My slides for the related LessWrong Meetup with the associated video

Happiness takes efforts

  • being conscious of its mechanisms and their impact on one own level of happiness
  • counter-intuitive ones in particular
    • efforts required
    • efforts themselves might be problematic (Cf W1P1 "In the context of everyday life, do people who regularly prioritize positivity as exemplified by how they make decisions about how to organize their days, actually feel happier?")
    • importance of the social aspect (W2P1, experiment of watching pictures alone or with a friend without ANY form of communication)
      • biological underpinning of pro-sociality
        • vagus nerve
        • evolutionary need for compassion (W3P1)
          • raising offsprings
          • mate selection
          • cooperation with nonkin
        • more than just inequity aversion (W4P1)
          • sensitive for fairness, fairness and cooperation do provide pleasure
    • activated when helping others in need
    • spending money on others > spending on self (W3P2)
      • proscial spending
        • doubly wrong about
          • self vs prosocial
          • amount, 5$ vs $20)
    • prosocial at birth (W3P3)
      • prelinguistic and just-linguistic children will help a stranger
    • the biased way to recall experiences (W1P3 e.g. peak-end evaluation )
    • parentings, makes happier and sadder moments more intense (W2P2)
  • plenty of research on the different expectations
    • social links
    • income
    • life problems with grossly overestimated impact
  • where is it actually efficient to focus efforts (W1P2)
    • 50% bio : genetically determined set point of happiness
    • 10% context i.e. important life situation (happens to people) : happiness-relevant circumstancial factors
    • 40% activities (people acts) : happiness related activities and practices


  • SAVE framework of Prosociality (W2P3)
    • M x (D x (1 +Bself) + K x Brecipient - Cinaction) > Caction
      • M : social momentum for acting prosocially [0 to infinity]
      • Bself : perceived benefits of acting prosocially
      • D : default, biases and perceptions a person carries regarding prosociallity
      • Brecipient : perceived benefits to the recipient
      • K : giver biases and perceptions of the recipient
      • Caction : cost of action
      • Cinaction : cost of inaction, including perception from others
  • emotion taxonomies
    • and their imperfections, e.g. W3P1

Own results

  • 3 Good Things
    • 21 days, 63 messages
      • 45 social
      • 12 efficiency
      • 08 reliability (arguably social)
      • 06 abstract/knowledge
      • 03 getting things done (arguably efficiency)
  • (self-reported improvement cf the website)
  • problems : self-reported, risk of placebo, risk of decrease over time, etc

Most interesting concepts

  • hedonic treadmill
    • leading to the need of constant change
      • even when it is about helping others
  • (cf MOOCs/TheScienceOfHappiness)

sense making or how to "ordonize" events lower impredictability hence the intensity of the emotional, could be a mechanism of the hedonistic treadmill

AFFECTIVE FORECASTING p373 para1 on emotional evanescence

Overall should update the new concept page

cf own new concepts page Seedea:Content/Newconcepts?action=source (no mention of the hedonistic treadmill, instead see Economy WithoutNotesMarch13 and initially WithoutNotesOctober10

and definitions i.e. Affective forecasting, Impact bias,Set point theory, Hedonic adaptation (aka the "hedonic treadmill") and Prioritizing positivity

add I:EconomicalSystem/EconomicalSystem and Xmaswishlist to expected value with affective forecasting damping purchase scheduling

add notes on The Happiness of Pursuit

Review 3 Good Things daily practice

Most interesting studies

  • (scan through the syllabus again)
  • children experiment on helping strangers
  • dictator game


Recommended movies

See also

Meetup presentation

Happiness Practices

Recorded in I:Happiness/Happiness

  1. Three Good Things (15min/day)
    • writing down daily 3 good things that happened to you with title, long description and feeling then
  2. Active Listening (1h/week)
    • listen fully to someone's current intimate situation by asking question to insure best comprehension
  3. Random Acts of Kindness (>1h/day/week)
    • during one day do at least 5 different kind things to relatives or strangers, the more diverse the better
  4. Eight Essentials When Forgiving
    • whom/commitment/seek peace and understanding/right perspective/stress management/give up demands/look for other positive goals/live your own good life/amend your memories
  5. Mindfulness
    • Mindful Breathing (5min)
    • Body Scan Meditation (5min)
    • Loving Kindness Meditation (15min)
  6. Self-Compassionate Letter (15min/week)
    • imagine somebody compassionate towards you/consider that you are not alone having difficulties/consider what lead to such difficulties/compassionately ask yourself how can the situation be improve/write it down, re-read later
  7. Best Possible Self (15min/day)
    • creatively and imaginatively describe in vivid details how your best possible situation would be in few years

Overall prioritizing positivity, i.e. organizing one's calendar to incorporate such practices before they are needed.

  1. Gratitude Letter (1h/every six weeks)
    • writing a letter to someone to whom you are deeply grateful (>15min)
    • reading the letter to them, ideally in person (>30min)

Online resources

Resulting own related ideas

  • start date: September 2015
  • end date: November 2015
  • platform : EdX
  • status : Finished