I just finished a very interesting short book, Thanks!, by Robert Emmons, one of the leading experts on gratitude.
However, I found one of his most interesting observations to be, not about gratitude, but about the connection between happiness and pain.
It’s well known that physical damage doesn’t automatically result in a certain amount of pain. Other factors influence how much pain we feel.
So it turns out that, along with lots of other reasons to be happy, being happy alleviates the severity of pain.
Emmons explains that, because he knows this, he does three things before going to the dentist:
he takes two aspirin
he avoids caffeine for four hours before his appointment
he tries to put himself in a good mood.
Feeling blue heightens feelings of pain and boosts arousal levels, while feeling cheerier makes it easier to withstand pain.
I can’t say I’m actually looking forward to going to the dentist or some other painful appointment, but I’m looking forward to having an opportunity to test out this strategy.
Life Learning Today is a terrific site, with a treasure trove of information on all sorts of useful subjects.
New to the Happiness Project? Consider subscribing to my RSS feed: Subscribe to this blog’s feed. Or sign up to get email updates in the box at the top righthand corner.
If you’re starting your own happiness project, please join the Happiness Project Group on Facebook to swap ideas. It’s easy; it’s free.