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Spiegeloog 412: HappinessThe Corridor

The Corridor: What makes you happy?

By May 24, 2021November 18th, 2021No Comments

For this issue of the Spiegeloog, instead of asking two psychology students about what makes them happy, I thought it would be nice to ask this question to more people within the psychology faculty. So, in the end, around 80 students but also a few faculty members wrote down three to five things that made them happy. Maybe you can take some inspiration for when you are feeling stressed, a bit down or just want to do something nice!

For this issue of the Spiegeloog, instead of asking two psychology students about what makes them happy, I thought it would be nice to ask this question to more people within the psychology faculty. So, in the end, around 80 students but also a few faculty members wrote down three to five things that made them happy. Maybe you can take some inspiration for when you are feeling stressed, a bit down or just want to do something nice!

Looking at the word cloud, I can certainly identify with a lot of the factors mentioned by the students and faculty members. If I was to describe three things that make me really happy, it would be spending quality time with my friends, enjoying delicious food, and discovering aesthetic cafes and shops when traveling, the hidden gems that you can only find on accident. Besides our personal experiences, there is also a considerable amount of research dedicated to happiness. Here are some of the most common factors related to happiness, maybe there is one you would like to engage in.

Gratitude

Practicing gratitude means being thankful for and appreciative of one’s life. This thankfulness can be expressed toward people but also objects. It has been shown that reflecting on your blessings on a regular basis is related to being happier and more content with life. Writing down three things you are grateful for each evening – either in a physical notebook or on your phone – might be something to incorporate into your evening routine. 

Savouring

The next time you have a really tasty cup of coffee, focus on the joy and pleasure it brings you. Do not rush over the experience but really attend to it. This is because people who are impatient and rush over pleasant experiences tend to feel less happy (Niedenthal & Ric, 2017). So, take your time. Imagine that you have a friend who you could not go to the café with. You want to share your experience when visiting them later in the afternoon. So, while you are in the café, try to focus on the surroundings and take a mental photograph you can share later.

Mindfulness 

As psychology students, we are probably all aware of the large focus on mindfulness in the recent literature. However, this focus is justified since being mindful is related to increased happiness. By paying attention to your current situation without judging it, stress and anxiety can be reduced (Niedenthal & Ric, 2017). For those who would like to engage in more mindfulness and like listening to a British accent, you could try the app ‘Headspace’.

Positive relationships 

Those who are the happiest report having the most positive relationships (Niedenthal & Ric, 2017). This variable focuses on quality rather than quantity – having a couple of excellent social relationships makes you happier than multiple superficial ones. So, even in times of COVID-19, how about meeting up with the friend you have been meaning to see for months? With the weather getting better, having a coffee outside might be an idea. 

Generosity and pro-social behaviour

And last but not least, donating money for charity, helping others, and being generous does not only make the recipient  – but especially the giverhappy (Niedenthal & Ric, 2017). Maybe there is a charity you could take part in, some older neighbours that need help with their groceries or an organisation you always wanted to support. Helping them will not only make them but also you happy. Quite a win-win situation!

References

– Niedenthal, P. M., & Ric, F. (2017). Psychology of Emotion (Principles of Social Psychology) (2nd ed.). Routledge.

Looking at the word cloud, I can certainly identify with a lot of the factors mentioned by the students and faculty members. If I was to describe three things that make me really happy, it would be spending quality time with my friends, enjoying delicious food, and discovering aesthetic cafes and shops when traveling, the hidden gems that you can only find on accident. Besides our personal experiences, there is also a considerable amount of research dedicated to happiness. Here are some of the most common factors related to happiness, maybe there is one you would like to engage in.

Gratitude

Practicing gratitude means being thankful for and appreciative of one’s life. This thankfulness can be expressed toward people but also objects. It has been shown that reflecting on your blessings on a regular basis is related to being happier and more content with life. Writing down three things you are grateful for each evening – either in a physical notebook or on your phone – might be something to incorporate into your evening routine. 

Savouring

The next time you have a really tasty cup of coffee, focus on the joy and pleasure it brings you. Do not rush over the experience but really attend to it. This is because people who are impatient and rush over pleasant experiences tend to feel less happy (Niedenthal & Ric, 2017). So, take your time. Imagine that you have a friend who you could not go to the café with. You want to share your experience when visiting them later in the afternoon. So, while you are in the café, try to focus on the surroundings and take a mental photograph you can share later.

Mindfulness 

As psychology students, we are probably all aware of the large focus on mindfulness in the recent literature. However, this focus is justified since being mindful is related to increased happiness. By paying attention to your current situation without judging it, stress and anxiety can be reduced (Niedenthal & Ric, 2017). For those who would like to engage in more mindfulness and like listening to a British accent, you could try the app ‘Headspace’.

Positive relationships 

Those who are the happiest report having the most positive relationships (Niedenthal & Ric, 2017). This variable focuses on quality rather than quantity – having a couple of excellent social relationships makes you happier than multiple superficial ones. So, even in times of COVID-19, how about meeting up with the friend you have been meaning to see for months? With the weather getting better, having a coffee outside might be an idea. 

Generosity and pro-social behaviour

And last but not least, donating money for charity, helping others, and being generous does not only make the recipient  – but especially the giverhappy (Niedenthal & Ric, 2017). Maybe there is a charity you could take part in, some older neighbours that need help with their groceries or an organisation you always wanted to support. Helping them will not only make them but also you happy. Quite a win-win situation!

References

– Niedenthal, P. M., & Ric, F. (2017). Psychology of Emotion (Principles of Social Psychology) (2nd ed.). Routledge.
Laura Springer

Author Laura Springer

Laura Springer (1999) is a first-year Research Master's student. She is interested in cultural, political and environmental matters and never leaves the house without a tote bag.

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