing that is to contemplate the worst possible outcome from any given situation. So you literally imagine what could likely happen if you take the step your soul is guiding you into.

Explode Your Fear in 5 Steps:

Here’s how to effectively deal with your fear in 5 steps…

1. Locate your internal tightness: When you contemplate the worst possible outcome, then all your subconscious fear and constriction come up. What you’re really looking for is the internal tightness — maybe it’s in your head, your solar plexus or sacrum? Feel it, work into it, and above all, express it out into the world. This might be crying, screaming, shouting, or vigorous movement.

2. Become as-one with the pain: Now what’s happening, is you’re actually becoming as-one with the pain, with the fear. If you keep working with it, then there comes a point where you tire of it, where you’ve had enough of it, where you realise the baggage itself that you’re carrying around, is far worse than the worst possible outcome. And you might as well let it go. Thus, you’re empowering yourself by becoming The One in it.

3. Be prepared to completely fall apart: You must be prepared to completely fall apart. It’s like you’ve been controlling who you are, hanging onto who you should be — to what is expected of you. If you’re to truly penetrate through this, it will often feel like falling apart. And here’s the paradox of a liberated soul — that’s entirely okay!

4. Become The One: As you fall apart in it, as you really let go, then feel deeply through it into the sense of emptiness — into the Void. It feels like you’re touching the pure presence of complete acceptance. You’re now opening into infinite potential — the Source, from which authentic soul arises.

5. Unleash the freedom of the Soul: Finally, and here’s the great part, look for the natural expression of joy, expansiveness and rightness of the soul that wants to come through. Dance with it; sing and shout with it; give it wings by expressing it out into the world.

A Practical Example…

I recall giving a presentation to a crowded hall in Glastonbury several years ago. I tend not to plan such presentations other than the production of some slides and maybe the odd video or two. I always knew, that in coming from the source, all I needed was a thread — just a word or a feeling — from which to begin. This particular time I began with a video and as it drew to a close, I was watching for the first words to drop into mind, a place to begin, a thread to pick up. Usually they came but this time nothing — nothing at all. As the credits to the film rolled, still nothing. As the silence and expectation of the audience grew louder in my awareness still nothing. As I stood up, still nothing. All the while I was watching my inner feelings, any arising tightness — and softening into them. Yes I was feeling nervous, realsing a subconscious subtle desire for the people to appreciate me and my point of view. As that penny dropped, why would I limit myself by needing some kind of appreciation or outcome? What was wrong with how I was being? Even if nothing came? Even if I stood there in complete silence?

Time seemed to stretch right into eternity. Without need of outcome at all, any sense of fear, doubt and disbelief disappeared. I was infinitely vulnerable, and it felt completely blissful. So blissful that it felt humorous. And so I felt to begin by cracking a joke about the Pope, who just happened to be visiting the UK at the time. After the slightly uneasy silence, the audience fell about laughing and the presentation then flowed effortlessly.

Increasingly empowered, joyful and harmonious

I’m not saying it’s necessarily easy to approach your fears in this way. There will always be a myriad of opt-outs — comfortable other solutions that placate the fear rather than dealing with it. There’ll be lots of distractions and plenty of people advising how to make the best of the situation. But if you have the courage to turn into your fears in this way, you will explode the myth that they are.

Because you are The One, which has created everything by which to know itself, and therefore ultimately, fears nothing.

So, work to become the One within your fears, and they will surely burst like an exploding balloon. And your soul will expand out with empowered and joyful liberation. And what’s more, you won’t have to keep re-manifesting those fearful situations. By working through your fears, your life becomes increasingly empowered, joyful and harmonious. I wish you an empowered journey!

These Are The Factors That Can Help Predict if Your Spouse Might Cheat on You


Certain behaviours to watch out for.

If you’re preoccupied with infidelity, new research may help set your mind at ease.

Two longitudinal studies have revealed some of the factors that correlate with cheating – and, on the flipside, with fidelity, at least in the short term.

