It turns out that if you speak highly about those you know then you yourself are a good person. New research shows that the way you think about others reflects on how happy you are.
The researchers found a person’s tendency to describe others in positive terms is an important indicator of the positivity of the person’s own personality traits. They discovered particularly strong associations between positively judging others and how enthusiastic, happy, kind-hearted, courteous, emotionally stable and capable the person describes oneself and is described by others.
“Seeing others positively reveals our own positive traits,” Wood says.
The study also found that how positively you see other people shows how satisfied you are with your own life, and how much you are liked by others.
In contrast, negative perceptions of others are linked to higher levels of narcissism and antisocial behavior. “A huge suite of negative personality traits are associated with viewing others negatively,” Wood says. “The simple tendency to see people negatively indicates a greater likelihood of depression and various personality disorders.” Given that negative perceptions of others may underlie several personality disorders, finding techniques to get people to see others more positively could promote the cessation of behavior patterns associated with several different personality disorders simultaneously, Wood says.
Keep reading about this positive news.
Here’s a chance for some people to help rebuild Haiti from afar. Good Magazine has launched a competition for idea on how to sustainably rebuild Haiti.
In the wake of the Port-au-Prince earthquake, Haitians have sustained an immense loss of life, with numbers still climbing, and the collapse of physical structures signifying the collapse of the governmental, social, economic, and infrastructural institutions those structures housed and represented. Many of those institutions and infrastructures were weak before the quake, as Haiti is among the world’s poorest nations, reliant on international aid and subject to severe economic disparity.
This earthquake was no typical disaster, and Haiti is no typical disaster-struck region. In many ways, Port-au-Prince and its institutions required rebuilding before the buildings collapsed. The relief effort of this particular disaster goes beyond air-dropping supplies and building emergency housing. Haiti also requires an emergency economic system (the banks and tax office have collapsed), an emergency medical system (hospitals have collapsed), an emergency justice system (courthouses and the federal prison have collapsed), emergency education (schools have collapsed), and an emergency government (the parliament and many ministry buildings have collapsed). People talk about emergency shelter. What about emergency institutions, only one of which is housing?
Participants in February’s Spontaneous Architecture competition are invited to take this question seriously, enacting a response onto the site included below. The site includes multiple institutions and social, economic, and governmental infrastructures as well as residential areas and open space parks currently being used as campsites for those in need of housing. Participants are asked to consider one or all of the institutions present and can operate on the entire site or a specific portion thereof. Responses can be strategic, organizational, institutional, and/or architectural.
Enter the competition here>
Your mother was right, you should sit up straight. A new study has been done that examined how your posture when sitting affects your self-image.
Read about the posture study here.
Brinol et al. (2009) divided 71 students into four groups, then fed them a cover story about why they had to adopt two different poses: half slouching, the other half sitting up straight, chests puffed out. These two groups were then split again, and half were asked to write down three positive personal traits, the other half three negative personal traits.
The results showed that people who had been sitting up straight were much more likely to believe the positive things they’d been writing about themselves, whereas those who were slouching weren’t so sure. Meanwhile a doubtful posture had very little effect on the half who were thinking negatively about themselves.
This is a very simple way to make sure that you are happy and positive in life: just think about a good thing that happened to you yesterday.
It showed a 7 per cent increase in overall cheerfulness after the experiment.
”The figure is statistically significant,” said Prof Wiseman. ”I thought with a representative sample you wouldn’t see a change, but we got a 7 per cent rise. There was no big improvement in the weather or anything in the news that could have accounted for it, and we looked for that. Who knows, but I like to think we might have cheered up the nation.”
Participants were asked to carry out the tasks every day for a week and report any changes in their happiness, as well as that of people around them.
Not much to add to this: study proves that people are universally optimistic.
“These results provide compelling evidence that optimism is a universal phenomenon,” said Matthew Gallagher, a psychology doctoral candidate at the University of Kansas and lead researcher of the study.
At the country level, optimism is highest in Ireland, Brazil, Denmark, and New Zealand and lowest in Zimbabwe, Egypt, Haiti and Bulgaria. The United States ranks number 10 on the list of optimistic countries.