Catherine Sanderson - Smile, be happy and live longer?


Manage episode 229558133 series 2287089
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A simple smile, a friendly gesture or an offer of help and friendship, could help us all live longer, healthier lives. International Day of Happiness (March 20) is celebrated by the United Nations as a way to recognize the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world. There is scientific data that suggests people who embrace the benefits of a positive attitude, are rewarded with a greater sense of well-being. Catherine Sanderson is a psychologist and professor in Life Sciences at Amherst College in Massachusetts. In her book, The Positive Shift: Mastering Mindset to Improve Happiness, Health, and Longevity, Dr. Sanderson explores the science behind our mindset, and how, she says, anyone can learn to adopt a more positive outlook. In this LLAMA podcast interview, with Peter Bowes, Dr. Sanderson explains how kindness, gratitude and genuine friendships can help promote better physical and mental health.
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In this interview we explore:

  • Why someone who is not “naturally happy” has written a book about happiness?
  • What does it mean to be happy?
  • Are we genetically programmed to be either happy or more melancholy in our demeanor?
  • Does having stress and adversity in life help, ultimately, promote happiness?
  • What if bad things happen?
  • What does MRI data showing levels of "brain activation" tell us?
  • Why do our brains react differently when we’re surrounded by nature?
  • How much control do we have over our mindset?
  • Do we spend too little time thinking about and practicing happiness?
  • How powerful is a smile?
  • How a positive attitude can make us feel better and better tolerate adverse experiences.
  • Why are so many people keeping gratitude journals?
  • Bedtime rituals to help us sleep better.
  • Does social media make us feel less happy?
  • Why Dr. Sanderson says “relationships are the number one best predictor of our happiness."
  • Is happiness contagious?
  • Why changing our mindset is not easy.
  • Scientific data that supports the idea that happier people live longer.
  • Why does volunteering make up happier?

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