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What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

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Podcast Episodes

What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

236. Gratitude or Happiness: Which Comes First? (Refreshed Episode)

Today’s episode is all about the brainy benefits of gratitude. At the end of the year, I always like to do episodes about reciprocity, gratefulness, happiness, and planning…and this year is no different. One thing that is new this year, is that we have two episodes a week including our Tuesday refreshes so this episode from November 2019 on the brainy benefits of gratitude gets another day in the sun.

I really enjoy this episode as it looks at the difference between happiness and gratitude and how they might not work the way we think they should (which you will of course learn all about in the episode today). 

Here’s something to think about as we start the episode: Do you have to get what you want to be happy? Is synthesized (or manufactured) happiness the same as natural happiness? What is best for your overall psyche and those around you? Keep that in mind as you listen, and share your thoughts with me on social media!

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HERE'S A 2 MINUTE TIP.

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SHOW NOTES:

  • [00:39] Today’s episode is all about the brainy benefits of gratitude.
  • [01:55] Gratefulness and reciprocity have an important thing in common, a tie that can bond them together which is a feeling of happiness and joy. Doing things for others or giving things away can make you feel happier. 
  • [04:09] Our brains systematically misjudge what will make us happy. 
  • [05:36] Dan Gilbert tells about how people don’t know what will make them happy. One of the most important things the human brain does is allow to synthesize the future, imagine what is to come, and predict how we should act for the best possible outcome. 
  • [06:29] Natural happiness is a product of getting exactly what you want. 
  • [06:41] Synthetic happiness is what we get when we don’t get what we wanted. Synthetic happiness, not getting what you want but still being happy about where you are is just as enduring and every bit as real to the brain as if you got exactly what you wanted or thought you wanted. 
  • [09:36] A fascinating example using Monet paintings to show how our preferences change. You can be grateful, appreciate things, and have them make you happier even if you don’t remember going through the process before. 
  • [10:09] We think we will be happier if we have more options or choices but there is such a thing as too much choice. Freedom to choose is the opposite of happiness. 
  • [11:20] Those who were stuck and had no room for deliberation after the fact were much happier than those that had the option to ruminate. Those who were stuck had no reason to ruminate and counterfactualize and were considerably happier.
  • [13:00] Not getting what you want can make you just as happy or happier than if you had gotten what you set out for. Synthesized happiness is the same as natural happiness. Lots of choices and opportunities to ruminate are a recipe for unhappiness. 
  • [14:23] Gratefulness goes first. 
  • [15:07] The benefits of gratitude filtering can impact all areas of your life in a positive way. When you are filtering for gratitude you are resetting the way your subconscious is looking at the world around you. 
  • [16:50] It is important to write gratitude by hand when you can. Writing things by hand has tons of benefits. 
  • [17:41] One reason writing by hand does all these things is because it forces you to slow down and be thoughtful. Your brain pays more attention to things you write down. 
  • [18:38] Gratitude can also improve relationships. Sharing the good makes it easier to share the bad allowing for growth and progress together. 
  • [20:08] It is time to filter for gratitude and start writing what you are grateful for.
  • [20:12] Melina’s closing thoughts

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