In a short TED talk, Nancy Etcoff, evolutionary psychologist and faculty member at Harvard Medical school, discusses (among other things) what cognitive science can tell us about the ways in which we attempt to achieve and increase our happiness, how surprisingly little it has to do with our circumstances, and its effects on our bodies. Some of what she shares may very well surprise you.
Here’s one brief quote from her talk, “…people are happiest when in flow, when they’re absorbed in something out in the world, when they’re with other people, when they’re active, engaged in sports, focusing on a loved one, learning, having sex, whatever. They’re not sitting in front of the mirror trying to figure themselves out, or thinking about themselves. These are not the periods when you feel happiest…”