It’s all about Happiness as experts in psychology, neuroscience and wordsmith Author share their thoughts on happiness, wellbeing, and positivity.
On the eve of World Government Summit (WGS) 2018 happening in Dubai, under the theme ‘Global Dialogue for Happiness’, leading experts shared their thoughts on achieving optimal happiness, mental wellbeing, compassion and finding meaning in the modern world.
The four sessions by experts were by Sonja Lyubomirsky, Dr. John Cryan, Dr. James Doty and Emily Esfahani Smith.
Acts of Kindness on Others Brings More Happiness: Positive Psychology Expert Sonja Lyubomirsky
Sonja Lyubomirsky, Psychology professor, shares five key factors to ensure optimal happiness at Global Dialogue for Happiness
There are ways to pursue happiness in the most optimal ways, said Sonja Lyubomirsky, in her address at the Global Dialogue for Happiness, on the eve of the World Government Summit 2018.
Lyubomirsky, a positive psychology expert, bestselling author and a professor of psychology at the Department of Psychology, University of California, is the critically-acclaimed author of ‘The How of Happiness and The Myths of Happiness. In her session, Lyubomirsky explored how, when and why happiness can shift over time by addressing various factors that can help people pursue happiness in the most optimal way. She shared that her findings were based on a series of happiness interventions – an experiment where the efficacy of happiness strategies are tested.
Dr.John Cryan – Exploring Relationship between Microbiomes and Mood
Neuroscientist John Cryan emphasizes diet as key driver of microbiome diversity and promoter of good mental health and wellbeing
Dr John Cryan, Professor & Chair, Department of Anatomy & Neuroscience, University College Cork, emphasized the importance of diet in promoting microbiome diversity and good mental health. His observations came during a session built around ‘The Science of Happiness & Wellbeing’ at the Global Dialogue for Happiness in Dubai.
“Our lexicon has words and phrases such as gut instinct, gut-wrenching, gutted, and gut feeling. The interaction of brain, gut and microbiome is a big indicator of stress, psychiatric and immune-related disorders at key time-windows across the lifespan,” said Cryan in his session entitled ‘A Gut Feeling About Happiness’.
Cryan is currently studying the effect of stress on the brain, body and across demographics. Describing a study on a group of 200 elderly individuals in Ireland, which examined several health indices, he said: “We observed that the healthiest individuals were those who had the most diverse microbiome that were from diverse diets and living in communities. A diverse diet is a key driver to a diverse microbiome. We are increasingly noticing in the Western world that the lifestyle and diets are extinguishing components of microbiomes, which will naturally impact well-being and health.”
Dr. James Doty, neurosurgery professor says compassion can be taught
-Without compassion and empathy we cannot be truly happy
-We can train people to maximize their genetic potential for compassion
In his session at the Global Dialogue for Happiness in Dubai, Dr. James Doty, Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery at Stanford University, explained the “mysteries of the brain and the secrets of the heart”.
In his address built around the theme ‘the Science of Happiness and Wellbeing’, Dr Doty said: “There’s a strong and incredible connection between our brain and our heart. In fact, when an individual is incredibly stressed, it can result in dysfunction of the heart, and in some cases, result in cardiac arrest. This is the effect of stress on the individual.” Dr Doty emphasized the importance of compassion and empathy to be truly happy. He said: “We need to look outward for our life to have meaning. We also need to understand that everyone is suffering on some level – this is what connects us to each other.”
Emily Esfahani – Tools for Enjoying Meaningful Life
Author Emily Esfahani Smith outlines four pillars that help find meaning in the modern world
Author Emily Esfahani Smith highlighted the necessary tools for enjoying a life full of meaning during a session titled ‘The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters’ at the Global Happiness Dialogue in Dubai. The talk was part of a series of sessions built around the theme ‘The Science of Happiness and Wellbeing’.
Esfahani Smith said: “There is something beyond happiness that makes our life worth living. There is a fundamental paradox: The world is getting better by every conceivable measure of progress, but more people are feeling lonely and depressed. What predicts this tide of despair is not the lack of happiness but the lack of meaningfulness.”
She added: “A meaningful life is one in which you contribute to something beyond yourself. A meaningful life has significance, a sense of purpose, and is more coherent. Those who have found meaning in life are more resilient, better at work and school, take better care of themselves, have a sense of contentment and peacefulness, and are far less terrified of death.”
Referencing the Epic of Gilgamesh and its hero’s quest to find the meaning of life, Esfahani Smith highlighted the importance of finding meaning in the modern world through four fundamental pillars: “belonging” – the bonds with family and friends, “purpose” – an aim or goal that organizes your life and motivates you to contribute to the wellbeing of others, “transcendence” – a connection to a higher reality, and “storytelling” – a narrative you craft about yourself.