100 Simple Secrets of Happy People: What Scientists Have Learned and How You Can Use It

( 3 )

Overview

Scientists and academics have spent entire careers investigating what makes people happy. But hidden in obscure scholarly journals and reports, their research is all too often inaccessible to ordinary people. Now the bestselling author of the 100 Simple Secrets series distills the scientific findings of over a thousand of the most important studies on happiness into easy-to-digest nuggets of advice. Each of the hundred practices is illustrated with a clear example and illuminated by a straightforward explanation ...

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Overview

Scientists and academics have spent entire careers investigating what makes people happy. But hidden in obscure scholarly journals and reports, their research is all too often inaccessible to ordinary people. Now the bestselling author of the 100 Simple Secrets series distills the scientific findings of over a thousand of the most important studies on happiness into easy-to-digest nuggets of advice. Each of the hundred practices is illustrated with a clear example and illuminated by a straightforward explanation of the science behind it to show you how to transform a ho-hum existence into a full and happy life.

  • Believe in yourself: Across all ages, and all groups, a solid belief in one's own abilities increases life satisfaction by about 40 percent, and makes us happier both in our home lives and in our work lives.
  • Turn off your TV: Watching too much TV can triple our hunger for more possessions, while reducing our personal contentment by about 5 percent for every hour a day we watch.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061157912
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/7/2006
  • Series: 100 Simple Secrets Series
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 593,793
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 6.25 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author

David Niven, Ph.D., bestselling author of the 100 Simple Secrets series, is a psychologist and social scientist who teaches at Ohio State University.

David Niven, Ph.D., es el autor de los bestsellers internacionales Los 100 Secretos de la Gente Exitosa, y Los 100 Secretos de las Buenas Relaciones. Es psicólogo y científico social, y enseña en la Florida Atlantic University.

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Read an Excerpt

1

Your life has purpose and meaning.

You are not here just to fill space or to be a background character in someone else's movie.Consider this: nothing would be the same if you did not exist. Every place you have ever been and everyone you have ever spoken to would be different without you.We are all connected, and we are all affected by the decisions and even the existence of those around us.Take the example of Peter, an attorney in Philadelphia, and his dog, Tucket. Tucket was very sick. Gradually he was becoming paralyzed by a tumor on his spinal cord.Peter could not find a veterinary doctor who could save his dog. Desperate to find someone who could help, he turned to a pediatric neurosurgeon. The doctor agreed to try to help Tucket, and in return he asked Peter for a donation to the children's hospital he worked in.Jerry has never met Peter or Tucket. Jerry is a blue-eyed, blond-haired, five-year-old boy who loves to eat mashed potatoes. Jerry also has tumors on his spine and in his brain.With help from the donation Peter made to the hospital, Jerry underwent successful surgery performed by the doctor to remove the tumors.Tucket's surgery was also a success.Studies of older Americans find that one of the best predictors of happiness is whether a person considers his or her life to have a purpose. Without a clearly defined purpose, seven in ten individuals feel unsettled about their lives; with a purpose, almost seven in ten feel satisfied.
Lepper 1996
2

Use a strategy for happiness.

We assume that happy and unhappy people are born that way. But both kinds ofpeople do things that create and reinforce their moods. Happy people let themselves be happy. Unhappy people continue doing things that upset them.What is the first sign of a healthy business? A healthy business plan. That is the argument of the Strategic Management Center, a business consulting firm. They believe every business must define its purpose and then create a strategy to accomplish that purpose.This same approach can be used by people. Define what you want, then use a strategy to get it.Ironically, children are better at this than adults. Small children know when being cranky will get them an ice cream cone. And they know when being too noisy will get them a cross reaction from their parents. Children understand that there are rules and predictable patterns to life, and they use a strategy to help them get what they want.Living a happy life as an adult is like trying to get that ice cream cone as a child. You need to know what you want and use a strategy to get it. Think about what makes you happy and what makes you sad, and use this to help you get what you want.Happy people do not experience one success after another and unhappy people, one failure after another. Instead, surveys show that happy and unhappy people tend to have had very similar life experiences. The difference is that the average unhappy person spends more than twice as much time thinking about unpleasant events in their lives, while happy people tend to seek and rely upon information that brightens their personal outlook.
Lyubomirsky 1994
3

You don't have to win every time.

