The Economics of Happiness urges us to go local to solve environmental, economic and human problems caused by globalization. Helena Norberg-Hodge, Steven Gorelick and John Page direct. Labor of love Diverse, multicultural views abound here.
Meaning comes from the pursuit of more complex things than happiness
The wisdom that Frankl derived from his experiences there, in the middle of unimaginable human suffering, is just as relevant now as it was then: "Being human always points, and is directed, to something or someone, other than oneself -- be it a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter. The more one forgets himself -- by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love -- the more human he is."
When someone asks you how you’re feeling, how do you reply? With a number? A color? A dot on a two-axis grid? Probably not. Chances are, you answer with words, incorporating body language, facial expressions, and maybe a verbal description of events that led to your current mood.
The person who asked you pieces all that together into a reasonable idea in their own mind of how you must be feeling. But how can that idea be captured, recorded, compared to other people’s moods, or even to your earlier moods? Are there standard, reproducible ways to measure mood that are both widely applicable and personally relevant?
The answer is… maybe. Many attempts have been made to quantify mood, from psychological assessments to online color palettes to analyses of phone conversations. We’ll explore them here, and discuss some of the ongoing debates. Think of it as a journey through the wild landscape of the mood tracking space.
Bhutan measures prosperity by gauging its citizens' happiness levels, not the GDP.
Since 1971, the country has rejected GDP as the only way to measure progress. In its place, it has championed a new approach to development, which measures prosperity through formal principles of gross national happiness (GNH) and the spiritual, physical, social and environmental health of its citizens and natural environment.
As world leaders prepare to meet in Doha on Monday for the second week of the UN climate change conference, Bhutan's stark warning that the rest of the world is on an environmental and economical suicide path is starting to gain traction. Last year the UN adopted Bhutan's call for a holistic approach to development, a move endorsed by 68 countries. A UN panel is now considering ways that Bhutan's GNH model can be replicated across the globe.
Louisville, Ky., launches a pilot to identify and treat asthma hotspots.
Asthma sufferers using the sensors can better establish how well controlled their asthma is, and work with their doctors to adjust their treatment plans to achieve better control. Asthmapolis boasts some impressive results in clinical trials to date, reporting decreases of 50 percent in uncontrolled asthma. A full 70 percent of sensor users improved their reported level of asthma control. Connected via Bluetooth technology to a user’s smartphone, the Asthmapolis sensor wirelessly transmits data, helping patients and their doctors track medications accurately and in real time. Patients are encouraged to supplement the automatically generated time and location data with information on symptoms they experienced and triggers that led them to take their medication.
Engineering happiness is not as radical as it sounds. Over the last decade, engineers, computer scientists, psychologists, and other researchers have shown they can do just that.
Each person has his or her own motivations, feelings, and goals—all of which affect behavior. But these underlying factors may not necessarily be apparent to casual or even trained observers. Does a person’s erratic movements indicate distress or giddiness? Do fewer than the normal number of social interactions one day mean that a person is depressed, or just engrossed in an engaging activity? Engineers need a way of distilling sensor data into meaningful mental states.
In one small but intriguing study, Yano, his colleague Koji Ara, and Csikszentmihalyi looked at whether you could quantify when people had reached that special state of being “in the zone” [PDF]. In this experiment, participants were asked to keep a diary of their feelings and corresponding activities throughout the day. Their HBM data—particularly the rhythm of their movements as measured by the accelerometers—were then compared with their diaries. There was no one movement or one type of activity that corresponded to a state of flow, nor was there a particular time of day during which workers were better able to focus intensely in this way. And that makes sense, given people’s individual styles and quirks.
Research collaborations between engineers and psychologists are only just beginning. We fully expect that as the use of wearable sensors spreads and more data accumulate, people will find new ways to deploy these biometric monitors.
Any good MBA professor preaches, “What gets measured gets done.” For several generations, we’ve been proving that point with our relentless focus on measuring our collective success via a host of global economic indicators.
Proponents of gross national happiness to augment gross national product would like to see our society focused on conserving instead of consuming and connectivity instead of distrust.