 Over 3.5 years, researchers at Florida State University followed 233 newly married couples across two longitudinal studies, comparing certain behavioural tendencies to the couple’s fidelity over time, and whether they were still together.

The team focussed on two psychological processes we may engage when assessing potential romantic partners: ‘attentional disengagement’ and ‘evaluative devaluation’.

Attentional disengagement happens when when you’re able to tear your attention away from something – in the case of the research, the participants were shown pictures of attractive people who could be considered a romantic option.

Meanwhile evaluative devaluation is mentally “downgrading” a potential romantic partner, even if it is one you’d consider especially attractive.

Both studies assessed attention disengagement, and the second one additionally looked at evaluative devaluation as well. The researchers checked in on the couples’ infidelity and relationship status multiple times over the duration of the studies.

The team, led by psychology professor Jim McNulty, showed both members of the couple photographs of very attractive men and women, as well as photographs of average-looking men and women (although it’s not clear by which metric attractiveness was gauged).

 The team found that those partners who disengaged their attention from attractive photos more quickly than average were nearly 50 percent less likely to cheat on their spouses.

Those who looked at attractive photos for longer than average were much more likely to cheat.

And those people who mentally downgraded attractive people, opting to find them less attractive, were also less likely to cheat on their spouses.

It’s also worth noting that none of these behaviours are conscious – but if you’re aware of them, you can nip your roving eye in the bud.

“People are not necessarily aware of what they’re doing or why they’re doing it,” McNulty said.

“These processes are largely spontaneous and effortless, and they may be somewhat shaped by biology and/or early childhood experiences.”

Although not the focus of the study, the results also identified other factors that correlated strongly with the likelihood of infidelity.

Younger people, those less satisfied with their relationships, and those with a satisfactory sex life were more likely to cheat on the partners. The latter is a surprising result, but the researchers hypothesised it could be because those people had a more positive attitude towards sex.

The woman’s attractiveness in a heterosexual couple also played a role. Less attractive women were more likely to cheat themselves – and also to be cheated on by their husbands. However, the man’s attractiveness didn’t seem to make a difference to the likelihood of infidelity.

Finally, sexual history also played a role. Men with a larger number of short-term partners before marriage were more likely to cheat, whereas women with a smaller number of partners before marriage were more likely to cheat.

While the team only looked at a a fairly small pool of newlyweds, insights from these results could potentially help stave off infidelity before it even occurs, the researchers said.

“These findings suggest a role for basic psychological processes in predicting infidelity, highlight the critical role of automatic processes in relationship functioning, and suggest novel ways to promote relationship success,” they wrote in their paper.

The research has been published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

How Seeing and Using Gestures Make Ideas More Memorable


 

A teacher stands at a white board in front of her fourth-grade class and begins teaching one of math’s most fundamental concepts: the meaning of an equal sign in the middle of an equation. This is not easy. Young students tend to think of the equal sign as the endpoint of a problem. Now, instead of the usual 8 + 4 = ?, they are asked to ponder 8 + 4 = ? + 6. Mastering this concept will open the door to algebra and higher math.

Almost any teacher giving this lesson will instinctively move her hands in predictable ways, pointing to the equal sign, sweeping her hand toward the left side of the equation and then sweeping it toward the right. She might hold both hands palms-up in a balancing gesture to suggest equivalency.

Now imagine the teacher giving the same lesson, using the same words, but with her hands flat on her desk or arms at her side. Turns out, her students will be much less likely to grasp the concept.

Susan Wagner Cook, an associate professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Iowa, has conducted numerous studies with scenarios like these – both with live teachers and with animated avatars (see video). Whether it’s a lesson in math, foreign language vocabulary or science, the result is the same: kids learn better with gesture.

“Gesture seems to help build understanding across really abstract things and really concrete things – numbers, words, a whole bunch of stuff,” Cook says.

