Motivation and emotion/Book/2011/Change and happiness
What attitudes and beliefs do happy people have about dealing with change?
Introduction[edit | edit source]
The way others see us, as being happy is the expression we give with our faces, our smile, our eyes tell someone wether we are happy, sad, or angry, Slessor, Miles, Bull, & Phillips, (2010) explain that the movement behind expressing a smile is The contraction of the zygomatic major muscles lifts the corners of the mouth obliquely upward into the typical shape of a smile on the face. Ekman, Davidson, & Friesen, (1990) express however unlike non-enjoyment smiles, enjoyment smiles also involve the contraction of the orbicularis oculi muscles, which change our eye region and makes the eyes narrow and the wrinkles appear around our eyes, he has also mentioned that our eye brows are lowered when we seem happy or smiling genuinely. These features help us to judge whether the person is genuinely smiling because of happiness or whether it is a deliberately posed smile, or a spontaneously expressed enjoyment smile (Slessor, ‘‘et. al’’, 2010). According to Lyubomirsky, (2001) happiness is the experience of joy, contentment or the positive well-being of a person joined with a sense that their lives have meaning and are worthwhile.
This chapter will cover, the happiness in different perspectives, such as why some individuals are happier than others followed by appropriate different theories including objective determinant theory and happiness in adolescents followed by recognizing happiness through different age. Sex difference in happiness will be briefly covered and that will be closely followed by Freud’s id ego and super ego which make up the structural theory of happiness. It will also include how seeking happiness will lead to unhappiness.
Why are some people happier than others?[edit | edit source]
To find out whether some people are happier then others Lyubonmirsky (2001) conducted a study and to seperat happy and unhappy people he made his participants responde to a four-item Subjective Happiness Scale, two of these items ask the participants to characterize themselves using both an absolute rating and a rating relative to others (Lyubonmirsky, 2001). The remaining two items offer the participants a brief report of happy and unhappy individuals and ask the participants which description they related more to, and then, responses were combined and averaged to provide a single continuous composite score between one and seven (Lyubonmirsky, 2001). Those who scored below the median were classified as unhappy and those who scored above were considered to be happy in this study (Lyubonmirsky, 2001).
Self-rated happy individuals are far less sensitive to social comparison information especially when it comes to unfavourable information than are those that are unhappy (Lyubonmirsky, 2001). Research conducted by Lyubonmirsky, (2001) found that those that are unhappy are deflated instead of delighted about their peers’ successes and triumphs and are relieved instead of being disappointed or sympathetic in the face of their colleagues failures and humiliations.
Lyubomirsky & Tucker, (1998) has found that happy and unhappy people differ in the ways of responding to life events and daily situations, small and large, such as happy and unhappy people interpret and remember and experience hypothetical life events as well as real life events in a way that serves to highlight their individual emotional nature (Lyubomirsky &Tucker, 1998). This was shown in one of the experiments as students that chose other students as very happy individuals, they too reported experiencing similar types of positive and negative life events as well as those that were nominated by others as unhappy students (Lyubomirsky &Tucker, 1998). Those that were chosen as happy student tended to recall and think about both types of events more favourably and adaptively several weeks later, such as by drawing humour improving their value from difficulty or by emphasizing recent improvement in their lives (Lyubomirsky &Tucker, 1998). In another study by Lyubomirsky &Tucker, (1998) participants interacted with a female in the laboratory, they then watched a series of vedios showing a stranger in three different situations, thoes that were considered happy liked the person they met and recalled her in more positive terms, unlike the unhappy ones that recalled the person they met in unfavourable ways.
Research evidence show that happy individuals are relatively better prepared to manage with life stress, downturns and uplifts, they seem less concerned with external pleasure unlike their unhappy peers (Lyubomirsky & Ross, 1999). Unhappy individuals are more likely to dwell on negative events such as difficult decisions or unfavourable social comparisons they tend to keep dwelling about themselves, their outcomes, and moods (Lyubomirsky & Ross, 1999). So happy individuals and unhappy individuals have different turmoil in their lives, those who tend to have a strong marriage, a steady income and overall not so much trauma in their lives tend to live a happier life, and tend to think about situations in a more positive way. Whereas individuals that tend to see things as negative, suffer from going through difficult situations in life and dwell on negative thoughts.
Happiness in adolescence[edit | edit source]
Manolis, Milich, and Harris (1993) studied with participants in late childhood–early adolescence (ages 8–12) showed that gender had influence on impression formation, individuals tended to favoured same gender children then the opposite gender for example girls favoure girls and found that the same gender children were more interesting than the opposite gender children. Chaplin, Bastos, & Lowrey, (2010) discovered that relationship between mood such as happy and sad and individuals judgments of others, for example they found that happy adolescents formed more positive impressions of others than did sad adolescents who tended to form negative impressions of others. Chaplin, et. al, (2010) studies have shown that when individual adolecents are happy, they tend to perceive that good events happen more frequently, they tend to interpret others behaviours more positively when the individual is in a good mood. According to Chaplin, et. al, (2010) happier adolescents will have a larger social network, and have interactions with more individuals from diverse backgrounds which allows them to develop a more distinct view of others, these interactions allow them to appreciate the distinction of any given social role, this allows them to appreciate more variations within the same social role.
