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Why We Are Bad Predictors of Our Happiness

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hey, welcome back to

your Daily Mindfulness.

In today's session, we're going to

talk about why we're not the best

predictors of our own happiness.

So in his book, Stumbling On Happiness,

the Harvard psychologist, Dan Gilbert

starts with the bold assertion

that we're the only animals with

the ability to predict our future.

We're able to imagine scenarios ,good

and bad ,that may one day occur.

And also imagine how we'll

feel when they do occur.

And chances are, you're very familiar

with this, seeing what your life

could be and what you imagine

you'll feel like once you get there.

Imagination, though,

has some shortcomings.

And perhaps of most relevance is

that imagination fails to realize

that things will often feel

different once they actually happen.

We have a psychological immune

system, emotional immune system that

makes bad things feel not so bad as

we imagined, and good things often

feel not as good as they imagined.

Or they have the same intensity

of feeling, but it doesn't last

as long as we think it will.

So often we spend so much time crafting an

idea of the life we want and this feeling

of once I get there, it will be like this,

often to end up a bit am empty handed.

I'm curious if that's ever been your

experience, this feeling of once that

happens, I'll feel a certain way I'll

be a certain way or I'll, I'll just have

the happiness that I was looking for.

And then you get there and it's

different than you imagined, or it

doesn't last as long as you imagined.

You know, this is a reality that we

deal with with as humans, with brains

and brains that adapt to circumstances.

How do we work with this

is the follow-up question.

And for me, I'm still navigating that.

To me it's frustrating that I, I

can't get to some future moment and

have it lead to lasting satisfaction.

But it's always a reminder to, to

try to lean into this moment as it

is right now, to bring full presence

to it, full awareness and live

it deeply and intimately, knowing

that this moment is just as good

as any other moment in the future.

It might not be exactly as I want, but

that future moment that I think I want,

it's still going to be me relating to it.

And chances are, it's not going to give

all of the positive feedback and the

wonderfulness and even the bad moments

that we think if that happens, it will

ruin me, those moments pass as well.

So learning to cultivate an equanimity of

mind that allows us to move, move fluidly

through all of these moments is a kind

of happiness that we can take refuge in.

And it's one of the things we start to

develop with the meditation practice.

So I'll talk to you in our meditation.

Thank you for continuing

your practice and take care.

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