Why this is so is not entirely clear, but gesture seems to lighten the load on our cognitive systems. Cook has shown, for instance, that if you ask people to do two things at once — explain a math problem while remembering a sequence of letters — they do a far better job if permitted to gesture while explaining.

Research suggests that when we see and use gestures, we recruit more parts of the brain than when we use language alone, and we may activate more memory systems – such as procedural memory (the type that stores automatic processes such as how to type or ride a bike) in addition to our memory for events and experiences.

Cook is among a cadre of researchers who study learning in the context of “embodied cognition” – the theory that our thoughts are shaped by the physical experiences of our body. According to this view, even when we think about abstract ideas, our brains link them to concrete, physical things that we experience through our hands, our senses and other body parts.

Studies that use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and other brain imaging techniques provide fascinating evidence for embodied cognition. For instance, when we hear verbs such as lick, pick and kick, they activate parts of the brain associated with the tongue, the hands and the legs, respectively. When we read about a happy event, there is greater activity in the nerves and muscles that control smiling.

One of the more remarkable findings in this field is that people who get Botox injections to reduce frown lines actually take longer to read sad and angry passages right after the injections than before, although there is no change of pace for reading happy tales.

Arthur Glenberg, a professor of psychology at Arizona State University, one of the authors of the Botox study and many others on embodied cognition, is applying the theory to help struggling readers succeed.

For more than a decade, Glenberg and colleagues have been developing systems that allow novice readers to physically simulate the content of books to enhance their understanding. The latest version is an iPad-based system called EMBRACE in which children can move characters and props around on a touch screen to bring the text alive. Unlike some multimedia picture books in which bells and whistles can distract from the story, the EMBRACE actions are tightly aligned with the text. If the story says that a farmer puts a pig in the pen, the child can slide a finger to do the same. If the text explains how blood flows from the heart’s right ventricle to the lungs, the reader can make it happen onscreen.

Glenberg has tested this system and an earlier version called Moved by Reading with struggling readers, including kids with learning disabilities, and has found sizeable increases in comprehension. The kids begin by acting out what they are reading — with support from a teacher or from the EMBRACE programming. Later they learn to simply “imagine” the physical actions.

The approach works across a variety of content areas — including story problems in math. In a 2011 study with 97 third- and fourth-graders, kids trained in the method solved 44 percent of math problems versus 33 percent for those in a control group. The trained kids were also much less likely (38 percent versus 61 percent) to mistakenly use irrelevant information in their calculations.

Word problems are notoriously hard for many students. “Kids sort of give up on trying to figure out what the meaning is and go right to playing with the numbers,” Glenberg explains. What the embodied approach does, he says, is help them develop “a sensorimotor representation” of the math problem. It “forces you to imagine the situation and that makes doing the math much easier.”

The same is true in reading. Many kids are able to sound out the text, but don’t actually understand it. This is particularly true of English language learners, Glenberg says. He has been testing the EMBRACE system for such students in the U.S. and in China. In a 2017 study with 93 native Spanish-speaking children in Arizona, he reports a “large positive benefit in story comprehension.” An enhanced version of the system offers some basic support in child’s native language.

A big question about the approach is whether kids who learn to read on this platform can make the leap to reading fluently without its support, internalizing the habit of picturing the story in their mind’s eye. Glenberg is in the process of studying this.

Using our bodies and gesture to teach is something parents and preschool teachers do instinctively (just think about rhymes like the “The Eensy-weensy Spider”). But work by Glenberg, Cook and many others indicates that the benefits can go far beyond preschool and extend to teaching advanced and abstract concepts.

Cook’s quick advice to teachers: “Use your hands. Make sure you don’t always have your smartboard controller in your hand. And if the students have their backs to you, it’s not as good.” She hopes that her work with gesturing avatars will eventually improve digital instruction, much of which makes poor use of body language.

As more and more of education comes to depend on technology and virtual instruction, it will be vital to capture under-appreciated aspects of human interaction that engage both body and mind.