Ultracompetitive people, who always need to win, end up enjoying things less. If they lose they are very disappointed, and if they win it's what they expected would happen anyway.Richard Nixon was running for reelection as president in 1972. He directed his campaign staff to take all available measures to win as many votes as possible. Most famous, of course, were the break-ins they staged at Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate building in order to plant bugging devices. But staff workers also engaged in an endless series of what Nixon himself labeled "dirty tricks." They would call up pizza parlors and order a hundred pizzas to be delivered to the office of an opposition candidate. They would hand out phony fliers telling people that an opponent's rally had been canceled. They would call meeting halls and cancel reservations opponents had made for events. Why did they do these things? Nixon was obsessed with winning-at all costs.The great irony was that Nixon was winning anyway and didn't need any of these tricks. But his inability to deal with the possibility of losing caused him to pursue these extreme methods and ultimately cost him the prize that he had so desperately pursued.Competitiveness can preclude life satisfaction because no accomplishment can prove sufficient, and failures are particularly devastating. Ultracompetitive people rate their successes with lower marks than some people rate their failures.
Thurman 1981
The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People. Copyright © by David Niven, Ph.D.. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

Introduction xiii
1 Your Life Has Purpose and Meaning 1
2 Use a Strategy for Happiness 3
3 You Don't Have to Win Every Time 5
4 Your Goals Should Be Aligned with One Another 7
5 Choose Your Comparisons Wisely 9
6 Cultivate Friendships 11
7 Turn Off the TV 13
8 Accept Yourself--Unconditionally 15
9 Remember Where You Came From 17
10 Limit Yourself to Thinking About One Subject as You Lie Down to Sleep 19
11 Friendship Beats Money 21
12 Have Realistic Expectations 23
13 Be Open to New Ideas 25
14 Share with Others How Important They Are to You 27
15 If You're Not Sure, Guess Positively 29
16 Believe in Yourself 31
17 Don't Believe in Yourself Too Much 32
18 Don't Face Your Problems Alone 34
19 Age Is Not to Be Feared 36
20 Develop a Household Routine 37
21 Don't Be Overprotective 39
22 Pay Attention. You May Have What You Want 41
23 Don't Let Your Religious Beliefs Fade 43
24 Do What You Say You Are Going to Do 45
25 Don't Be Aggressive with Your Friends and Family 47
26 Root for the Home Team 49
27 Don't Confuse Stuff with Success 51
28 Every Relationship Is Different 53
29 Don't Think "What If" 55
30 Volunteer 57
31 If You Can't Reach Your Goals, Your Goals Will Hurt You 59
32 Exercise 61
33 Little Things Have Big Meanings 63
34 It's Not What Happened, It's How You Think About What Happened 65
35 Develop Some Common Interests with Loved Ones 67
36 Laugh 69
37 Don't Let Your Entire Life Hinge on One Element 71
38 Share of Yourself 73
39 Busy Is Better Than Bored 75
40 Satisfaction Is Relative 77
41 Learn to Use a Computer 79
42 Try to Think Less About the People and Things That Bother You 81
43 Keep Your Family Close 83
44 Eat Some Fruit Every Day 85
45 Enjoy What You Have 87
46 Think in Concrete Terms 89
47 Be Socially Supportive 91
48 Don't Blame Yourself 92
49 Be a Peacemaker 94
50 Cherish Animals 96
51 Make Your Work a Calling 98
52 Never Trade Your Morals for Your Goals 100
53 Don't Pretend to Ignore Things Your Loved Ones Do That Bother You 101
54 Get a Good Night's Sleep 103
55 Buy What You Like 105
56 Accomplish Something Every Day 107
57 Be Flexible 109
58 Events Are Temporary 111
59 Be Your Own Fan 113
60 Join a Group 115
61 Be Positive 117
62 There Will Be an End, but You Can Be Prepared 119
63 How We See the World Is More Important Than How the World Is 121
64 Keep a Pen and Paper Handy 123
65 Help the Next Person Who Needs Some Minor Assistance 125
66 Take Care Not to Harshly Criticize Family and Friends 127
67 Some People Like the Big Picture, and Others Like the Details 129
68 Do Things You Are Good At 131
69 Go Visit Your Neighbor 133
70 Smile 135
71 Don't Accept Television's Picture of the World 136
72 You Always Have a Choice 138
73 Be Agreeable 140
74 Don't Ignore One Part of Your Life 142
75 Listen to Music 144
76 Let Your Goals Guide You 145
77 Use Your Job Positively 147
78 Don't Forget to Have Fun 148
79 Believe in Ultimate Justice 150
80 Reminisce 152
81 Be Conscientious 154
82 Don't Dwell on Unwinnable Conflicts 156
83 Enjoy the Ordinary 158
84 Focus Not on the World's Tragedies, but on the World's Hope 160
85 Get a Hobby 162
86 Envying Other People's Relationships Is Pointless 163
87 Give Yourself Time to Adapt to Change 165
88 Focus on What Really Matters to You 167
89 Realize that Complete Satisfaction Does Not Exist 169
90 Surround Yourself with Pleasant Aromas 171
91 Don't Let Others Set Your Goals 173
92 You Are a Person, Not a Stereotype 175
93 Know What Makes You Happy and Sad 177
94 Keep Reading 179
95 We Must Feel Needed 181
96 Say "So What" 183
97 Have a Purpose 185
98 You Have Not Finished the Best Part of Your Life 187
99 Money Does Not Buy Happiness 189
100 What Does It All Mean? You Decide 191
Sources 193
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First Chapter

100 Simple Secrets of Happy People, The
What Scientists Have Learned and How You Can Use It

Chapter One

Your life has purpose and meaning.