When it comes to adolescents happiness it mostly depends on their social groups, whether they have friends or not, whether they have a supportive family and background, and whether they are able to adapt to change (Chaplin, et. al, (2010). Chaplin, et. al, (2010) study consisted of 45 participants and he discovered that happy adolescents were less likely to form their stereotypes based on what people have, these adolescents used fewer words to describe a quiet kid than those that were considered to be unhappy adolescents.
Participants responses were broad, some adolescents that were considered happy described quiet kids in very positive words whereas the unhappy adolescents tended to be more broad with their answers when it came to describing quiet kids, unhappy ones used words such as “they can be mean, nice poor or rich” whereas happier ones used words such as “fun to be with, happy cool to hang around” for quiet kids Chaplin, et. al, (2010). The difference is that happier adolescents tend to be more open minded and does not dwell on their past or feel sorry for themselves they support others and tend to see everything in positive ways than those that are considered unhappy adolescents who tend to think negatively in almost every situation that comes their way Chaplin, et. al, (2010).
Happier adolescents were found to be less focussed on superficial cues such as what a person has and what they do not have, their impression of others where positive and their focused less on material possessions may indicate that adolescents that are happier may also be less materialistic then those that are considered to be unhappy adolescents Chaplin, et. al, (2010).
Adaptation of change[edit | edit source]
Lucas, R. E. (2007), suggests that dominant models of subjective wellbeing after experiencing major life events, such as divorce, death of a loved one, disability, and unemployment, people unavoidably adapt to their natural self and personality factors, and teir genetically determined happiness. Fredrick & Loewenstein, (1999), believed that the adaptation process certainly serves important functions in life and when it comes to major life events (Lucas, 2007). These processes protect people from psychological and physiological concerns of extensive emotional harm (Lucas, 2007). Adaptation processes lets the unchanging stimuli fade into the attentional background, these processes makes sure that change in the environment receives more attention, also attention goes to environmental change which is advantageous because threats that have lasted for long periods of time are more likely to be less dangerous then new threats (Lucas, 2007). Similar to this rewards that have persisted are less likely to disappear quicker than new rewards, it will often be very valuable to attend and react more strongly to new rewards than old (Lucas, 2007). Lastly by reducing emotional reactions over time, emotional adaptation processes lets people disengage from their goals that do not have a huge chance of succeeding, there for this can be beneficial, and there for adaptation to life circumstances occur (Lucas, 2007).
Life Satisfaction after a Major Life event
Does seeking happiness lead to happiness?[edit | edit source]
Valuing happiness leads to positive outcomes in life because it is assumed that the more someone values happiness the happier the person is likely to be (Mauss, Tamir, Anderson, & Savino, 2011). Studies conducted by Mauss, ‘‘et. al’’, (2011) had taken to account value of happiness, life stress and happiness and well-being, someone that value higher grades in their academic studies is going to be much disappointed at times when they fall short of the high standard. However it is still possible to achieve high grads while one is disappointed (Mauss, ‘‘et. al’’, 2011). People are likely to feel sad or unhappy if they find that their best friend was in a car accident, however in relativity positive situations, they tend to have every reason to be happy and are likely to feel disappointed if they do not. According to Mauss, ‘‘et. al’’, (2011), people who value their happiness may feel disappointed if they are not feeling happy at their own birthday party, so Mauss, ‘‘et. al’’, (2011) expresses that the more people that value happiness, the less likely that the individual may obtain happiness, especially when happiness is near reachable.
Study conducted by Mauss, ‘‘et. al’’, (2011) concluded that participants who were told to try make themselves as happy as possible while listening to a hedonically ambiguous piece of music reported feeling less positive mood unlike those who were not instructed anything. Results showed that valuing happiness not completely linked with one being happier, in certain conditions the study examined the opposite was shown such as under conditions of low life stress, people tended to value happiness a lot more, the lower were their hedonic balance, and life satisfaction and the higher symptoms of depression (Mauss, ‘‘et. al’’, 2011).
This study has associations between valuables or effects of well-being for example being sad or unhappy might lead one to value happiness to a greater extent (Mauss, ‘‘et. al’’, 2011). However it is extremely difficult to express why feeling unhappy would lead individuals to value happiness only when they experience low levels of life stress (Mauss, ‘‘et. al’’, 2011). Second study conducted by the same author Mauss, ‘‘et. al’’, (2011) demonstrates that valuing happiness can lead one to less happiness in life, which was found by using both an explicit and an implicit measure of emotion, these results were consistent throughout the study, the idea of valuing happiness leads to less happiness by setting individuals for disappointment. In the study valuing happiness on emotional responses were mediated alone by the participants disappointed about their feelings (Mauss, ‘‘et. al’’, 2011).
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
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Chaplin, L., Bastos, W., & Lowrey, T. M. (2010). Beyond brands: Happy adolescents see the good in people. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 5(5), 342-354.
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