 

If You Experienced Emotional Abuse As A Child, You Probably Do These Things As An Adult


Being a parent is a lot more than just sponsoring your kids for their education, food, and shelter. It’s a lot about giving them a strong foundation and raising good humans. Of course, every person is responsible for their behavior but it cannot be denied that we learn a lot from our surroundings in our childhood.

People say that kids don’t learn what you tell them. They instead learn what they see you doing. Maybe this is why we call homes our first school. It sounds harsh, but the truth is, not all parents are good parents. Some of them are the reason for raising difficult adults.

Emotional abuse as a child

Now if you look around yourself, you might come across certain people in your life who are tough. Not physically. They are just emotionally tough people. They do have weird habits which push people away from them and they come across as mean. But the truth yet remains to be at the grass-roots level that nobody was born bad.

There is always a reason for being a certain way, for having a particular set of morals and mindset. There are certain traits which are found in every person who has experienced child abuse in their past, which has made them the person they are today. To find out what these traits are, continue reading.

Pent Up Anger:

Anger

People who have experienced emotional abuse in their childhood do not often succeed in finding a way to channelize negative emotions out of their body. This is why all the anger, fear and aggression come get bottled up within and flow out only when it becomes overwhelming.

Anxiety And Depression:

anxiety

For someone who has grown in a negative atmosphere, it is only expected for them to be anxious and depressed adults. They feel so heavy and hollow all at once. Sometimes they even question the authenticity of love.

Crowd Pleaser:

crowd pleaser

For someone who has faced abuse as a child, validation plays a huge role. They like to make people feel fine even at the expense of their own emotions. They are afraid of others anger. Rather they are scared of being unpleasant around people and are scared of losing their company. Their hearts are emotionally weak because of how they were made to see the world in their growing age.

They Are Afraid To Stand Up For Themselves:

afraid

The main stage of confidence build up is childhood. How you make a child feel about themselves at a young age will determine how they think about themselves as adults. Emotional abuse sufferers are terrified of standing up for themselves because firstly, they avoid being a part of conflicts and secondly because they also fear taking actions.

How a Person Uses Language Can Be a Clear Sign of Depression Symptoms


Here’s what you need to know.

From the way you move and sleep, to how you interact with people around you, depression changes just about everything. It is even noticeable in the way you speak and express yourself in writing.

Sometimes this ‘language of depression’ can have a powerful effect on others. Just consider the impact of the poetry and song lyrics of Sylvia Plath and Kurt Cobain, who both killed themselves after suffering from depression.

Scientists have long tried to pin down the exact relationship between depression and language, and technology is helping us get closer to a full picture.

Our new study, published in Clinical Psychological Science, has now unveiled a class of words that can help accurately predict whether someone is suffering from depression.

Traditionally, linguistic analyses in this field have been carried out by researchers reading and taking notes. Nowadays, computerised text analysis methods allow the processing of extremely large data banks in minutes.

This can help spot linguistic features which humans may miss, calculating the percentage prevalence of words and classes of words, lexical diversity, average sentence length, grammatical patterns and many other metrics.

So far, personal essays and diary entries by depressed people have been useful, as has the work of well-known artists such as Cobain and Plath. For the spoken word, snippets of natural language of people with depression have also provided insight.

Taken together, the findings from such research reveal clear and consistent differences in language between those with and without symptoms of depression.

Content

Language can be separated into two components: content and style.

The content relates to what we express – that is, the meaning or subject matter of statements. It will surprise no one to learn that those with symptoms of depression use an excessive amount of words conveying negative emotions, specifically negative adjectives and adverbs – such as ‘lonely’, ‘sad’ or ‘miserable’.

More interesting is the use of pronouns. Those with symptoms of depression use significantly more first person singular pronouns – such as ‘me’, ‘myself’ and ‘I’ – and significantly fewer second and third person pronouns – such as ‘they’, ‘them’ or ‘she’.

This pattern of pronoun use suggests people with depression are more focused on themselves, and less connected with others. Researchers have reported that pronouns are actually more reliable in identifying depression than negative emotion words.

