I’m reading Sonja Lyubormirsky’s The Myths of Happiness this weekend. Her initial chapters focus on family and relationships; for example, how parenting impacts your happiness, why the initial infatuation with a romantic partner fades, and how to revive it, while later sections will cover work and related issues. One interesting thing that Lyubormirsky discusses is how novelty is good for individuals and relationships: couples who add new and challenging activities, like travel, to their life report greater happiness than those who have a set routine, and so do singles. It’s based on a psychological term called “hedonic adaptation”–we adapt very quickly to new jobs, houses, and material possessions and our first blast of happiness fades–what once was exciting becomes merely pleasant or we take it totally for granted. Even though Lyubormirsky’s approach is very grounded in the sciences, I can see a lot of overlap between her data and Tammy Strobel’s suggestions about downsizing in You Can Buy Happiness (And It’s Cheap!). That new car? The new wears off, so you’re better off spending more time with family and friends and less time working to buy stuff.
Other cool things that happened this week on the Internet:
- This interview with Carol Horton on the yoga podcast Where Is My Guru?
- My guru said something thoughtful and kind about the Lance Armstrong scandal.
- Flora Bowley did this fabulous time-lapse video of one of her paintings. Makes me want to get out my paint brushes again!