You are not here just to fill space or to be a background character in someone else's movie.Consider this: nothing would be the same if you did not exist. Every place you have ever been and everyone you have ever spoken to would be different without you.We are all connected, and we are all affected by the decisions and even the existence of those around us. Take the example of Peter, an attorney in Philadelphia, and his dog, Tucket. Tucket was very sick. Gradually he was becoming paralyzed by a tumor on his spinal cord.Peter could not find a veterinary doctor who could save his dog. Desperate to find someone who could help, he turned to a pediatric neurosurgeon. The doctor agreed to try to help Tucket, and in return he asked Peter for a donation to the children's hospital he worked in.Jerry has never met Peter or Tucket. Jerry is a blue-eyed, blond-haired, five-year-old boy who loves to eat mashed potatoes. Jerry also has tumors on his spine and in his brain.With help from the donation Peter made to the hospital, Jerry underwent successful surgery performed by the doctor to remove the tumors.Tucket's surgery was also a success.Studies of older Americans find that one of the best predictors of happiness is whether a person considers his or her life to have a purpose. Without a clearly defined purpose, seven in ten individuals feel unsettled about their lives; with a purpose, almost seven in ten feel satisfied.

Lepper 1996

Chapter Two

Use astrategy for happiness.

We assume that happy and unhappy people are born that way. But both kinds of people do things that create and reinforce their moods. Happy people let themselves be happy. Unhappy people continue doing things that upset them.What is the first sign of a healthy business? A healthy business plan. That is the argument of the Strategic Management Center, a business consulting firm. They believe every business must define its purpose and then create a strategy to accomplish that purpose.This same approach can be used by people. Define what you want, then use a strategy to get it.Ironically, children are better at this than adults. Small children know when being cranky will get them an ice cream cone. And they know when being too noisy will get them a cross reaction from their parents. Children understand that there are rules and predictable patterns to life, and they use a strategy to help them get what they want.Living a happy life as an adult is like trying to get that ice cream cone as a child. You need to know what you want and use a strategy to get it. Think about what makes you happy and what makes you sad, and use this to help you get what you want.Happy people do not experience one success after another and unhappy people, one failure after another. Instead, surveys show that happy and unhappy people tend to have had very similar life experiences. The difference is that the average unhappy person spends more than twice as much time thinking about unpleasant events in their lives, while happy people tend to seek and rely upon information that brightens their personal outlook.

Lyubomirsky 1994

Chapter Three

You don't have to win every time.

Ultracompetitive people, who always need to win, end up enjoying things less. If they lose they are very disappointed, and if they win it's what they expected would happen anyway.Richard Nixon was running for reelection as president in 1972. He directed his campaign staff to take all available measures to win as many votes as possible. Most famous, of course, were the break-ins they staged at Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate building in order to plant bugging devices. But staff workers also engaged in an endless series of what Nixon himself labeled "dirty tricks." They would call up pizza parlors and order a hundred pizzas to be delivered to the office of an opposition candidate. They would hand out phony fliers telling people that an opponent's rally had been canceled. They would call meeting halls and cancel reservations opponents had made for events. Why did they do these things? Nixon was obsessed with winning-at all costs.The great irony was that Nixon was winning anyway and didn't need any of these tricks. But his inability to deal with the possibility of losing caused him to pursue these extreme methods and ultimately cost him the prize that he had so desperately pursued.Competitiveness can preclude life satisfaction because no accomplishment can prove sufficient, and failures are particularly devastating. Ultracompetitive people rate their successes with lower marks than some people rate their failures.

Thurman 1981

100 Simple Secrets of Happy People, The
What Scientists Have Learned and How You Can Use It
. Copyright © by David Niven. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 8 of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Good Book

    A lesser but similar version of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff. Loaded with quick reminders of how to live life and improve yourself. I foung it engaging, but the messages were not lasting. A good book to pick up when you need a boost, but nothing that will forever alter your actions or approach. Good, but not great.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 29, 2010

    Great!!!

    Simple small things you can do for a better life!!!

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    Posted November 17, 2010

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