Richard Layard stated that happiness comes from outside and within, explain this statement, drawing on appropriate evidence from chapters 3 and 5 of the course book. In this assignment I will be explaining the above statements. There are many factors which contribute to our overall happiness . Optimistic Thinking, focusing on our strengths and blessings gives us contentment From within. Our roles in life our work our friends , social groups all Contribute to our happiness from the outside. There are also biological actors to take in to account, as our genetic makeup is different, some People may have genes which produce more serotonin than others, but regardless of all these factors we can all take steps to improve our happiness. Eating fresh foods and simple carbohydrates boost serotonin Levels, doing exercise, meditating, showing gratitude and making contact with good friends. I will continue to show you research and experiments carried out by physiologist, in the factors that increase our happiness. “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so” Shakespeare 2005 cited in Spoors . et. al. 2007). This quote from Shakespeare suggest our thinking makes something to be good or bad. Research has found optimists are generally healthier, recover faster from surgery and are likely to live longer . A study carried out by Maruto and colleges (2002 cited in Spoors. et . al 2007 ) in Minnesota, selected 839 patients that had referred themselves into the Mayo clinic, 40 years previously and submitted themselves to many test including pessimistic thinking .
Results showed 200 patients died by the year 2000. The optimists had 19% greater longevity than the pessimists. Seligman (2005 cited in Spoors. et. al. 2007) generally known as the one who initiated positive psychology, tasked 577 people to write about a time when they were at their best and reflect on the strengths noted once a day for a week and to note 3 things that went well each day , and to write the reason why they went well.
Seligman’s research found that the participant’s happiness levels rose significantly and stayed so for 6 months and longer. So we can make our happiness last longer by reflecting on our strengths and thinking positively all have a major impact on our happiness from within. If we believe that we can change our situation and that we have control of our life choices, we are likely to be happier and be able to take action when we are in an unhappy situation. This is referred to as our internal locus of control.
If our locus of control is external then we would believe that we have no power and control over our life and would be unable to take action when in an unhappy situation as we would believe our actions wouldn’t be able to make a difference. Research carried out on residents of a nursing home where one group was given multiple choices and freedom to their lifestyle and one group had all decisions made for them. Positive effects were obvious in the first group, this group had a lower mortality rate then the second group . Researched by Langer Rodin 1976 cited in Spoors. et. al 2007) So again here you can see how it’s our thinking that controls our happiness so effectively. Our roles in life have a major effect on our happiness from the outside, for example, if your role at home is one of a mother, you re loved, cherished and appreciated in this role then you are likely to feel happier, than a mother with conflicting roles and who receives no appreciation for her efforts.
You are able to gain self esteem and a sense of belonging from being a part of a group and having more social circles such us your cultural groups your clubbing friend and the like. Being a part of so many groups are likely to make you feel happier than someone with only a few groups and social circles giving them less social identities. The happiness we receive from our roles can vary as not every role in our life will be making us happy, as we may be bullied at work taken advantage of in our family groups.
Our work whether formal or housework can be a source of happiness, as achieving your set work for each day gives you a sense of achievement and, you have an aim in life, a goal to reach, it’s also an outlet for your creativity, to be able see the productivity from your work all adds up to the outside influences that make you happy, War (2007 cited in Spoors. et. al. 2007) likens work to taking vitamins. There is much debate among psychologist about the kind of culture that promotes the greatest happiness.
Socio-political factors play a significant role in defining happiness. Research found the countries which had more social equality, held a stronger sense of ‘Subjective well being’. This was found in the countries that had strong public Institutions that ran efficiently, countries without political oppression and Military conflict. (Researched by Carr 2004, cited in Spoors. et. al 2007) Another research carried out by Foster (2006 cited in Spoors. et. al. 007) in a very poor country called Vanuatu, witnessed how the community had a very strong social support system within the families and villages, they would all work together when healthy, and help each other when faced with any hardship, all the villagers where constantly greeting and smiling at each other. All the above example are relevant to showing how strong positive groups , peaceful social surroundings a strong supportive community all are very significant to our happiness from outside of us.
In conclusion I’ve looked at the factors that influence us from within and Outside of us, I think we can all make ourselves happier by changing our attitudes, our thinking, altering our perspective on life. Some of our groups can have a negative effect on us and bad experiences can leave us in a bad mental situation, so we really need take the initiative and take steps to take ourselves out of these situations. To believe in ourselves that we can make a difference and participating in some constructive activities, building a strong resolve.
Even partaking in mind strengthening character building activities and exercises would all help. Being able to identify our strengths and appreciate them is very important. Taking physical action to achieve your peace and happiness by being more active, socialising, staying healthy, having an open mind and “everything in moderation” is my own personal word. I have carried out some of the test and experimented them on self and have found myself to be more optimistic in my thinking. Word count-1088 References Spoors . Dyer. E. W. and Finlay, L. 2007) Starting With Psychology, Milton Keynes, the Open University. Task 2 1. Past; Give at least one example of a way in which your learning skills have improved during this course. I think my patience has improved as I have been able to slow down and focus on my studies by doing all the set exercises. I have been able to curb my strong urge to rush things and finish quickly, and that took time. My writing technique and essay structure planning has improved. I have also improved in referencing as I was totally new to this. 2.
Present; Give at least one example of a strength and at least one example of a weakness in your learning skills. I believe my strength would be my perseverance in trying and retrying to understand something and getting it down on paper, it really doesn’t come easily I generally understand things, but explaining and getting it all down on paper has been really difficult. I have a few weaknesses, main one being my concentration it’s always wondering off to all the other things I need to do, it takes me a while to settle my mind and focus on my studies. . Future; Give at least one example of a way in which you could improve a specific learning skill in future. Planning my essay before writing it would be my number 1 priority. I only really did this properly on my last assignment and realised the benefits as it made writing my essay so much easier. I’d like to improve my use of vocabulary and be able to use are more wider variety of words. Word count – 200