5 Things That Should Increase Happiness but Usually Don’t

5 Things That Should Increase Happiness but Usually Don’t

Employee happiness is declining even though autonomy, pay, and time off are increasing.

Many large companies increased investment in employees by 20% through the COVID years. At the same time the number of people who dread work has risen by 11% since 2020. (WSJ)

The number one factor in happiness is social connection. Image of a cat and dog facing down.

Image by Gisela Merkuur from Pixabay

5 Things that should increase happiness but usually don’t:

  1. Less stress leads to boredom, not happiness.
  2. Minimum effort doesn’t elevate mood. People who do as little as possible end up resentful.
  3. Raises and promotions give temporary bumps in mood. The pursuit of advancement means you’re always looking for the next thing. (Hedonic Treadmill)
  4. Working at home means you can’t escape work. Team members feel unsupported and disconnected.
  5. Self-care makes people self-centered when it is the goal of life.

Choose happiness: happiness is experienced directly but pursued indirectly. Image of a happy seal.

4 ways to improve well-being:

#1. Talk to people.

The #1 factor in personal happiness is social connection. That’s why working from home has a dark side.

  1. Talk to people face-to-face.
  2. Learn about people.
  3. Show concern for people.
  4. Tell people about yourself.

Even introverts are happier when they force themselves to talk to people.

#2. Be otherish.

The “get” life impoverishes. The “give” life enriches.

Well-being is more about giving yourself than finding yourself. Find yourself so you can give yourself away.

Self-care is necessary to be otherish because serving requires energy.

“You don’t become happy by pursuing happiness. You become happy by living a life that means something.” Harold S. Kushner

#3. Enjoy small stuff.

The hedonic treadmill sucks happiness out of life because hopes for more belittle what you have. Enjoy the taste of coffee. A walk isn’t a chore, it’s a delight.

Presence is paying attention to what you’re doing now.

#4. Don’t worry about happiness so much.

The aggressive pursuit of positive emotion makes people miserable. Those who most value positive emotion experience it the least.

What improves well-being?

What do we believe increases well-being but doesn’t?

Still curious:

How to Find Happiness in Leadership

A Surprising Thing You Can Do for Yourself

The Good Life: Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness

Humility and self-reflection strengthen leaders for the battle. Click here to check out, The Vagrant: The Inner Journey of Leadership. It’s a wonderful tool for leaders facing challenges.

Like this:

Like Loading…

Continue reading

The Belief That Cuts Dementia Risk In Half

The simple belief about old age that halves your dementia risk.

The simple belief about old age that halves your dementia risk.

Having a positive attitude towards ageing can half the risk of developing dementia, research finds.

People with the strongest genetic risk factor for depression — the ε4 variant of the APOE gene — were 49.8 percent less likely to develop the disease compared to those with a negative view of ageing.

For those without the genetic risk factor, those with positive beliefs about ageing had a 43.6 percent lower chance of developing dementia.

Professor Becca Levy, the study’s first author, said:

“We found that positive age beliefs can reduce the risk of one of the most established genetic risk factors of dementia.

This makes a case for implementing a public health campaign against ageism, which is a source of negative age beliefs.”

The study followed 4,765 people with an average age of 72 over four years — none of them had dementia at the start of the study.

All were asked about their attitudes towards ageing.

For example, they were asked how much they agreed with statements like “The older I get, the more useless I feel”.

Among those testing positive for high genetic risk, 6.1% with more negative attitudes towards ageing developed dementia.

In comparison, only 2.7 percent of people with a positive attitude towards ageing developed dementia.

Research has shown that people’s attitudes towards ageing can be changed, the authors write:

“Short- and long-term randomized controlled interventions conducted with older participants have shown that positive age beliefs can be bolstered and negative age beliefs can be mitigated with corresponding changes in cognitive and physical performance.”

Thinking positively about ageing may help to reduce the built up of damaging proteins in the brain linked to dementia.

