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    from https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/31/harvard-professor-says-winning-20-million-lottery-wont-make-you-happy-but-heres-what-will.html

    Harvard professor says ‘winning a $20 million lottery won’t make you happier in life’—but these 4 things will
    Published Fri, May 31 2019 11:26 AM EDT
    Kyle Young, Contributor

    What makes us happy in life? It seems like a straightforward question,
    but it’s one that we find ourselves asking every day.

    There have been several possible answers as to where happiness comes
    from. One of the most debated concepts is that happiness comes from
    having more money. But Dr. Sanjiv Chopra, a professor of medicine at
    Harvard Medical School, disagrees.

    “Winning a $20 million lottery ticket won’t make you happier. Research
    has shown that after one year, lottery winners go back to their
    baseline. Some are even less happy, ” he said in a TED Talk earlier this year.

    “A few probably spent their money on a big mansion or a fancy car. Maybe
    they spent it all on gambling. But even so, at the end of three months,
    it’s just a house, it’s just a nice car. You get used to it,” says Chopra, who has written a number of books about happiness. He calls this phenomenon hedonic adaptation, which is a concept that refers to
    people’s general tendency to return to a set level of happiness despite life’s ups and downs.

    In the talk, Chopra explains the four things that have been
    scientifically linked to happiness:

    1. Friends and family
    Developing a close bond with people we trust and confide in is essential
    to our overall well-being. “Choose your friends wisely and celebrate everything small and good with them,” Chopra says.

    Many others have stressed the importance of having deep and meaningful relationships. “The world is suffering from an epidemic of loneliness,” former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy wrote in a 2017 Harvard
    Business Review article. “If we cannot rebuild strong, authentic social connections, we will continue to splinter apart — in the workplace and
    in society.”

    Deepak Chopra: This is the best way to manage stress

    Researchers have also warned that “loneliness and social isolation can
    be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day,” whereas
    friendships can “reduce the risk of mortality or developing certain
    diseases and can speed recovery in those who fall ill.”

    2. Forgiveness
    “The ability to forgive frees you from the burdens of hate and other unhealthy emotions that can negatively impact your happiness quotient,”
    says Chopra.

    He cites Nelson Mandela as a hero who truly mastered the art of
    forgiveness. In 1990, when the legendary freedom fighter emerged from
    his 27 years of prison, he was asked whether he had any resentment
    toward his captors.

    “I have no bitterness, I have no resentment. Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies,” Mandela responded.

    Anyone who’s ever felt they’ve been mistreated (most likely each and
    every one of us) knows that the act of forgiving can be challenging. But
    Karen Swartz, director of the Mood Disorders Adult Consultation Clinic
    at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, says that “making a conscious decision to
    let go of negative feelings whether the person deserves it or not” can
    lead to more than just increased happiness.

    Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your
    Nelson Mandela
    Studies have found that it can also lower the risk of heart attack,
    improve cholesterol levels and reduce blood pressure, anxiety,
    depression and stress.

    3. Giving
    Chopra says that getting involved with charities and donating money to
    help others is one of the most fulfilling ways to spend your time and
    money. Researchers have even suggested that people who volunteer
    experience greater happiness, higher self-esteem and a lower mortality rate.

    A study from the University of Chicago and Northwestern University found
    that giving, rather than receiving, leads to long-term happiness. In one experiment, 96 participants were given $5 every day for five days — with
    the option to either spend it on themselves or on others.

    “Everyone started off with similar levels of self-reported happiness,”
    the researchers wrote. “Those who spent money on themselves reported a
    steady decline in happiness over the five-day period. But happiness
    didn’t seem to fade for those who gave their money to someone else.”

    4. Gratitude
    “There’s a wonderful anonymous quote that goes, ‘If you don’t know the language of gratitude, you’ll never be on speaking terms with happiness,’” Chopra tells the audience.

    Practicing gratitude can be as simple as saying “I’m grateful” at least once a day. In fact, one study from the American Psychological
    Association found that doing so can help people savor positive
    experiences, cope with stressful circumstances and strengthen relationships.

    Happiness flows not from physical or external conditions, such as bodily pleasures or wealth and power, but from living a life that’s right for
    your soul, your deepest good.
    “Taking time to think about what you’re grateful for makes you more
    aware of the positive things in your life,” says Chopra. As a result,
    “it makes you less biased by the fewer negative things in your life.”

    Kyle Young is a freelance creative writer and author of “Quitterproof:
    The 5 Beliefs of Highly Successful People.” He has also written for Fast Company and Harvard Business Review.

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