Friday, February 1, 2008

The How of Happiness III—Don't Overthink

Positive psychology guru Sonja Lyubormirky’s new book The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want reveals the University of California professor’s research-based tactics for taking control of the 40 percent of happiness and joy within our control. Here, we'll share her advice in an ongoing series:

Step 3: Avoid Overthinking and Social Comparison

By Sonja Lyubomirsky

Many of us believe that when we feel down we should try to focus inwardly to attain self-insight and find solutions to our problems. But numerous studies have shown that overthinking sustains or worsens sadness.

Social comparisons are ubiquitous – we can't help but notice that others are richer, more attractive or successful and then feel inadequate, but you can't be envious and happy at the same time. The happiest people take pleasure in other people's successes and show concern at others' failures.

—When you find yourself preoccupied with something that is tormenting you, do something else that makes you feel curious, peaceful, amused or proud.

—Take in the bigger picture – will this matter in a year?

—Set aside 30 minutes every day to ruminate – and then stop.

The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want
By Sonja Lyubomirsky
Penguin Press HC
Dec. 27, 2007
ISBN-10: 159420148X
ISBN-13: 978-1594201486
available from booksellers everywhere and

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