We know that rumination (dwelling on personal problems) and social isolation are common features of depression. However, we don’t know whether these findings reflect differences in attention or thinking style.

Does depression cause people to focus on themselves, or do people who focus on themselves get symptoms of depression?

Style

The style of language relates to how we express ourselves, rather than the content we express. Our lab recently conducted a big data text analysis of 64 different online mental health forums, examining over 6,400 members.

Absolutist words‘ – which convey absolute magnitudes or probabilities, such as ‘always’, ‘nothing’ or ‘completely’ – were found to be better markers for mental health forums than either pronouns or negative emotion words.

From the outset, we predicted that those with depression will have a more black and white view of the world, and that this would manifest in their style of language.

Compared to 19 different control forums (for example, Mumsnet and StudentRoom), the prevalence of absolutist words is approximately 50 percent greater in anxiety and depression forums, and approximately 80 percent greater for suicidal ideation forums.

Pronouns produced a similar distributional pattern as absolutist words across the forums, but the effect was smaller. By contrast, negative emotion words were paradoxically less prevalent in suicidal ideation forums than in anxiety and depression forums.

Our research also included recovery forums, where members who feel they have recovered from a depressive episode write positive and encouraging posts about their recovery.

Here we found that negative emotion words were used at comparable levels to control forums, while positive emotion words were elevated by approximately 70 percent.

Nevertheless, the prevalence of absolutist words remained significantly greater than that of controls, but slightly lower than in anxiety and depression forums.

Crucially, those who have previously had depressive symptoms are more likely to have them again. Therefore, their greater tendency for absolutist thinking, even when there are currently no symptoms of depression, is a sign that it may play a role in causing depressive episodes.

The same effect is seen in use of pronouns, but not for negative emotion words.

Practical implications

Understanding the language of depression can help us understand the way those with symptoms of depression think, but it also has practical implications.

Researchers are combining automated text analysis with machine learning (computers that can learn from experience without being programmed) to classify a variety of mental health conditions from natural language text samples such as blog posts.

Such classification is already outperforming that made by trained therapists. Importantly, machine learning classification will only improve as more data is provided and more sophisticated algorithms are developed.

This goes beyond looking at the broad patterns of absolutism, negativity and pronouns already discussed. Work has begun on using computers to accurately identify increasingly specific subcategories of mental health problems – such as perfectionism, self-esteem problems and social anxiety.

That said, it is of course possible to use a language associated with depression without actually being depressed. Ultimately, it is how you feel over time that determines whether you are suffering.

But as the World Health Organisation estimates that more than 300 million people worldwide are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18 percent since 2005, having more tools available to spot the condition is certainly important to improve health and prevent tragic suicides such as those of Plath and Cobain.

People who like to be alone have these 6 special personality traits


In terms of our personalities and how we approach others, we are often placed in one of two categories:

Introvert or Extrovert.

Is it possible to be a little bit of both? Have you ever wondered what qualities specifically make up each and what they indicate?

In this article we reveal what it means to be one of those fascinating people who loves to spend time alone and challenge the perceptions that they’re lonely, depressed, and full of anxiety.

Do you have a friend who would rather stay in over shared cups of tea and pass up the Music Festival of the year? Do you enjoy your own time so much that you’ll travel alone, go to dinner and have a glass of wine for one, as well as catch the occasional film with nobody by your side? If so, I am right there with you, because I do all of the above, but the problem is…

People who love to spend time alone have to explain themselves, as if it goes against a societal expectation of what’s normal and what’s not.

Here are some great qualities of people who like to spend time alone:

1. They’re Extremely Loyal

They don’t very often have a wide social circle and if they do, you won’t find them out every night of the week with large groups, lining up for the hottest club opening. They instead seek out meaningful and trustworthy friends who they feel comfortable to welcome into their space and share details of their life with. If you have a friend who likes to spend time alone, you can guarantee that this person will be there for you through thick and thin.

