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Psychologists, for reasons of clinical necessity or vagaries of temperament, have chosen to dissect and catalog the morbid emotions depression, anger, anxiety and to leave largely unexamined the more vital, positive ones.
The quantification of happiness seems a little tricky, of course, and through a series of carefully managed surveys around the world, economists and psychologists have certainly faced a lot of thorny problems regarding how to measure and even define happiness .
Samuel Johnson called it the vanity of human wishes, and Buddhists talk about the endless cycle of desire. Social psychologists say we get trapped on a hedonic treadmill. What they all mean is that we wish, plan and work for things that we think will make us happy, but when we finally get them, we aren't nearly as happy as we thought we'd be.
Too little attention is paid to the dark side of incentives. They are anything but a magic bullet. Psychologists have known this for years, but it seems largely hidden from the world of commerce.
You initially become funny as a kid because you're looking for attention and love. Psychologists think that's all to do with mother abandonment. I think John Cleese has his depressions, and Terry Gilliam's the same. All of us together make one completely insane person.
It was very hard for me to practice and enjoy my tennis, and I didn't know the why, so I worked with psychologists to try and see what was happening. They pushed me really hard.
One of my key realizations about happiness, and a point oddly under emphasized by positive psychologists, given its emphasis in popular culture, is that outer order contributes to inner calm. More than it should.
I believe in greater self sufficiency. International sport is tough, no doubt, but there shouldn't be too many crutches. In most cases sports psychologists are crutches, and they tend to soften rather than harden the players.
The usual comment from psychologists and psychiatrists was that it's best not to encourage people to look at their dreams because they are liable to stir up problems for themselves.
I specialise in taking teams of designers, psychologists, usability experts, sociologists and ethnographers into the field. It's called 'corporate anthropology,' but personally I'm more comfortable with 'design research,' because I'm not an anthropologist by training.
Narcissism falls along the axis of what psychologists call personality disorders, one of a group that includes antisocial, dependent, histrionic, avoidant and borderline personalities. But by most measures, narcissism is one of the worst, if only because the narcissists themselves are so clueless.
Since narcissism is fueled by a greater need to be admired than to be liked, psychologists might use that fact as a therapeutic lever stressing to patients that being known as a narcissist will actually cause them to lose the respect and social status they crave.
We study the injustices of history for the same reason that we study genocide, and for the same reason that psychologists study the minds of murderers and rapists... to understand how those evil things came about.
Painters were also attorneys, happy storytellers of anecdote, psychologists, botanists, zoologists, archaeologists, engineers, but there were no creative painters.
Behavioral psychologists have observed that wanting something has a much stronger emotional impact than the pleasure that comes once you have it, or the memory of having had it.
Psychology is much bigger than just medicine, or fixing unhealthy things. It's about education, work, marriage it's even about sports. What I want to do is see psychologists working to help people build strengths in all these domains.
One of the things psychologists used to say was that if you are depressed, anxious or angry, you couldn't be happy. Those were at opposite ends of a continuum. I believe that you can be suffering or have a mental illness and be happy just not in the same moment that you're sad.
It used to be that whenever I introduced myself to people and told them I was a psychologist, they would shrink away from me. Because, quite rightly, the impression the American public has of psychologists is, 'You want to know what's wrong with me.'
My father taught me things about body language that psychologists have been catching up with ever since. He always knew when I was lying, because my posture was all wrong.
But what many psychologists have done, probably because they have passed a test and everyone wants high self esteem, is to create this little box and then do some research.
Busy people all make the same mistake: they assume they are short on time, which of course, they are. But time is not their only scarce resource. They are also short on bandwidth. By bandwidth I mean basic cognitive resources psychologists call them working memory and executive control that we use in nearly every activity.
People go shopping, we spend on so many things, and we just don't know. We don't know the prices of things. But gasoline, even when you're not buying, it's staring you in the face. Psychologists call this 'salience.'
When top scientists and psychologists talk about what's important to our overall wellbeing and how satisfied we are with our lives, the only thing that they all agree on is that social relationships are probably the single best predictor of our overall happiness.
Considering the importance of resentment in our lives, and the damage it does, it receives scant attention from psychiatrists and psychologists. Resentment is a great rationalizer: it presents us with selected versions of our own past, so that we do not recognize our own mistakes and avoid the necessity to make painful choices.
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