Pursuit Of Happiness - A Talk

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Dr. Aliasgar Lokhandwala - M.D. Medicine, delivered a Talk at SKMC - Abu Dhabi on Tuesday 13th May 2014 to the Medical Fraternity at the Hospital. The Oxford Happiness Questioner was the Cherry on the Cake and evoked a good response.

TRANSCRIPT

PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS From Philosophy to Medical ScienceALIASGAR LOKHANDWALAINSTITUTE OF MEDICINE SKMC CONTENTSTORY OF PURSUITDEFINITION OF HAPPINESSMEASUREMENT Of HAPPINESSFACTORS INFLUENCING HAPPINESSMEDICAL BENEFITS Of HAPPINESS ROLE OF MEDICINE-LOOKING FORWARDCONCLUSION

Story of PursuitSocrates-Happiness can be attainedAristotle- Eudemonia /Virtue and rationality a necessity for HappinessAmericas Declaration of independence,1785(Thomas Jefferson)-Life, liberty and Pursuit of HappinessModern Times-The goal should be the greatest happiness of allStory of PursuitAll medical science attention to DepressionFrom 2000 onwards-Perception changed10 billion dollar Industry/5000 motivation speakers in US aloneInternational day of happiness-March 20Science of Happiness

DefinitionHappiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.Measurement of HappinessThe Subjective Happiness Scale(SHS).The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule(PANAS).The Satisfaction with Life Scale(SWLS).The Oxford Happiness Questionnaire.

The Oxford Happiness Questionnaire was developed by psychologists Michael Argyle and Peter Hills at Oxford University.

Below are a number of statements about happiness. Please indicate how much you agree or disagreewith each by entering a number in the blank after each statement, according to the following scale:1 = strongly disagree2 = moderately disagree3 = slightly disagree4 = slightly agree5 = moderately agree6 = strongly agreePlease read the statements carefully, some of the questions are phrased positively and othersNegatively. There are no right or wrong answers (and no trick questions)The first answer that comes into your head is probably the right one for you. 1. I dont feel particularly pleased with the way I am. ( R) ______2. I am intensely interested in other people. _____3. I feel that life is very rewarding. _____4. I have very warm feelings towards almost everyone. _____5. I rarely wake up feeling rested. (R) _____6. I am not particularly optimistic about the future. (R) _____7. I find most things amusing. _____8. I am always committed and involved. _____9. Life is good. _____10. I do not think that the world is a good place. (R) _____11. I laugh a lot. _____12. I am well satisfied about everything in my life. _____13. I dont think I look attractive. (R) _____14. There is a gap between what I would like to do and what I have done. (R) _____15. I am very happy. _____16. I find beauty in some things. _____17. I always have a cheerful effect on others. _____18. I can fit in (find time for) everything I want to. _____19. I feel that I am not especially in control of my life. (R) _____20. I feel able to take anything on. _____21. I feel fully mentally alert. _____22. I often experience joy and elation. _____23. I dont find it easy to make decisions. (R) _____24. I dont have a particular sense of meaning and purpose in my life.(R)_ 25. I feel I have a great deal of energy. _____26. I usually have a good influence on events. _____27. I dont have fun with other people. (R) _____28. I dont feel particularly healthy. (R) _____29. I dont have particularly happy memories of the past. (R) _____Calculate your scoreStep 1. Items marked (R) should be scored in reverse:For example, if you gave yourself a 1, cross it out and change it to a 6.Change 2 to a 5Change 3 to a 4Change 4 to a 3Change 5 to a 2Change 6 to a 1Step 2. Add the numbers for all 29 questions. (Use the converted numbers for the 12 items that arereverse scored.)Step 3. Divide by 29. So your happiness score = the total (from step 2) divided by 29.Your Happiness Score: ____(Unhappiest score 1/Happiest score 6)World Happiness Report-2013Happiest Countries in the world- Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Canada, Sweden. USA 11th,and UAE 28th.

Happiest profession in the world-Clergyman, Actor, Architect , Firefighter, Executive managers. Physician comes 7th.

UK and Bhutan are the only countries which measures GNH(Gross National Happiness).

Happiest Person in the world- Mathieu Ricard (French Scientist)

Neuroscientist Richard Davidson wired up his skull with 256 sensors at the University of Wisconsin .The scans showed that when meditating,Ricard's brain produces a level of gamma waves - 'never reported before in the neuroscience literature.The scans also showed excessive activity in his brain's left prefrontal cortex compared to its right counterpart, giving him an abnormally large capacity for happiness and a reduced propensity towards negativity.