The study’s authors write:

“The positive age beliefs of older individuals appear to provide a means of coping with exposure to ageism which is prevalent in society.

It has been shown that older participants in a positive-age-belief intervention interpreted their environment in a more age-friendly way.

The reduction of stress by positive age beliefs could potentially contribute to a lower incidence of dementia among older individuals in general and specifically among those with APOE ε4.”

The study was published in the journal PLoS One (Levy et al., 2018).

Hello, and welcome to PsyBlog. Thanks for dropping by.

This site is all about scientific research into how the mind works.

It’s mostly written by psychologist and author, Dr Jeremy Dean.

I try to dig up fascinating studies that tell us something about what it means to be human.

You can get free email updates with more articles like this from PsyBlog by clicking here.

Author: Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in…

Keep reading here

What I Wish People Told Me About How To Edit WordPress Sites

One of the major advantages of WordPress is how easy it is to use. And trust me—I know it looks a little daunting at first. But it is, in fact, easy to use. There’s even a lot hiding under the hood that can make an already simple platform even easier.

I’ve published thousands of WordPress pages and posts across dozens of sites. When publishing that kind of volume, you have to be aware of what you’re doing. Here’s the most helpful tips about editing WordPress sites I’ve learned during my journey.

The Basics of Editing in WordPress

WordPress is a simple system. First, it separates your content into two types: pages and posts. Pages are for static information about your site, such as your company’s story. Posts are for more ephemeral and dynamic content, like blog articles.

Whether you’re editing a page or a post, you’ll use the block editor. The block editor separates your content into sections, such as a paragraph of text, an image, a heading, and then another paragraph of text.

WordPress WordPress

The Block Editor of WordPress is also what’s known as a WYSIWYG editor: “What You See is What You Get.” The great thing about a WYSIWYG editor is that you don’t need to know any code to use it. You just have to use the visual editor to format your text—a lot like using Microsoft Word or Google Docs.

But the easiest way to learn WordPress is to work directly in it. Over time, you’ll learn more tips and tricks and editing will become second nature.


Continue reading

Navigating the Mental Minefield: A Guide for Leaders

What are the cognitive challenges leaders at the highest levels face?

Leadership, especially at the C-level, is a journey of high-stakes decisions and complex challenges. The intensity of this role often exposes leaders to cognitive biases—subtle yet profound thinking errors that can misguide decisions and strategies. While these biases can affect anyone, thinking mistakes made by leaders often have a more severe impact.

Understanding and mitigating these biases is key. In this article, I’ll explain five of the most common cognitive biases that affect C-level executives, illustrate them with real-world examples, and offer pragmatic strategies to counteract their effects.

Confirmation Bias: The Echo Chamber Effect

The Trap: Leaders often gravitate toward information that aligns with their pre-existing beliefs, inadvertently overlooking contradictory and important evidence.

In Practice: A CEO convinced that remote work hampers productivity may only acknowledge studies supporting this view, while ignoring evidence to the contrary.


Pursue Contradictory Evidence: Actively seek out information that challenges your beliefs.
Embrace Diverse Opinions: Consult individuals with different perspectives, including team members and external advisors.
Separate Beliefs from Identity: Understand that being proven wrong is an opportunity for growth, not a personal failure.

Overconfidence: The Illusion of Certainty

The Trap: Executives often overestimate their knowledge and predictive abilities, overlooking potential uncertainties and risks.

In Practice: A CFO might confidently project revenue figures while neglecting market uncertainties and potential disruptions.


Conduct Reality Checks: Regularly compare predictions with actual outcomes to ground your expectations.
Explore Multiple Scenarios: Conduct sensitivity analyses to understand different possible outcomes.
Solicit External Insights: Engage experts and team members to provide fresh perspectives and challenge assumptions.

Sunk Cost Fallacy: The Costly Commitment

The Trap: Leaders sometimes persist with initiatives due to past investments, regardless of current or future viability.

In Practice: A CEO might insist on continuing an unprofitable venture simply because substantial resources have already been invested.


