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Obstacles to Happiness

Lesson 4 from: The Science of Happiness: How to Live Your Best Life

Laura Delizonna

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Lesson Info

4. Obstacles to Happiness

Lesson Info

Obstacles to Happiness

So let's talk about why this is also hard sometimes right? The biggest obstacle to happen is they'll here comes the bad news we all got it and it's the negativity bias the negativity bias the psychologist say and this is a culmination of research it happens over and over again it shows up in so many different ways that one we overestimate threat to we underestimate resource is and three kind of sadly we overlook opportunities think about how this shows up for you in your day to day life we overestimate threat it's like the bad stuff okay, so if you wake up like three in the morning what do you thinking of? Oh it's all those things that email I should have sent or cash if I only had said or or how is this going to go and you know the worries creep in sometimes right it's like the worries, the threats, the bad stuff they could be like velcro to our minds it just stick and they're hard to like get off of joy's tend to be more like slip right out of the pan teflon the other day I was like ...

shocked how the negativity by still shows up I talk about this with these practices and still in like negativity by a strikes again I was giving a talk it was an all day talk and uh yeah, I was doing my thing and whatever is having fun with it and there's this woman in the back row and she's like staring at me she is this blank look and so I'm like I'm trying to you know, kind of make eye contact engage her still stone face in fact I think she was scowling at me and I'm thinking she thinks I am wasting her time she thinks I am dumb she hates me I'm like all right, let it go like it so I've done this you know it's the most shocking thing happen the end of the talk she walks up to me and she says laura thank you so much for that workshop was exactly what I needed a wonderful job hello negatively vias in action, right? So in the absence of data or just slightly you know, if something gets in our mind that something slightly negative after will overshadow the positives and director attention to what's not right or what might not be right we don't even need evidence right? What might not be right so powerful so you might be thinking well, okay, I I get that's probably true, but I'm a pretty glass is half full type of a person I tend to look at the positives so I don't know about this negativity biased in maine all right? We're going to do a negativity bias assessment ready? All right, so let's, do that negativity bias this estimate? Are you ready? I'd like to ask you to pull out your driver's license. You don't have a driver's license and I d card or a passport, whatever. And our online audience please do this a swell ride along with us. Pull out your your driver's license, right d card and just take a look. Just look at it. Just just observe and look at the data, the demographics and observe what happens in your mind. Observe any thoughts that come up and just see if you can observe them and catch them. Any complimentary thoughts, critical thoughts, any thoughts? Notice what's coming into your mind? How many of you told the truth about your weight? So what kind of thoughts are you having? Oh, great hair day. This is a fabulous shot of me. Kelly this is the worst, however worst photo ever. Yeah, I don't even have my passport or a d in front of me, but I know that picture and I'm already thinking like, I hate that. Make sure I'm so happy I'm not looking at you right now. I would have nothing good to say that I'm nothing good to say about it writing ugly, others others online submit your comments adieu in um I remember when I look at this picture although it's not very well we're very good when I had it taken the lady at the dmv said for the first time would you like to try again tea lady oh yeah you met um my last driver's license picture that I had was so terrible this one I made them take it three times way don't do that I was ok let's do it again eh so I'm actually satisfied with it but uh huh boy it took a lot to get their thank you okay you khun put your your licenses away so yeah I mean even when we want to be a possible we want to look at what's right our mind tends to go to what's wrong and it's natural rights so if you found my gosh I do kind of have this this negativity bias I'm here to tell you it's not your fault it's not your fault because think of it from an evolutionary perspective there was tremendous evolutionary survival benefit to being a little bit paranoid and all whole lot reactive right? We are the descendants of nervous monkeys it's better if you are among the forest to be safe than sorry so think about this for a minute this circuitry evolved was created at a time when our ancestors were like running through the savannah there was saber toothed tigers running after them ok those ancestors that were like rear of your wrestling in the bush like like run they survived but the ancestors didn't make it they were the ones that were like oh don't worry it's fine right? So having threats and problems take more of our attention and