Why Are We Happy? Why Aren’t We Happy?

Daniel Gilbert discusses happinessIn this video from TED, Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert explains how our prefrontal cortex predicts (mostly incorrectly) what will make us happy. We perceive that our happiness comes from outside of ourselves, but research shows that we actually synthesize our own happiness. When bad things happen that we can’t control, our “psychological immune system” kicks in and rationalizes the outcome to make it seem to our advantage. If we are aware of this propitious reaction, we can make it engage faster when adversity strikes. (By the way, TED stands for “Technology, Entertainment, Design.” It began in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Now, fascinating presentations from its yearly gatherings are available for free online.)



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