The Science of Happiness: Why Complaining is Literally Killing You

Complaining and stressing seem to be what we as American’s constantly do. We participate in complaining competitions to see who’s life is worse and we watch complaining in the form of reality TV shows. It is an addiction and it needs to stop because complaining and stress are literally killing us.

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Experiences > material items

It turns out that it’s not whoever has the most stuff wins; it’s whomever has had the most experiences wins, and ends up being happier.

Say what? Aren’t we supposed to save all our money so we can keep up with having the newest of phones, TVs, and cars?

It turns out that while we used to think material things were the way to happiness, according to science, what will bring you the most lasting happiness are experiences — travel, outdoor activities, new skills, and visiting exhibitions. 

We think because our brand new TV will last longer than a cruise to Bermuda, that the happiness we felt at purchasing the TV lasts longer, too. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.

“One of our enemies of happiness is adaption,” says Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University who’s been researching the correlation between money and happiness for decades. “We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed, but only for a little while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.”

Because our new TV is right there, it makes it easier for us to adapt to it. But slowly, it starts to fade into the background as an electronic wallflower of our lives. Trips we took, and experiences we’ve had, start to become part of our identities.

Think about it: Which had a greater impact on you — that video game you got as a kid, or thefamily vacation you took to Greece? You know, the trip with stories that can still make you and your siblings laugh when reminiscing.

“Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods,” said Gilovich in the study “A Wonderful Life: Experiential Consumption and the Pursuit of Happiness,” published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology

“You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are a part of you. We’re the sum total of our experiences.”

Humans are highly social creatures, and meaningful social relationships contribute hugely in our happiness levels.

Gilovich continues, “One reason that experiential purchases tend to provide more enduring satisfaction is that they more readily, more broadly, and more deeply connect us to others.”

Our experiences make us who we are, connect us with other people, and bring us great amounts of happiness.

So, what’s stopping you? Take that money you’ve been putting towards a new couch and get on a flight for Thailand, sign up for a cooking class, or visit the next exhibition at a local museum. You’ll be much happier.

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NASA Has Released The Largest Picture Ever Taken And It Will Shake Up Your Universe.

Have you seen the largest picture ever taken? For the record, it’s a mammoth 1.5 billion pixel image (69, 536 x 22, 230) and requires about 4.3 GB disk space. Oh, and it’ll take your breath away.

On January 5, NASA released an image of the Andromeda galaxy, our closest galactic neighbour, captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The full image is made up of 411 Hubble images, takes you through a 100 million stars and travels over more than 40,000 light years. Well, a section of it anyway.

Prepare to feel extremely tiny and insignificant as you marvel at this fly-through video created by YouTuber  daveachuk and make sure you stick around till the end. Seriously.


9 Thought-Provoking Lessons From the Best TED Talks of 2014.

DECEMBER 16, 2014


A few hours of TV watching can give you a year’s worth of wisdom.

The presents have been opened. The guests have gone home. It’s time to get into your jammies and snuggle down on the sofa for some well-deserved relaxation and maybe a little TV: It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, or one of the many versions of A Christmas Carol. But if you’d like to start 2015 with a big dose of inspiration, consider spending some of your viewing time on 47 enlightening speeches published by TED during 2014.

To make this prospect as tempting as possible, the TED folks have assembled aneight-minute video of the highlights from these talks which is guaranteed to get you curious about at least a few of them (or all of them, if you’re me).

The TED folks have helpfully broken the talks down by theme, so you can go right for what interests you the most. Taken together, these videos add up to a quick infusion of insight, and some important lessons we should all take away from 2014:

1. Our world is an amazing place.

Chris Hadfield shares the view from the International Space Station. Fabien Cousteausuggests that we live in the oceans. Master musicians perform and record all over the world. And physicist Allan Adams finds the afterglow of the Big Bang.

2. Medicine takes a leap forward.

Hugh Herr shows how bionics mean you don’t need to have legs to dance. Doctors on the cutting edge show how to find cancer way before it’s a threat and how to make a fold-up microscope for 50 cents. And one brave physician explains why patients and doctors are frightened of each other.

3. Might does not make right.

Visionaries take a closer look at what power really means, especially in the internet age. Meanwhile Simon Anholt and Michael Green remind us that rich countries don’t always do well by their own people or anyone else.

4. Economic inequality is not sustainable.

Our current levels of income inequality should make everyone nervous, whether you’re in the 1 percent or the 99 percent. An economist and a watchdog explain why.

5. Big Data changes everything.

Data scientists took a look at the amazing things data can tell us and how data can even make us safer. But who should control our data? Edward Snowden and the NSAhave their own opinions.

6. We can make the world better.

Journalists in war zones and those who’ve been there explain how.

7. Being creative is a constant struggle.

Artists from Sting to Elizabeth Gilbert explain that it isn’t as easy as it looks.

8. We’re evolving, and so is English.

Linguists argue for a more inclusive view of our native tongue. Except when it comes to the word “awesome.” And Nicholas Negroponte reviews his decades of talks as a way to approach the future.

9. We can be better than we are.

Speakers from Isabel Allende to Gabby Giffords explore how we can be our best, most passionate selves. Those who’ve faced terrorism and prison explain how our past can be a reason to grow instead of shrink.

And finally, psychologist Dan Gilbert skewers our human misconception that who we are today will bear any resemblance to who we’re going to be in 10 years. “Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished,” he declares. That’s a truth we should all keep in mind as we head into 2015.