2. Surprise! They’re Open to New Ideas

Just because they cherish their quiet time doesn’t mean they won’t do something new and exciting. They just make sure to have their quiet time before taking the plunge into a highly social activity.

3. They Have a Level Head

They spend so much quiet time on their own, taking the time to navigate and contemplate situations, problems, and to really tap into who they are and what they want. They have a strong sense of self and a confidence that radiates from within. When they’re feeling stressed or the weight of the world is closing in? They spend time alone to recharge instead of filling their day with distractions.

4. They Are Comfortable With Their Own Thoughts

I’m sure we’ve all come across that person who can’t stand to be alone with their own thoughts. People who like to spend time alone, particularly in the quiet, display a clear conscience and do not struggle with their inner thoughts. Of course, we can all have down days but they tend to be able to navigate themselves out of any slump.

5. They Understand The Value of Time. Yours and Theirs

You’ll notice a word that keeps coming up in each point. The word is ‘time’. People who spend time alone understand and appreciate it’s value. They put a high priority on making that time available in order for them to function at their highest level and best self; so, when you are giving of your time they understand what you’ve given up for them. They have a deep sense of making sure not to waste your time or to spend time with people who are wasting theirs.

6. They Exercise Strong Boundaries

All of that time alone gives these people the space to think about what motivates them, what works and what doesn’t, and how to properly communicate this. You’ll find that they have strong and healthy boundaries and they exercise their right to communicate these in a really healthy and clear manner.

Have your perceptions changed? Can you see any of these qualities in yourself or a friend?

We all have a different approach to life, celebrating our differences is what’s it’s all about.

Loners Are the Most Loyal and Intellectual People You Will Ever Meet. Here’s Why


Most of us find loners baffling because they don’t seem to take any interest in the company of others or anything that involves being part of society. They never bother with the latest fashions and trends which are here one moment and gone the next. However, if you’ve ever attempted to do a thing and then realized that you were just wasting time all along, you’ll know how they feel.

 People who choose isolation prefer to do what they love, even if they’re doing it alone because then they are sure that is a well spend time. They are not dependent on others for joy and satisfaction. They have a firm hold on the reins of their lives. But, if you befriend one, you are actually luckier than you know. They can be quite picky about the company they wish to be in but they are also matter-of-fact, practical people who will only help you be better.

For starters, they don’t get distracted by meaningless fluff and chatter. They ensure that even hanging out with friends is time spent productively and positively. This benefits them, as well as all the people who are fortunate enough to spend time with them as even the fun that they have becomes educational.

Strangely enough, these people fall on both ends of the introvert-extrovert spectrum. Extroverts who like solitude are actually good at getting through to bigger groups of people whereas their introvert counterparts are better off in smaller parties as too many people tend to make them feel uncomfortable.

 But, the one thing they all have in common is that they wish to be around those who are actually intelligent and sincere. They like people who always project their true selves and will help them become happier and more successful. If you are one such person, you can be sure that this friend will help you unlock your full potential.

They are also fiercely loyal people who understand that all relationships – be it friendly, romantic or familial- are important. They are trusting and respectful, and they expect the same in return. It is not easy to get them to like you, and they will turn their back on you the minute you are unfaithful to them. They cannot forgive a betrayal. However, if you prove your worth to them, they will definitely be one of your closest friends, and you can trust them with your life.

 

The reputation game: how to control the way we appear in the eyes of others


Two recent nature documentaries suggest that saving species from extinction means looking more closely at ourselves.

What is it that we’re after when we watch animals on film? Is it a sense of wonder at the otherness of their worlds – or surprise at their similarities to our own? The recent Blue Planet II series offered its audiences both; from the deep-sea’s fangtooth fish, to the wily octopus who outwitted a shark. Yet still, for some viewers, there was something missing.

