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How Perfectionism Destroys Happiness

perfectionism


If you want to never be happy or satisfied with your life, one great way to do that is to raise your expectations to an unrealistically high standard that can never possibly be met.

This is the essence of perfectionism. It’s the inability to be happy with something until it is perfect, without any flaws whatsoever. Of course, the problem with this mindset is that perfectionism is often an illusion.

Life rarely works out exactly the way we want, in any domain – whether it’s relationships, work, or goals.

And many times being more happy with your life requires that you let go of these expectations and learn to be more content with how things are, rather than how you picture they should be in an “ideal world.”

Many studies are beginning to show the many ways perfectionism can destroy your happiness.

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Curiosity and the Advantages of a Hungry Mind

curiosity


“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”Steve Jobs


Curiosity is the desire to learn and explore something just for the sake of learning and exploring it.

There are many theories as to what influences humans to experience curiosity.

One theory is the “curiosity-drive model.” We often seek a coherent map of reality, so when we discover an “information gap” in our map, we are driven to learn new information to close that gap. We tend to prefer certainty over uncertainty.

Another theory is the “optimal arousal model.” Curiosity can provide us with a certain amount of pleasure and arousal. When we’re always around familiar environments and stimuli, we usually get bored and dull quickly. Curiosity motivates us to seek new experiences and new sensations.

At the end of the day, the more new information we have, the better we can adapt to our environment. So it makes sense that humans would evolve to experience curiosity in a variety of ways.

Humans like to understand things and how the world works. Curiosity is ultimately the pull that motivates us to learn and explore new things. And in many ways, every step in human progress – every discovery and every invention – first began from a spark of curiosity.

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The Power of Leisure: How to Wisely Spend Your Free Time


How we spend our leisure and free time can have a big impact on our lives, though we often overlook just how important these things are.

Leisure is best defined as, “any time not occupied by paid or unpaid work, including personal chores and obligations.” They are usually “preferred activities pursued during free time for their own sake, fun, entertainment, or self-improvement”

A recent study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, reviewed the many ways leisure and free time have shown to improve happiness and subjective well-being.

Psychologists discovered 5 main ways leisure contributes to our happiness and well-being.

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When Too Much Empathy Blinds Us


Empathy is our ability to think and feel what another person is thinking and feeling. It’s an incredibly important psychological trait that we’ve evolved to experience to help facilitate social interaction, cooperation with one another, solving social conflicts, and creating overall social harmony.

According to psychologists there are 3 different types of empathy: cognitive empathy (thinking what someone is thinking), affective empathy (feeling what someone is feeling), and sympathetic empathy (a combination of the two, coupled with the motivation and drive to take action and do something about it).

It is this last type of empathy – sympathetic empathy – that can sometimes be unhealthy and even destructive in the wrong context and situation. While empathy is a very useful trait, at times it can be misused and abused.

For example, we are all familiar with how people elicit empathy from others in order to manipulate them, whether it’s a commercial trying to make you feel a certain way to buy a product, or a politician trying to make you feel a certain way to vote for them, or even a person you know trying to make you feel a certain way to change your behavior (such as maybe through guilt-tripping or shaming you).

It’s important to be attuned to the emotions others express toward us, but at the same time we can’t let these emotions run wild and dictate our behavior.

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Giving Ourselves Permission to Feel Bad


When we feel really bad about something and we look toward others for social support, what are we really searching for?

Do we want them to give us positive advice and make us feel better about our situation, or do we want them to just accept our feelings and let us know they are healthy and normal to have?

In a recent study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers looked at how individuals can best provide social support to those who suffer from negative emotions and low self-esteem.

What they found was that individuals with low self-esteem didn’t respond well to advice like “cheer up” or “look on the bright side.” Instead, the type of social support they were looking for was negative validation.

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