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>Its far more satisfying to 'impress yourself'

I find that this is something that sometimes sort of just happens to me, when I get aware of something I'm doing better now than, say, a year before.

But, I never really consciously decide to do that, because then I find it just doesn't work. Like the cliché of standing in front of a mirror and saying to yourself "today is gonna be a good day" (Has that ever worked for anybody? Where is this meme coming from?)






It works, but no, it won't turn night into day.

It's about making sure you take a moment to appreciate the good things you experience. It's about making an effort to not assume malice when there's a plausible positive or neutral explanation for someones behaviour. It's about the fact that if you smile at people and say good morning, they'll return the favour more often than if you frown and don't. It's about making peace with the things you can't change. It's about not dismissing this stuff as happy-clappy bullshit, but about giving you energy to address the things that actually matter, rather than just going around being angry at the world.


Okay, I can see that. That's what I try to do too. Altough I see these thinking habits as more of a short-term happiness boost than a tool for feeling satisfied with my life (which I would categorize as a more longer-lasting feeling, independent of my normal up/down mood-cycles).

The value is that when you don't spend your life being angry at Mondays or the weather or the fortunes of your favourite sportsteam (never main all the things people are casually angry at their bosses for, but doesn't actually warrant anger), you have a lot more energy to identify and engage with the things that actually make a lasting difference in your life.

That's certainly true, but I would argue that there's some things that really don't warrant wasting your time / energy with (like you said, mainly inter-personal and superficial stuff like appearances, money, etc.) and others that you should listen to if it's something that continues to bother you.

Weather is a good example: If you find yourself constantly annoyed at the weather and it's possible for you to do so, why not go to somewhere with a climate that might better suit you?

I guess my point is, I agree, it's not worth it getting constantly worked up over stuff, but also one shouldn't ignore one's feelings towards certain things for a prolonged time.


> more of a short-term happiness boost than a tool for feeling satisfied with my life

The former can have quite an effect on the latter though. To take it to one extreme, if you're never happy you're not going to be satisfied with life. But more realistically if these habits often help you feel happy when otherwise you would've been less happy, then that's going to have a positive impact on how satisfied you are with life.


Manipulating ones self is surprisingly easy in some ways. This is because emotion is a biofeedback thing. We always seem to think of it as purely a brain-oriented thing, but that's simply factually incorrect. To be happy, you have to be able to smile. To be angry, you have to flare your nostrils and furrow your brow and grit your teeth. People with total facial paralysis, for example, rapidly lose almost all emotional capacity. Eventually they are unable to even recall what having those emotions felt like. Experiments having people hold a pencil in their mouth (which forces your lips into a smile) showed that they experienced less negative emotion and more positive emotion when watching upsetting and funny videos respectively. This is why you won't see an AGI with emotions that lacks a body any time soon. What emotions are is fundamentally tied into the body. And through manipulating the body, one can significantly influence the subjective emotions felt.


As pointed out on the most recent Hilarious World of Depression podcast episode, the positive affirmation in front of a mirror seems like it would never work, and many more people have realized that telling themselves really negative things about themselves works great--so why not give the opposite a shot?

I think this gets the causality wrong. I'd say you tell yourself negative things about you because you're already in a negative mindset. Similarly you're more likely to think positive thoughts when you are happy.

So I'd say rather than simply saying nice things, one should be conscious of when one is thinking negative thoughts and then try to see where they come from and then what can be done about it. Being honest with yourself is a big part of that and I think that's what many people have a hard time with. And of course: If you're happy, also try to notice and cherish that. (If you look in the discussion I've had with another poster in this comment-thread, we've talked a bit about this too)




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