228 - How to Be Happy When the World Makes You Depressed
Welcome back to savvy psychologist, I'm Dr Ellen Hendrickson. Happy new year and every week in two thousand nineteen I will help you. Meet life's challenges with evidence based research a sympathetic ear and zero judgement. So listener Lynn wrote in and asked, quote, how to find happiness or at least comfort in a world that is fundamentally broken in so many ways, she writes, quote, I cannot help but be sad to think about things like plastics in the ocean wildfires in the west caravans of refugees about to be met with military force and the extermination of the Rowena I have frequent reminders to be thankful for all. I have nonetheless. I am often unhappy because of the many ways that humans are unkind to each other and to our planet now Lynn's beautifully articulated problem isn't unique everyday the headlines push our buttons of. Alarm, despair and fury all at once. And when those headlines start to blend suspiciously with the Handmaid's tale or bring to mind, visions of Wally sorting through post-apocalyptic, garbage. It's easy to feel sad and hopeless. So what is a thinking feeling human to do well much like the climate change episode from a few weeks ago? I can't promise to fix the world in fifteen minutes or less, but before you move off grid and start brewing your own zombie repellent. You can try these four tips to be happy in a world that can feel like a Mad Max chase through the headlines. Tip number one is feel what you feel and let it spur you to action. So in my humble opinion, one of the few negative side effects of the happiness movement is the mistakenly sky, high expectation that we feel happy most if not all of the time but set those expectations against a backdrop where according to a Gallup. Poll eighty seven percent of people worldwide don't like their jobs, according to the CDC around forty percent of marriages end in divorce, and according to anyone not living under a rock. The headlines pummels with bad news, twenty four seven the result is major dissonance. So instead of fake smiling through the negativity lean into all your feelings. We are wired for a wide range of emotions from the peanut butter and jelly of sadness. Anger and fear to the more nuanced, emotions, like envy, contempt or -hension. So rather than seeing emotions other than happiness as bad or wrong. Mine them for their own unique powers. So let's take anger, for example. Anger Spurs UT act. It's like the classic bumper sticker. If you're not outraged you're not paying attention anger, drives people to call the representatives head to the voting booth and otherwise bridge the gap between. Doing nothing and doing something now sadness to has its uses sadness is the most clear headed emotion. It doesn't cloud judgment or create knee-jerk reactions like anger instead it's been found to confer generosity. Reduce judgmental errors and make us. More polite. Three humane things in a world that needs all the humanity. It can get. Tip. Number two is search out. Good news. Now journalism faces a unique challenge for news organizations to survive, they have to generate clicks and views they can use to attract advertisers and in an attention economy. What makes us click more than conflict divisiveness and tragedy? Everybody loves a good train wreck. But as cognitive psychologist, Steven pinker points out in his Ted talk, no newspaper ever reported one hundred thirty seven thousand people escape from extreme poverty yesterday. No news analyst ever reported live from a city where there was no terrorist attack. And pinker goes on to make the case that the world is getting better on metrics as diverse as file ins- literacy, poverty and even the probability of being killed by a lightning strike now. Good news doesn't give us the same cheap thrill as bad news. But in times like these search out a good new site. There are. Dozens like upper the or good to restore your faith in humanity. Tip number three, take a break from social media. Now social media has become not only a way to see our high school classmates. Most recent Hawaiian vacation photos and videos of that raccoon in Minnesota. But also the best or maybe we should say worst sources of news both real and fake. So a study out of the university of Copenhagen asked half of a group of over a thousand participants to quit Facebook for a week while the other half carried on as usual and those on a Facebook fast reported after a week better life satisfaction, and notably they felt more positive emotion. So this makes sense because reprieve from social media not only gives us a break from the envy of the highlight reel. But also a break from the whip sign that comes from the news click bait in our feet and more than makes up for missing out on that ustralian giant cow. Annalong gourmet cookware can bring your inspiration to life on the dinner table. Whether you're gourmet cook or bake off worthy. Baker. They've got you covered. With everything from expertly crafted cookware bakeware past iron, stoneware cutlery, tools and gadgets. So for example, you might try the analog advanced collection. It's twice as hard as stainless steel and with nonstick surfaces. It's easy to clean or you could try out the new copper luxe collection with a copper base that looks beautiful and heats perfectly whatever collection. You choose you can rest easy. Knowing your gourmet cookware will last for years to come. All analog products are protected but a lifetime warranty. 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Say fifteen percent when you go to true and co dot com slash savvy and enter the code savvy. That's T R U E A N D, CO dot com slash savvy and the code savvy. And finally tip. Number four look out for each other. Now listener Lynn is concerned about the world and its people. So when she asks about happiness, she doesn't just mean crazy, rich Asians bachelor party pleasures she is likely looking for meaning as well. And luckily, there is a way to make to pop tarts with one toaster, strong social connections. A study out of Florida State University examined almost four hundred participants and assessed which traits and activities were most related to happiness. And meaning and what activity went along with both happiness and meaning social connection. Now there were nuances so hanging out with friends was linked more strongly to happiness, then meaning while spending time with family taking care of kids was meaningful but not necessarily happy. Likewise, being a giver was meaningful. While takers were happier. But overall connecting with others was the. Key to finding comfort and happiness in the shadow of today's headlines, I guess company is actually the antidote for misery. So to Lynn and everyone in the same boat hang in there and hold onto your Handbasket feel what you feel let it spur you to action search out. Good news as a counterweight take a break when you need it. And most importantly, go hang out with your friends and loved ones, even when the headlines read like a dystopia novel. Remember, there can still be a happy ending. Thank you so much for making the savvy psychologist apart of your life. Savvy psychologist is audio engineered by Steve Ricky Burg and edited by Joe musk Elino as always sevi- psychologist is strictly for informational purposes and dozen substitute for mental health care from a licensed professional. Thank you for listening. I'll see you next week for a happier, healthier mind.