Still, how do we measure national happiness, well-being, and social capital as they relate to the way we plan our neighbourhoods, towns and cities?
Calculating people’s state of mind now includes asking about their positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishment.
"In theory, life satisfaction might include the various elements of well-being. But in practice, Dr. Seligman says, people’s answers to that question are largely — more than 70 percent — determined by how they’re feeling at the moment of the survey, not how they judge their lives over all."
Paul Dolan and Oliver Harrison argue that the next set of development goals should take well-being into account. Eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were established following the UN Millennium Summit in 2000.
Acknowledgement from those at the WEF in Davos that well-being neads to be measured and its increase one of the 2015 Development Goals
The H(app)athon Project, an initiative to create digital tools to drive global contentment, can help us find ways to improve overall wellness by using the daily information we c...
"Tools to measure our actions have matured to the point where we can essentially analyze the heartbeat of the planet," Havens said. "But we don't have a common cultural or ethical framework around these technologies, and I see things getting pretty messy and scary if we don't agree on a way to look at things."
Havens put together a detailed description of how the H(app)athon Project could create this framework. Then he gathered a committee of approximately 30 experts from various places, including the United Nations, World Economic Forum, MIT, Cambridge University, Microsoft and PEW Internet, to guide the project from there.
TIME Understanding Why Music Moves Us TIME The new research suggests that the two disciplines can express a mood together, with complementary methods of generating the dynamics of feeling.
Participants in the study included two very dissimilar groups: 50 college students in the U.S., and 87 villagers living in L’ak, a remote area of Cambodia, which is populated by the Kreung people. In this tribal group, music and dance mainly appear in ceremonies like weddings, funerals and animal sacrifices. The Kreung village is so isolated that members had never had any experiences with computers prior to the experiment.
In both the U.S. and Cambodian groups, participants were split into two groups for the experiment. All of them had to use the computer program to represent five different emotions: angry, happy, peaceful, sad and scared. But one group used the program in which the ball represented the emotion in movement, while the other used the program to play music to represent the feeling.
The program the scientists created allowed the participants to depict different aspects of the emotions. One slider bar, for example, controlled “rate,” which regulated how often notes or ball bounces occurred, better known to music lovers and dancers as beats per minute. Another handled “jitter” or the space between the notes or bounces. A third slider controlled the direction of either the music or the ball— whether the pitch or the ball moved up or down. The fourth handled the ratio of large to small movements: i.e., whether the pitch moved up quickly or slowly or the ball took large or small bounces. The final slider managed whether the music was consonant or dissonant or whether the ball moved smoothly or irregularly.
Which child born next year will be more likely to have a good quality-of-life? And, perhaps most importantly, what person entering adulthood in the 2030s will be gladdest to live where she or he lives? They call this the "born index” or "life satisfaction index ," and it explains which countries lead the pack as the best place to be born in 2013. America, which used to be number-one on this very same index back in 1988, has plummeted to number 16.
On a composite measure of Quality of LIfe Swirzerland and New Zealand / Australia come out tops
Track Your Happiness is a mobile app that asks a series of questions a few times each day, producing a "Happiness Report" which explains what influenced your happiness. So was there any one thing that made me happy?
I found that focus is the key to happiness; when I am focused, I am never unhappy. The same cannot be said about when I am unfocused. Regardless of whether I was working or relaxing, if I focused upon the activity at hand, I was happy. These results were consistent with the rest of the participants in the Track Your Happiness study. This research, which was conducted by Harvard researchers to ascertain what had an impact on happiness, concluded that focus is key to happiness and that "a human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind."
Essentially, if you aren't in the moment (even if what you are thinking about is positive), you will be less happy than if you were in the moment (even if what you are doing is negative).
How happy is the UK as a country?See what the latest data shows...
Results have been coming out in a steady stream since 2010 but the report today is the first annual major update. It combines the subjective data gathered from the questions above, with hard economic facts that statisticians know have an impact on how people feel.
This is how we measure up. The overall figures reinforce that a better economy is often a happier one, as far as the UK is concerned.
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