Can Faking it Bring You Happiness?

maskWe’ve been told that we can make ourselves happy and joyful by “faking” it until it becomes real.

A recent study published in Psychological Science found just the opposite to be true, at least when it comes to wearing fake designer sunglasses.

People wear fake designer items to build their self-esteem and appear affluent. This study showed that people wearing fake designer sunglasses not only feel less authentic but also influenced their judgment of other people’s unethical behavior.

The researchers, Gino, Norton, and Ariely, conducted four experiments in which participants wore purportedly fake or authentically branded sunglasses. The subjects who were wearing fake sunglasses cheated more across multiple tasks than those wearing authentic sunglasses, leading to the conclusion that the costs of counterfeits was deception.

Of course taking steps to make yourself feel happier is not quite the same as wearing fake sunglasses to give yourself status.

Those who support positive thinking believe that you can increase your happiness by repeating positive affirmations with conviction until you convince your own subconscious.

Positive psychology studies have found that there are many things we can do to increase our own happiness. Some of these are expressing gratitude, focusing on what is going on now rather than worrying about the future or dwelling on the past, and staying connected with supportive family and friends.

Then there are those in the mental health field who believe that repeating positive affirmations or focusing on the good in our lives, only delays us from confronting the imbalances that are causing us to be unhappy or depressed. They believe that our time would be better spent in receiving therapy or taking medication to correct the chemical imbalances.

Spiritual healers believe that our outer experience is determined by our inner beliefs, thoughts and vibrations. No matter what we do on the outside, we can’t fool our insides. They believe that everything is energy. Whatever we send out into the world in the form of energy is what we attract back to us. So, if we want to improve the outcomes in our lives we have to increase the energy vibrations we are sending out.

Throughout history we’ve been told we can alter our mood by putting on a happy face, singing in the rain and whistling in the dark.

Are we faking it when we are being proactive in creating and maintaining happiness?

What is your take on this?

Are You Making These Six Socializing Mistakes?

IMG_4088When you are fortunate enough to be on the guest list and agree to attend a social event, how you behave at the event will determine if there will more invitations in your future.

Socializing is more than just showing up. It involves interaction, communication and engagement. Before you attend your next social event, ask yourself if you make these six socializing mistakes.

Then before you head out to the event, vow to correct them.

1. Arriving empty-handed

Even if the event is not a potluck or a special celebration, it’s still a good idea to take a small gift. It does not need to be expensive nor lavish. Flowers and wine are popular, but you are not limited to these choices. A gift the hostess can enjoy after the event, such as a relaxation gift basket, is often welcomed. If you know the hostess personally, then use that knowledge to take something that will have special meaning for her.

2. Talking about yourself

You may well lead an exciting life, but a social event is not the time to announce to every attendee that you were just awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Chances are many already know that. The rest don’t care to hear it recounted. Instead, listen to the guests you meet and learn about their lives and activities.

3. Clinging to the person you came with

It’s very tempting to clutch to the arm of your date or spouse at a party or social event, especially if you don’t know anyone else in the room. But that’s no fun for your partner and is very off-putting for the other guests and hostess.

Ease your way to the food table or bar and cordially greet the most approachable person you can spot. Chit chat will do for a conversation starter. Again, resist the urge to talk about yourself, and get the other person talking about themselves instead. Getting to know others at the party will be more fun than you think.

4. Eating and drinking too much

Arriving at a party starved is not recommended. Unless the event is a sit-down dinner or a buffet, chances are the food is mainly snacks. Eat and drink moderately so that you can engage in conversation without food oozing from your mouth or your speech starting to slur.

5. Leaving without telling your hostess

Before you leave, seek out and say thank you to your hostess. There’s no need to make excuses. The hostess didn’t expect nor want you to move in.

6. Failure to follow up

Even though you said thank you in person, send a card or email to your hostess after the event. Attach copy of pictures you took since hostesses don’t always hire a photographer or remember to have someone take pictures.

Some of these tips may seem old-fashioned, but good manners, decency and courtesy never go out of style. Avoiding these six mistakes will add to your happiness and increase the likelihood that you will be invited again.