The science of happiness — Part 2

Who do you think is more happy? Lottery winners or paraplegics?

The answer might surprise you. Instead of giving it away, this week’s #HappyAct is to watch this Ted Talk by Dan Gilbert, the author of Stumbling on Happiness.

Gilbert challenges the idea that we’ll be miserable if we don’t get what we want. In fact, our “psychological immune system” lets us feel truly happy even when things don’t go as planned.

The reason why is based in science. As the human brain evolved, it developed a part called the pre-frontal cortex. The pre-frontal cortex allows humans to simulate experiences, and imagine what something will be like in their head before trying it in real life.

This allows us to synthesize happiness, and as Gilbert says, synthetic happiness is every bit as real and and enduring as natural happiness.

Pete Best, the original drummer for the Beatles was once quoted as saying, “I’m happier than I would have been with the Beatles.”

Being happy with our lot in life is a lesson we can all learn.

Read the Science of Happiness Part 1—to what degree is our happiness pre-ordained?