Implement Regular Audits: Continuously assess the return on investment of ongoing projects.
Be Ready to Pivot: Embrace the courage to discontinue projects when necessary.
Focus on Future Gains: Shift attention from sunk costs to potential opportunities that could arise from reallocating resources.

Groupthink: The Consensus Conundrum

The Trap: The desire for group harmony can lead to unchallenged decision-making and potentially flawed outcomes.

In Practice: Executives in a board meeting might hastily agree to a strategy to avoid conflict, neglecting a thorough risk assessment.


Assign a Devil’s Advocate: This individual will critically question group decisions.
Promote Anonymous Input: Use anonymity to encourage genuine opinions.
Foster Healthy Debate: Cultivate an environment where diverse viewpoints are valued and encouraged.

Halo Effect: The Deceptive Glow

The Trap: An overall positive impression of an individual or organization can overshadow objective assessment of their true capabilities.

In Practice: Business books often use successful companies as examples of “what to do” ignoring whether the company did those things to become successful or because once they were successful they decided to do those things.


Adopt Objective Evaluation Metrics: Utilize clear, measurable criteria for performance assessment.
Invite Independent Reviews: Consider external evaluations…

Continue reading

OCD Stems From Difficulties Dealing With Uncertainty (M)

People with OCD like things to be clean, orderly and correct, often to an extreme degree, but the reason is not ‘fussiness’.

People with OCD like things to be clean, orderly and correct, often to an extreme degree, but the reason is not ‘fussiness’.

Author: Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks. View all posts by Jeremy Dean

Keep reading here

How to Upload a Theme in WordPress the Dead Simple Way

Want to make your WordPress site look great? WordPress has a variety of methods you can use to theme your site, from free themes that you can install with a few clicks to premium themes that you can purchase directly from developers.

But if you purchase a premium theme (or get a custom theme made), you must upload that theme to WordPress before using it.

Today, we’ll cover every method you can use to upload and activate a theme: one-click free installs, .zip file uploads, and FTP uploads.

How to Install a Free WordPress Theme

Every great WordPress site starts with finding a great WordPress host and a great theme. The easiest way to get started is to install a free WordPress theme. Themes are accessible via the WP Admin dashboard. As of 2023, there are nearly six thousand themes that you can choose from.

1. Open your WP Admin Dashboard

Your first step is to log into the administrative section of WordPress, otherwise known as the WP Admin Dashboard.

You’ll usually find your dashboard at [your site]/wp-admin. Use the username and password that you set when creating your site. All your WordPress administration will happen in the WP Admin Dashboard, from creating your posts and pages to managing and installing your themes.

WordPress Admin Dashboard. WordPress Admin Dashboard.

2. Search for a Theme

Once you’re in your dashboard, navigate to Appearance -> Themes. This is where you’ll see all the themes you’ve already installed. If you just created your WordPress site, you’ll only see a few default themes, such as Twenty Twenty-Two and Twenty Twenty-Three.

Click on the Add New button to start looking for a new WordPress theme.

Continue reading

Mastering The Laws of Marketing in Madness

Navigating through the world of business can be chaotic. At the time of this publication in November 2023, global economic growth is expected to remain weak for an undefined amount of time.

However, certain rules of marketing remain steadfast to guide businesses towards success in any environment. These universal laws are the anchors that keep a business steady, helping it thrive amidst uncertainty and change.

In this guide, we’ll explore three laws that have proven to be the cornerstones of successful marketing. These are practical, tried-and-tested approaches that have empowered businesses to overcome challenges and flourish, regardless of external conditions. By mastering these principles, businesses can turn adversities into opportunities, ensuring growth and resilience in any market landscape. Let’s uncover these essential laws that pave the way to success in the unpredictable world of business marketing. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to integrate these insights into your career. Follow the implementation steps!

