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This Skill We Learned In Childhood Determines Our Happiness In Life, Study Finds

This Skill We Learned In Childhood Determines Our Happiness In Life, Study Finds

Storytelling is one of the oldest ways of human expression, dating back to ancient times. Considering that fact, it’s no wonder that storytelling skills can be of great value even today. According to a research[1] by John Donahue from University of North Carolina and Melanie Green from University at Buffalo, storytelling abilities have an influence on women when choosing long-term partners. The research consists of three studies conducted on 388 undergraduate students (55% women) where they were asked to rate the attractiveness of potential partners whose picture they were shown while providing information about their storytelling skills at the same time. It appears that one of the qualities women look for in long-term partners is the ability to tell a good story.  Why is storytelling so important?

Good story can go a long way in improving relationships

When you are in a long-term relationship, you tend to stop telling stories and end up exchanging ordinary small talks. That can lead to the extinction of all that is romantic, but you want to keep the spark burning. Is there a better way to bond than over telling stories about the moments you shared together? It will help you relive the great moments and remind you why you fell for each other.

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When you hit the rocks in your relationship, telling stories can help resolve the conflict. By retelling your story, it helps you observe it from a different angle and have a better grasp on what has happened. If couples can tell their individual perspectives on a certain event, and then make it into a single story, it helps them create a bond and overcome the difficulties.

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Storytelling can empower both speaker and the listener

It is quite an intimate experience when you share your story with someone. Thus getting recognition from the listener in terms of understanding what you’ve gone through is empowering. In return, sharing your emotions weaved into intimate stories provides an insight to the listener into your real self, which empowers the listener. It creates a sense of mutual trust and understanding.

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How you tell your story can impact your health

When something unexpected or traumatic happens, you try to make sense of it. By retelling your story it will help you cope with it and feel less traumatized each time you share it. Telling your story starts the healing process and it sets you on the path of overcoming the trauma.

Furthermore, how you approach your personal narratives can help you become a happier person. The way you construct your personal story helps you come to terms with your true self, thus it is important to always take a positive approach in telling your story. Even when you ponder about some mistakes you’ve made, approach them in your story as a learning experience rather than a negative experience. By presenting yourself in a positive light, you will be able to envision a positive future and start the road to reach it.

How you can improve your storytelling skills

  • Include real emotions: The best way to capture someone’s attention is to include the real emotions, even if the main narrative is constructed around an unrealistic event. Capturing real emotions will help listeners feel included in the story, and empathize.
  • Follow the basic structure: Your story needs to be crafted so as to have an introductory beginning, a middle with some plot twist, and an end where all the issues resolve and we learn a certain lesson. It also needs to communicate a unique voice.
  • Reminisce the past and look forward to the future: Bring out the great memories you shared with your partner to revive the connection. Also, tell stories about the future events you wish to take place, picturing the great moments you want to share together, and it will help you visualize the direction you want to go in.
  • Practice: As with anything, practice makes perfect. Read a lot to get the ideas from the best.
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Reference

[1]http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/pere.12120/abstract;jsessionid=96F4395E15F191C949C2741AEB01D644.f04t04

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Last Updated on December 16, 2018

12 Simple Ways You Can Build A Positive Attitude

12 Simple Ways You Can Build A Positive Attitude

We all look for a better and happier life, but somehow we realize it’s our attitude that makes it hard to lead the life we want. How can we build a positive attitude? Grant Mathews has listed out the things (from the easiest to the hardest) we can do to cultivate this attitude on Quora:

1. Listen to good music.

Music definitely improves your mood, and it’s a really simple thing to do.

2. Don’t watch television passively.

Studies have shown that people who watch TV less are happier, which leads me to my next point…

3. Don’t do anything passively.

Whenever I do something, I like to ask myself if, at the end of the day, I would be content saying that I had spent time doing it. (This is why I block sites I find myself wasting too much time on. I enjoy them, but they’re just not worth it when I could be learning something new, or working on projects I care about.)

Time is incredibly valuable.

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4. Be aware of negativity

A community that considers itself intelligent tends to be negativity because criticizing is seen as a signaling mechanism to indicate that you’re more intelligent than the person you corrected. This was irrationally frustrating for me – it’s one of those things you’ll stay up all night to think about.

5. Make time to be alone.

I initially said “take time just to be alone.” I changed it because if you don’t ensure you can take a break, you’ll surely be interrupted.

Being with other people is something you can do to make you happy, but I don’t include it in this list because nearly everyone finds time to talk with friends. On the other hand, spending time just with yourself is almost considered a taboo.

Take some time to figure out who you are.

6. Exercise.

This is the best way to improve your immediate happiness.

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Exercise probably makes you happy. Try and go on a run. You’ll hate yourself while doing it, but the gratification that you get towards the end vastly outweighs the frustration of the first few attempts. I can’t say enough good things about exercise.

Exercising is also fantastic because it gives you time alone.

7. Have projects.

Having a goal, and moving towards it, is a key to happiness.

You have to realize though that achieving the goal is not necessarily what makes you happy – it’s the process. When I write music, I write it because writing is inherently enjoyable, not because I want to get popular (as if!).

8. Take time to do the things you enjoy.

That’s very general, so let me give you a good example.

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One of the things that has really changed my life was finding small communities centered around activities I enjoy. For instance, I like writing music, so I’m part of a community that meets up to write a song for an hour every week. I love the community. I’ve also written a song every week, 37 weeks in a row, which has gradually moved me towards larger goals and makes me feel very satisfied.

9. Change your definition of happiness.

Another reason I think I’m more happy than other people is because my definition of happiness is a lot more relaxed than most people’s. I don’t seek for some sort of constant euphoria; I don’t think it’s possible to live like that. My happiness is closer to stability.

10. Ignore things that don’t make you happy.

I get varying reactions to this one.

The argument goes “if something is making you unhappy, then you should find out why and improve it, not ignore it.” If you can do that, great. But on the other hand, there’s no reason to mope about a bad score on a test.

There’s another counterargument: perhaps you’re moping because your brain is trying to work out how to improve. In fact, this is the key purpose of depression: Depression’s Upside – NYTimes.com

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I can think of examples that go both ways. I remember, for instance, when I was debating a year or two ago and my partner and I would lose a round, I would mull over what we had done wrong for a long time. In that way, I got immensely better at debate (and public speaking in general – did you know debate has amazing effects on your public speaking ability? But now I really digress).

On the other hand, there’s no way that mulling over how dumb you were for missing that +x term on the left hand side will make you better at math. So stop worrying about it, and go practice math instead.

11. Find a way to measure your progress, and then measure it.

Video games are addictive for a reason: filling up an experience bar and making it to the next level is immensely satisfying. I think that it would be really cool if we could apply this concept to the real world.

I put this near the bottom of the list because, unfortunately, this hasn’t been done too often in the real world – startup idea, anyone? So you would have to do it yourself, which is difficult when you don’t even know how much you’ve progressed.

For a while, I kept a log of the runs I had taken, and my average speed. It was really cool to see my improvement over the weeks. (Also, I was exercising. Combining the two was fantastic for boosting happiness.)

12. Realize that happiness is an evolutionary reward, not an objective truth.

It’s easy to see that this is correct, but this is at the bottom of the list for a reason.

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