For journalist George Monbiot, that something was a lack of detail about how we can reverse the present, catastrophic environmental decline: “We kept being told that everything could be better if ‘we’ change. But change what? Where? How?” he tweeted after the final episode.

For me, it was something less tangible. I not only wanted to feel awe and sympathy for this wide-eyed animal world, but to understand why I feel that way. Can animals feel these things too? And what exactly will be lost if their worlds disappear for good?

Thankfully the wider documentary food chain has been reaching into these murkier depths. In particular, a new documentary biopic, Jane, about the 83 year-old primatologist and UN Messenger of Peace, Jane Goodall, offers a tender and telling insight into what it is to be human — and suggests it is perhaps more animal than we’ve been led to think.

The film’s archive footage, arranged by director Brett Morgan and sublimely scored by the composer Philip Glass, re-tells the story of Goodall’s life; starting with her decision, aged just 26, to travel to the Tanzanian jungle to study chimps.

Tall, blond and dressed in practical khaki shorts and a white shirt, we watch the young Jane pick her way through the jungle thicket. Her clambering movements are both self-assured and slightly awkward, as if conscious of being closely watched. Yet there is nothing tentative about her discoveries, which went on to prove that humans are not alone in their ability to make tools, experience complex emotions and even wage war.

Breaking the scientific consensus around these issues was far from easy, we discover, but she persisted: “The more I learned, the more I realised how like us they were,” her voiceover recalls.

And just as Jane’s research rests upon relationships, sensitivity and openness, so too does the film.

As the story unfolds, we watch Jane fall for Hugo van Lawick, the wildlife filmmaker whom National Geographic sent to document her work. The two animal-lovers soon start an unorthodox family together after Jane gives birth to a baby boy, living among the chimps at her research centre in Gombe National Park. And when Jane starts taking child-rearing tips from Flo, the alpha female in her study, it seems as if the two storylines – Jane’s and the chimps’ – have finally converged.

Another convergence is that between Lawick’s vision and our own. As his camera watches Jane who watches the chimps, the film creates a powerful reminder of the close ties between loving and looking; of paying attention to something to the point of deeper understanding and connection – even if, like Hugo and Jane’s, those relationships don’t always work out.

The film also avoids falling foul of the mistake made by much of the press at the time — which focused too much on Jane, and played up her looks at the expense of her credibility. Instead, it slowly and subtly shifts our attention to the chimp family; not conflating non-human with human, but recognising their equal claim to selfhood. In fact by the time the credits roll, it is their triumphs and traumas, even more than Jane’s, which carry the film’s emotional might.

Some may quibble that Jane does not, as with Blue Planet, spend enough time looking at the multiple threats that chimps now face, from deforestation and poaching, to climate change. But its storytelling may yet make better political animals of us all, and the film is now the first National Geographic documentary ever to be nominated for a BAFTA.

It contrasts sharply with the approach taken by another recently released documentaryThe Last Animalsby war-photographer Kate Brooks, which tackles the harm humanity is doing to the natural world head-on.

The film is a brutally direct examination of the rise of the modern poaching crisis, from the international poaching and trafficking syndicates who run the illegal trade, to the park rangers who risk their lives to stop them.

The statistics behind the film are terrifying by themselves alone: the black rhino is already extinct, and as for the African elephant, the largest creature to walk the earth, there are only 400,000 left in the whole continent; down 60 per cent since 2002.

But despite it’s more direct approach, The Last Animals shares Jane’s insights into the human sides of the story.

At one point, Professor Wasser, a forensics expert at the University of Washington, nearly breaks down on screen as he shows Brooks a cabinet filled with thousands of tiny plastic jars, each one containing the DNA from the ivory of a dead elephant.

In another scene, a group of conservationists attempt to protect a rhino from poachers by sedating it and cutting away its horn — but the animal responds badly and dies, leaving those involved visibly distraught.

Most unbearable of all, however, is the death of four park rangers at the hands of a poaching gang during the course of the film’s production. To have someone there and then simply not is the cruel truth of the crisis for animals and humans alike.