Law 1: Success in Marketing is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Navigating the tumultuous seas of digital marketing necessitates a steadfast ship, fortified by a strategic long-term vision. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Take Apple, for instance. The late ’90s saw them on the brink of bankruptcy. Instead of grasping at quick, temporary fixes, Apple anchored themselves in a long-term vision. A vision that didn’t just stop at survival, but aimed for revolutionary contributions, resulting in groundbreaking products like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad.

In a landscape where immediate gains often allure businesses, it’s essential to remember that these are transient. A focus merely on the immediate returns leaves businesses scurrying on a hamster wheel, chasing after fleeting successes, but never really moving forward.

Content Marketing CertificationContent Marketing Certification

Want to get certified in Content Marketing?

Leverage the tools and channels to predictably and profitably drive awareness, leads, sales, and referrals—EVERYTHING you need to know to become a true master of digital marketing.​ Click Here

A long-term vision, however, acts as the north star, guiding businesses through immediate challenges while ensuring sustainable success and consistent growth over time.

Consider This Analogy: 

Building a business is like growing a tree. Initially, it requires nurturing, patience, and consistent care. But with time, the tree grows, becoming strong and robust, offering shade and fruits—transforming the landscape. The same goes for business. A vision, perseverance, and a long-term strategy are the nutrients that allow it to flourish, creating a sustainable presence in the market.

Implementation Steps: 

  • Begin by planning a content calendar focused on delivering consistent value over the next six months. 
  • Ensure regular reviews and necessary adjustments to your long-term goals, keeping pace with evolving market trends and demands. 
  • And don’t forget the foundation—invest in robust systems and ongoing training, laying down strong roots for sustainable success in the ever-changing digital marketing landscape.

Law 2: Survey, Listen, and Serve

Effective marketing hinges on…

Continue reading here

16 Ways to Give Constructive Feedback Like a Human

16 Ways to Give Constructive Feedback Like a Human

Constructive feedback is a gift few leaders enjoy giving. Done carelessly it quenches enthusiasm.

Before feedback people struggle. After constructive feedback people feel confident.

Successful feedback sharpens someone’s axe.

Constructive feedback is a gift. Image of a person offering a rose as a gift.

16 ways to give constructive feedback:

  1. Build trusting relationships. Don’t show up to hammer people and saunter back to your easy chair like you’ve done something spectacular. Do people believe you care about them?
  2. Speak to career goals. When you don’t know their goals, the first step is to learn them.
  3. Always seek to advantage others. There is no exception to this rule.
  4. Use the lens of career goals when explaining negative behaviors. “Interrupting people in meetings doesn’t improve your communication skills.”
  5. Encourage more than correct.
  6. Build on strengths.
  7. Focus on one concern. Old habits are like gum on your shoe. We change slowly.
  8. Express issues in one or two sentences. The more you talk the worse it is. “I notice (fill in the blank with specific behaviors.)
  9. Give examples. “When you….”
  10. Relax. You’re here to help.
  11. Speak directly and with kindness.
  12. Provide adequate time and privacy.
  13. Avoid but. “You’re doing a great job, BUT…” Don’t dilute affirmation with correction.
  14. Don’t interpret intentions or motivations. Ask about them. “What are you trying to accomplish when you…?”
  15. Collaborate on solutions and develop a path forward. Spend more time talking about solutions than problems.
  16. Follow-up with progress reports.

Feedback that works begins with positive intention. Image of a person helping someone over a wall.

4 tips:

Optimism is essential when giving constructive feedback.

Avoid giving feedback until you believe growth is possible.

If growth isn’t possible, redesign their job or manage them out.

Sit on the same side of the table, when possible.

What have you learned about giving constructive feedback?

What do leaders do wrong when giving feedback?

Still curious:

Feedback: Solving the Most Common Failure in Leadership

3 Ways to Give Feedback that Works

Humility and self-reflection strengthen leaders for the battle. Click here to check out, The Vagrant: The Inner Journey of Leadership. It’s a wonderful tool for leaders facing challenges.

