By Lea Winerman
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You know those people, the ones who seem to have a permanent glow. They’re always smiling and have infectious energy oozing out of their pores. How did they get to be so happy?
I’ve made tremendous strides in my life to reach happiness, leaving a corporate job after burnout, depression, drug addictions and eating disorders. I’ve come to realize being and staying happy is no small feat. It actually has little to do with outside influences. Real happiness comes with daily action and inward focus.
Creating happiness as a habit is possible. But just like any redirection in life, the small, subtle steps often reap the largest rewards. Here are the super-subtle habits of happy people.
1. They think with their hearts.
Instead of trying to solve problems by overanalyzing, worrying or stressing out, the happiest people in the world trust the advice of their heart. They are in touch with their intuition and feelings.
2. They are in love with the process.
Truly happy people understand the journey is the reward. The process of reaching your goals is more about the journey. They’ve learned “here” is the most important part of life. When we can be present for the process, we can feel fully alive and joyful.
3. They are curious about the unknown.
Instead of fearing the unknown or worrying about what will happen, happy people focus on what they want and take steps to make things happen. They are curious about life and allow it to unfold naturally.
4. They put more faith in love over fear.
Happy people use their strengths and focus on what they are good at. They know their talent is more powerful than their fears. And they choose loving thoughts and perceptions over fear-based reactions.
5. They forgive themselves for judging others.
Yes, the happiest people in the world still fall into judgment and jealousy. The difference? They quickly bounce out. Comparing ourselves to others is part of being human, but happy folks forgive themselves and others, and choose not to hang out in this emotion. They also send love and compassion to the people who hurt them the most. When you can forgive others and yourself, you will feel inner peace.
6. They change their minds.
Happy peeps appreciate the growth and contrast that comes with living life fully, which means changing their mind is not a step back, but rather a step forward. Changing your mind, from career choices, relationships, places you live, even changing up dreams, is about honoring your internal compass.
7. They let go.
Happy people let go of situations and things that drag them down, including people. They aren’t afraid to let go ofrelationships or walk away from negative people. Burning bridges is not something they set out to do, but happy people recognize some people are not meant to stay in their lives. Happy people surround themselves with support, including uplifting people who believe in them.
8. They know family matters.
No matter what, at the end of it all, we have our family. Despite our differences, family is the most important part of living a rich life. Whether you are close to your immediate family or your family of friends, leaning on people we love and supporting one another is essential for a fulfilling life. Tell someone you love how much they mean to you today. It will make all the difference in the world.
For more inspiration on how to be happy grab this FREE Love Your Life To The Fullest Guide.
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by Tom Jacobs
New research from the U.K. suggests people with narcissistic tendencies can be moved by others’ suffering.•
Can narcissists really change? The just-completed half-season of Mad Men, in which the self-centered Don Draper has gradually settled into a new role as a supportive friend and team player, appears to be answering that question in the affirmative. But is this alpha male’s evolution into empathy realistic?
Newly published research from Britain suggests it is.
In three experiments, a team led by University of Surrey psychologist Erica Hepper provides evidence that, under the right conditions, narcissists can indeed be moved by the suffering of others.
“Although it appears that narcissists’ low empathy is relatively automatic … there is potential for change,” the researchers write in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
“The reason for (narcissists’) low empathy is not inability.” Caring about another person’s problems is not their default response, but this study suggests it can be induced by a simple instruction to see things from his or her point of view.
Their first experiment confirmed what we all know: Narcissists tend to have a chilly response to others’ problems. A group of 282 online volunteers responded to a series of statements designed to measure their levels of “adaptive narcissism” (that is, their sense of authority and self-sufficiency) and “maladaptive narcissism” (feelings of entitlement and tendency to exploit others).
Presented with various versions of a vignette in which a person describes a recent break-up, the narcissists displayed a lack of empathy, “virtually irrespective of whether the person’s situation is relatively mild or severe (in terms of the pain it caused), and whether that person was somewhat in control, and thus partly culpable, or not.”
The second experiment featured 95 female undergraduates who completed the same test to measure narcissistic tendencies. One to six months later, they watched a 10-minute documentary in which a woman describes being the victim of domestic violence.
Half the participants were instructed beforehand to “imagine how Susan feels.” The others were told to imagine they were at home watching the report on television. All then reported their level of care and concern for the woman.
While those who ranked low in narcissism responded with the same level of empathy regardless of the instructions, those with narcissistic tendencies “reported significantly higher empathy for Susan when they had been instructed to take her perspective,” the researchers write. Simply being told to see things from her point of view—something that does not come naturally for narcissists—allowed them to step outside themselves and feel something for her.
Ah, but were they faking it? The third and final experiment suggests not. A group of 88 undergraduates performed a similar test, getting one of the two aforementioned instructions and then listening to an audio blog in which a person describes a difficult romantic break-up. Only in this case, the participants were hooked up to monitors that measured their heart rate.
When imagining they were listening at home, “high narcissists evinced significantly lower heart rates while exposed to a target character’s distress,” the researchers report. “This suggests that narcissists’ lack of empathy is more than skin-deep. “However, crucially, taking the character’s perspective wiped out the decline in heart rate evinced by those high in maladaptive narcissism.” Their physiological response gives them away: They were actually feeling something.
The bottom line, according to Hepper and her colleagues: “The reason for (narcissists’) low empathy is not inability.” Caring about another person’s problems is not their default response, but this study suggests it can be induced by a simple instruction to see things from his or her point of view.
The researchers consider this particularly good news, “given recent evidence of rising narcissism levels and falling empathy levels.” If, as some studies suggest, we’re getting more narcissistic as a society, it’s a relief to know the condition can be modified.
Read original article here: When No One’s Watching, Are You Still Likely to Do Good? | Psychology Today.