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Can you learn to be happy?

In the Northern Hemisphere, the days of late spring and early summer are considered the happiest of the year. There is even talk of “Yellow Day” to refer to June 20.

On the contrary, the “Blue Monday” —Third Monday in January, midwinter — is called the “saddest of the year”.

But the truth is that these days of “happiness” and “sadness” leave aside the most important components to quantify these states: the internal and subjective mechanisms of people.

¿Can You Help People Increase Their Happiness? How could subjective well-being be promoted? Why do the findings suggest that mental training programs help improve psychological well-being?

In short, is happiness modulable and trainable?

What does science know about happiness?

An article published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology evaluated subjective well-being by analyzing the effectiveness of mental training to help develop new ways of nurturing our own happiness.

The feeling of happiness has been conceptualized as the well-being experienced by people, both in thoughts and feelings.

Sad, neutral and happy(Photo: .)

Since the first studies, subjective well-being has been defined as the way in which individuals experience the quality of their life in three different mental aspects. Of course, interrelated.

These are: the infrequent negative affect, the frequent positive affect and the cognitive satisfaction assessments with life in various domains (physical health, relationships and work).

Hedonistic conception

A growing body of research has been carried out with the aim of identifying the factors that affect happiness, operationalized as the subjective well-being.

Although the definition of happiness has a long history and dates back to philosophical arguments and the search for practical wisdom, in modern times it has been equated with hedonism.

Hedonism is based on the achievement of immediate pleasure, the absence of negative affect and a high degree of satisfaction with one’s life.

However, experts now argue that authentic subjective well-being goes beyond this limited view and support an interpretation of happiness as a eudemic effort.

Today, several scholars argue that high levels of subjective well-being depend on a multidimensional perspective that encompasses both components hedonic as well as eudaemonic.

HappinessHappinessThe definition of happiness has been equated with hedonism. (Photo: .)

From this point of view, individuals seem to focus more on optimal psychological functioning, living deeply satisfying lives, and actualizing their own potential, personal growth, and sense of autonomy.

Modulable and trainable happiness

In psychology, this position is supported by the theory of Maslow’s human motivation.

The aforementioned program to train subjective well-being was, essentially, an informed and gentle training of the mind, and in particular of the emotions.

It was based on the principle that individual well-being is inextricably linked to development of virtues Y internal human strengths.

Like emotional balance, the inner self, conscience, an open and supportive attitude towards oneself and others.

All this endows the person with a mental clarity that can promote a deeper understanding of their own reality and that of others.

HappinessHappinessHappiness is trainable. (Photo: .)

To date, the evidence suggests that happiness is, to some extent, modulable and trainable.

Therefore, the simple cognitive and behavioral strategies that individuals choose in their lives could improve happiness, more than the external and environmental conditions that Yellow day propose.

Not everything will be positive stimuli

But why don’t we ask ourselves the reverse? Why do we train day by day, without knowing it, not to be happy?

The exclusively hedonistic and external conception of happiness has permeated our overstimulated news brains.

Tips, news and an infinity of material available to be consumed. Without choosing it, without asking for it or without knowing why and for what.

With our brains raptured by the input of external information, we seek the zero negative affect.

It is an extremely difficult goal to achieve. Ultimately, to survive and adapt to human nature, there is a large volume of unpleasant emotions required that must be experienced. Negative affect is part of our day to day.

Happiness in childrenHappiness in childrenTo achieve well-being, we must not focus only on the external. (Photo: .)

Another condition that we seek with too much intensity, duration and frequency is hedonism.

We ignore how habituation will decrease and the hedonic will change and how, to resist it, we will increase the enjoyable to such high levels that they will be incompatible with the other demands.

Internal state

In short, to achieve better subjective well-being (or happiness) we should not focus only on the external.

Knowing what to train to achieve a better internal state is getting closer and closer.

The results of research in psychology show that our brain will be able to adapt. But, Is it in the industry’s best interest for this to happen? And most importantly, do we want it to happen?

The benefits of contemplative mental training programs to improve our subjective state of happiness speak for themselves.

Of course, the general ignorance of the population about these programs and measures makes them look at with distrust and disbelief.

The dissemination of specific scientific articles on subjective well-being should be a central axis to break the barriers that society has on happiness.

Let us not forget that humanity is made up of people who do not stop, nor have they stopped, looking for it.

* Fátima Servián Franco is a general health psychologist and director of the RNCR and PDI Psychology Center at the International University of Valencia. This note originally appeared on The Conversation and is published here under a Creative Commons license.

Read the original article here.

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