Yet the film is also far from hopeless. Professor Wasser’s forensic science is already helping to bring the trade’s criminal networks to justice. “We need to stop the killing – and while curbing demand [for ivory] is critical, it is far too slow,” he explains to me over the phone. “We need to be focusing our efforts on law enforcement and getting to these products before they go to transit.”

Speaking in a Q&A at Bloomsbury Curzon, the director Kate Brooks also encouraged the audience to visit a website which gives details of the UK government’s recent consultation on a full ivory ban.

The lesson from these two evnironmental films is not necessarily that that a human-focus always works: a recent documentary called Trophy, about the appetite for big-game hunting, risks gawping at the hunters’ behaviour and not properly interrogating the industry’s position and facts. But as the BBC promises a new landmark wildlife series, following animals in their family groups, they will hopefully not squeeze the human side of the story too far out of shot.

As much as they open a window on the animal world, great nature films must also ask who we are and who we want to be. As both Jane and The Last Animals suggest, saving species from extinction may depend on looking more closely at ourselves.

This Is The Biggest Key to Happiness, According to Science


Over the past two decades, the positive psychology movement has brightened up psychological research with its science of happiness, human potential and flourishing.

It argues that psychologists should not only investigate mental illness but also what makes life worth living.

 

The founding father of positive psychology, Martin Seligman, describes happiness as experiencing frequent positive emotions, such as joy, excitement and contentment, combined with deeper feelings of meaning and purpose.

It implies a positive mindset in the present and an optimistic outlook for the future.

Importantly, happiness experts have argued that happiness is not a stable, unchangeable trait but something flexible that we can work on and ultimately strive towards.

I have been running happiness workshops for the last four years based on the evidence from the above field of psychology.

The workshops are fun and I have earned a reputation as “Mrs Happy”, but the last thing I would want anyone to believe is that I am happy all the time. Striving for a happy life is one thing, but striving to be happy all the time is unrealistic.

Recent research indicates that psychological flexibility is the key to greater happiness and well-being.

For example, being open to emotional experiences and the ability to tolerate periods of discomfort can allow us to move towards a richer, more meaningful existence.

Studies have demonstrated that the way we respond to the circumstances of our lives has more influence on our happiness than the events themselves.

Experiencing stress, sadness and anxiety in the short term doesn’t mean we can’t be happy in the long term.

Two paths to happiness

Philosophically speaking there are two paths to feeling happy, the hedonistic and the eudaimonic.

Hedonists take the view that in order to live a happy life we must maximise pleasure and avoid pain. This view is about satisfying human appetites and desires, but it is often short lived.

In contrast, the eudaimonic approach takes the long view. It argues that we should live authentically and for the greater good. We should pursue meaning and potential through kindness, justice, honesty and courage.

If we see happiness in the hedonistic sense, then we have to continue to seek out new pleasures and experiences in order to “top up” our happiness.

We will also try to minimise unpleasant and painful feelings in order to keep our mood high.

If we take the eudaimonic approach, however, we strive for meaning, using our strengths to contribute to something greater than ourselves. This may involve unpleasant experiences and emotions at times, but often leads to deeper levels of joy and contentment.

So leading a happy life is not about avoiding hard times; it is about being able to respond to adversity in a way that allows you to grow from the experience.

Growing from adversity

Research shows that experiencing adversity can actually be good for us, depending on how we respond to it. Tolerating distress can make us more resilient and lead us to take action in our lives, such as changing jobs or overcoming hardship.

In studies of people facing trauma, many describe their experience as a catalyst for profound change and transformation, leading to a phenomenon known as “post-traumatic growth”.

Often when people have faced difficulty, illness or loss, they describe their lives as happier and more meaningful as a result.

The ConversationUnlike feeling happy, which is a transient state, leading a happier life is about individual growth through finding meaning.

It is about accepting our humanity with all its ups and downs, enjoying the positive emotions, and harnessing painful feelings in order to reach our full potential.