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Think Fast - Be Happy

Don't worry, be happy--by thinking fast! - A new study out of Harvard and Princeton suggests that "thinking fast" can help your mood. In the study, subjects were encouraged to "think fast" by generating as many problem-solving ideas as possible in 10 minutes; by reading a list of ideas on a computer screen at a brisk pace; and by watching a video clip of I Love Lucy--in fast-forward!

When compared with other study subjects who performed the same tasks at a "relaxed speed," the fast thinker reported feeling more happy and, to a lesser degree, more energetic. So fast thinking activities, such as racing through an easy crossword puzzle or quickly brain-storming ideas, can boost energy and mood.

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Stumbling On Happiness - Flaws of the Human Mind

In Stumbling On Happiness, Daniel Gilbert exposes the flaws of the human mind.

Quite disillusioning, this expose of the human mind. His thesis is simple. Humans cannot reliably predict what will make us happy, nor can we accurately recall what made us happy in the past. That leaves us with the present.

The reasons for our failure to find happiness are many, and revolve around the idiocyncracies of the human mind.

One cannot divine nor forecast the conditions that will make happiness; one only stumbles upon them by chance, in a lucky hour, at the world's end somewhere, and holds fast to the days, as to fortune or fame.

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Happiness - A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill by Matthieu Ricard

Happiness by Matthieu Ricard - Started reading this a bit ago. Nice primer on Buddhism. Absolutely loved the book that traces a dialog with his father, The Monk and the Philosopher: A Father and Son Discuss the Meaning of Life.

Happiness does not come automatically. It is not a gift that good fortune bestows upon us and a reversal of fortune takes back. It depends on us alone. One does not become happy overnight, but with patient labor, day after day. Happiness is constructed, and that requires effort and time. In order to become happy, we have to learn how to change ourselves.

~ Luca and Francesco Cavalli-Sforza

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Happiness Is Not Normal

According to psychologist Steven Hayes, happiness is not normal. He came to this conclusion sometime after his first panic attack.

Hayes experienced the panic attack during a heated psychology department meeting at the University of North Carolina, where he was an assistant professor. This first attack led to others, and soon Steven Hayes felt panic attacks coming on at the slightest provocation: eating in a restaurant or even going grocery shopping could set off an episode. During lectures, he was often physically unable to speak to his class, so he frequently showed documentary and research films--though his hands shook so badly, he was barely able to thread the projector (this was pre-video days).

To remedy his condition, he turned to the most popular therapy approach he knew of, cognitive therapy. As a therapist, he had access to most recent research and tried a variety of approached within the cognitive therapy umbrella. However, no matter what technique he tried, they all made this symptoms worse, not better.

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