Like this:

Like Loading…

Continue reading

The Type Of Dietary Fats That Damage Your Memory

A study shows that “good” or healthy fats and “bad” fats affect brain cells in different ways.

A study shows that “good” or healthy fats and “bad” fats affect brain cells in different ways.

Diets rich in saturated fat and or refined carbohydrates are linked to neurodegenerative disorders, neuroinflammation, and cognitive dysfunction.

In contrast, diets rich in polyunsaturated fats such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids may have neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects.

A study shows that “good” or healthy fats and “bad” fats affect brain cells in different ways.

The research suggests that high-fat diets will reduce polyunsaturated fatty acids and increase saturated fatty acids in the hippocampus.

The hippocampus is part of the brain important for the formation of new memories and learning processes.

The finding may explain the connection between high-fat foods and memory impairment, especially in older people.

Moreover, the study found that omega-3 DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) has the ability to reduce the negative effect of high fat foods-induced inflammation in brain cells.

Previously they showed that eating highly processed foods was linked to higher levels of inflammation in the brain accompanied with memory loss, but DHA supplements averted the issue.

DHA can lower inflammation by acting directly on microglia in response to issues such as traumatic brain injury, neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s, and brain infections.

Microglia are types of immune cells that are involved in brain development, and inflammatory responses to brain injury.

Dr Ruth Barrientos, the study’s senior author, said:

“The cool thing about this paper is that for the first time, we’re really starting to tease these things apart by cell type.

Our lab and others have often looked at the whole tissue of the hippocampus to observe the brain’s memory-related response to a high-fat diet.

But we’ve been curious about which cell types are more or less affected by these saturated fatty acids, and this is our first foray into determining that.”

DHA protects cells

For this study, microglia cells from animal tissue were taken and developed in the laboratory.

Then these microglia models were exposed to palmitic acid, the most common saturated fat in foods such as shortening, pork, beef, lard, palm oil, and cocoa butter.

The results revealed that palmitic acid caused changes in gene expression involved in the inflammatory response.

However, DHA treatment completely prevented or partially lowered alterations and so protected cells against inflammation.

Dr Michael Butler, the study’s first author, said:

“Previous work has shown that DHA is protective in the brain and that palmitic acid has been detrimental to brain cells, but this is the first time we’ve looked at how DHA can directly protect against the effects of palmitic acid in those microglia, and we see that there is a strong protective effect.

The protective effects of DHA might, in this context, be restricted to effects on gene expression related to the pro-inflammatory response as opposed to the metabolic deficits that the saturated fat also induced.”


About the author

Keep reading here

Yes, You Can Change Your WordPress Username

WordPress doesn’t make it easy to change your WordPress username. But it is possible.

There’s no built-in feature for changing a WordPress username. In part, this is because WordPress doesn’t want you to. Changing your username incorrectly could lead to you being locked out of your website.

Still, there are reasons you could want to change your WordPress username. Common reasons you could want to change your username include:

  • A malicious user has compromised your current login information
  • Your login information is attached to a now-defunct email address
  • You are taking over the website from another person
  • Your username has information you don’t want revealed, such as your real name

Below, we’ll discuss several methods of changing your WordPress username, ranging from beginner to advanced.

Before You Get Started…

Before making any major changes to your website, it’s a good general best practice to back it up. If anything goes wrong, you can restore your information. Use a WordPress backup plugin to keep a backup of your installation.

But be aware: Login issues can be finicky. If you update just the files and content of your WordPress site, for instance, you could still be locked out of your WordPress installation and unable to restore it. Be cautious and take things slowly when changing your login information.

How to Change Your WordPress Username (Beginner Method)

To change your username with this method, you’ll create an entirely new WordPress user, transfer your privileges, and delete the account you don’t want. While this may seem circuitous, it’s the easiest and most straightforward method of changing users. This is the most recommended method because fewer things can go wrong.

1. Add a New WordPress User

Start by adding a new WordPress user. This user should…

Continue reading