have them being so sticky where it's hard to release from them to not think about them is tremendously adaptive if you're living in a really harsh, scary threatening environment yeah be safe than sorry the problem is is we live in a modern environment with modern problems that our problems are more about collaboration how can I get that person to cooperate with me and how can I build bonds and how can I create these amazing ideas and innovations right that is in the domain of positive emotions not threats, problems and negative emotions that makes a small right that makes us think small, so I love the way that my angela says this is that these days we're not looking just to survive we're looking to thrive and yet we have this primitive circuitry that is having us overreact to that email that arrives in our inbox as if it were a savers this tiger right? We're going to fight or flight at the harsh one small, harsh word at one person who's given you a stone face right? Thankfully we're also wired to thrive we have we're endowed with this drive to thrive there is this theory so interesting it's called the broaden and build theory of positive emotions by barbara frederickson a university of north carolina chapel hill and what her research has shown is that positive emotions literally open our minds and expand our vision they brought in our perspective as if flowers like moving towards light right towards the sun they also help us build resource is build collaborations we trust others were more generous when we're under the influence of positive emotions we're more willing to help and were more willing to receive positive emotions make us more creative they also energize us think of when you're in a really good mood you like nothing can stop me now right and they do in fact make us nicer people more willing to collaborate to cooperate and to be generous to so important right the two wolves which wolf will you feed which one's gonna win I say that we feed the wolf of love of positive emotions we see this even at a neurological level when we look at brain scans depressed brain look how shut down it is there's some like activation points but they're hot spots that sort of narrow vision tunnel perspective that we get under a negative emotions we even see that visually it was a metaphor or quite literally in our brain as opposed to in this image is a is a non depressed brain by contrast a much more positive brain that's more that's, happier might say, and under this state there's more bilateral activation, there's literally more regions that are receiving that blood flow in this this demonstrate in this pet scan. So our minds open up under positive emotions and that's why we are spending some time to cultivate these habits of happiness, so that we can tap into that broaden and build theory of positive emotions that drive to thrive so we can step into upward spirals of positivity and possibility, and not get stuck in the vortex of downward spirals of negativity. So you have this really powerful tool the three w's what went well, not wet went wrong first let's, look at what went well, it's not that we avoid or dismiss the negatives absolutely pay attention to them, but think of the metaphor of a sailboat all right, so there's a sailboat and winces if there's a hole in the bottom of the boat that's like the negative emotions like the problems and the threats fixed them, or else the boat's going to think right, don't let that go! But once you fixed the problem, we're just flapping in the wind it's positive emotions that is the wind behind our sales that propel us towards our dreams towards their aspirations, so what we're doing today is we're tapping into the power of positive emotions.

Class Materials

Bonus Material

Action Plan
Positivity - 3W's Worksheet

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

I loved this class! Dr Laura provides compelling side effects of happiness, and then the 3 habits of happiness. They are transforming.... and if you aren't already using them (most people aren't)... they will up your level of happiness... I can't see how they wouldn't! Transformative tips. Thank you Dr. Laura - this was nothing short of brilliant! -Tina Huang, Ph.D., Holistic Healer for a Happy & Healthy Brain at LifeLong EnerJoy

Bianca Davoodian

Dr. Delizonna is truly an expert in the field of Positive Psychology, as I have learned a great deal as her student from her courses at Stanford, her talks, as well as her retreats ( She has an amazing ability to bring all the resources available in this field to her student's/viewer's in a way that is tangible and easily understandable. In turn, the tools that she teaches are easily applicable and I have seen positive changes take place, in minimal time and sometimes with minimal effort (because of her easy-to-follow teaching style), in my day-to-day life. I highly recommend her classes and books. They've definitely had substantial and lasting effects in my life!

Tomas Verver

:) I like the positivity about the course:D It really reasonates with me:) Always try to look on the bright side! There is so much to be happy with around you! Thanks Laura for the great science based approach. Your positive energy is inspiring!

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