World Happiest Photograph-Alfred Eisenstaedt(1950)

Factors Influencing HappinessGenes-GeneticsSocial interaction-SocietyMoney-WealthReligion-FaithDisease-HealthFood- DietLife style

Chemicals and Centre- HappinessThe Neurochemicals of Happiness- Serotonin---Mood Molecule Oxytocin ---Bonding Molecule Dopamine---Reward molecule Endorphins---Pleasure moleculeThe Neurocentres for Happiness-Left Orbitofrontal cortex/ Anterior cingulate gyrus /Hippocampus.Factors Influencing HappinessGenes-GeneticsSocial interaction-SocietyMoney-WealthReligion-FaithDisease-HealthFood- Diet Life style

Genes and HappinessJust like height, our happiness set point is also genetically predetermined.The Genetic contribution is 50% (Tellegen, A.et. el, 1988, p.1035)Multiple Genes involved.(Molecular Genetics and Subjective wellbeing,Meike Bartels et,al April 2013,VU University Amsterdam).

One of the gene, known as 5-HTTLPR(serotonin transporter gene), and it seems like length is the key variant.(E. fox, et. Biol Psychiatry. Dec 1, 2011; 70(11): 10491054). Longer the length of Genemore reported life satisfaction.(Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics 2012, Vol. 5, No. 4, 193211)

Social relationship and HappinessLow social interaction can be as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and is twice as bad for health as obesity. Stillmann et al 2009Happiness is contagious-many emotions can pulse through social networks.And unlike the flu, happiness! we can spread and enjoy.

Having a happy friend who lives within a mile of you,appears to increase the probability that you will be happy as well by 25%.

Social relationship and Happiness-ContdProf James and Prof Christakis Studied the data of 5,000 people over 20 years and found that happiness benefits other people through three degrees of connection. Similar effects were seen for the spread of happiness between nextdoor neighbors, siblings that live nearby, and spousesso that good feelings continue to move from person to person, even when theres no longer a direct connection to the primary happy person.Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network:longitudinal analysis over 20 years in the Framingham Heart Study,UCLA & Harward medical school.BMJ 2008,James H Fowler,Nicholas A Christakis.

Social relationship and Happiness-ContdThe Harvard Grant study followed 268 men from there college life in the 1930s up to there old age(follow up of around 75 years), and it found that social relationships with family and friends mattered more than anything else, for health, success and happiness in life.

Money and HappinessBenchmark annual income for happiness---$75,000.Study from Princeton University's 2006(Woodrow Wilson School-New Jersey/USA)

The lower a person's annual income falls below the benchmark, the unhappier he or she feels. But no matter how much more than $75,000 annually people make, they don't report any greater degree of happiness.

Money and Happiness-ContdHappiness is also related to financial relativity. Depends on the income of colleagues and neighbors.

Spend money on experiences instead of things. Studies shows people report feeling happier when they spend their money on experiences rather than objects.

Howell, Ryan T., Pchelin, Paulina. The Hidden Cost of Value-seeking: People do not Accurately Forecast the Economic Benefits of Experiential Purchases. Journal of Positive Psychology. 2014.San Francisco State University).

Religion and HappinessReligious people are happier than non-religious people.Okulicz-Kozaryn, A. (2010). Religiosity and life satisfaction across nations. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 13, 155-169.

Religion promote happiness as it gives people a sense of purpose and order and serves as a resource for coping with negative life experiences and fear of death.

Number of studies seem to suggest that one of the ingredient in religion that provides happiness is social connectedness.Salsman, J. M., Brown, T. L., Brechting, E. H., & Carlson, C. R. (2005). The link between religion and spirituality and psychological adjustment: The mediating role of optimism and social support. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31, 522535.

Diseases and HappinessThe association between health status and happiness depends greatly on the degree to which disease disrupts daily functioning.

The Study surveyed 383 older adults recruited from the practices of primary care doctors in Alabama.After taking into consideration other factors associated with happiness, such as economic status, poor health was closely linked to unhappiness only in people who reported that their health status interfered with their daily lives activity.

Daily Functioning, Health Status, and Happiness in Older Adults. Dr Erik Angner J Happiness Studies, October 2012,Virginia, USA.

Diseases and Happiness-ContdStudies suggest that even people with life-threatening diseases, such as cancer, or life-altering disabilities ---- are often just as happy as those in good health.

Resetting the set point study-People who suffered paralysis following Spinal cord injury