Book Review

Book Review – Stumbling on Happiness

Did I stumble on happiness after reading the book?

The author mentions in the beginning of the book that this book is not a guide for how to be more happy in life. But when I am writing a review of this book after a year, I can tell you that all other books on happiness tell you what to do and what not to do. This is the only book which talks about how brain works when it comes to happiness. You cannot find clearly laid out guidelines in the book on happiness but if you can connect the message to your own life, you will get insights which can change your life.
After reading this book, I started mood tracker and wrote my diary as and when I felt an emotion. Because the way I look at my emotion after a certain time lag distorts my view of it. I also started sticking to the same variety but changing the gap between two times I do the same task to increase my joy. Because, variety decreases the happiness levels when time difference is a lot. When you read the book, you will find your own ways to increase happiness in your life.

A few nuggets from the book:

Experience stretching hypothesis
Once we have experience we can’t exclude them and look at the world.People are wrong when they talk about the past because they are viewing it based on present experience but based on past experience they were correct then.
An experience which once caused pleasure no longer does.We become outsiders to our own experiences
What are you feeling inside?
People don’t know what they are feeling inside. They can be mistaken about what they feel inside. This happens because most critical functions of brain were designed first and later the other parts were added. Brain first reacts and then thinks about what the object is

Why do you choose the wrong future?
We choose the wrong future because we imagine out of nothing.Brain does not store the entire experience in detail. It just stores the emotion related to that. The act of remembering just fills the details. You can try this by reading a set of words and try recalling them. You will realise that you just remember the theme. Because brain remembers the gist of the words and not just the words. Blind spot in eye makes the brain create a scene based on what it sees around the blind spot. Brain creates an image out of its imagination and not just what is actually there. So when we imagine a future,it happens in the blind spot of eye.

Why you should not do grocery shopping on a full stomach or empty stomach?

When you go with a full stomach, brain tricks you that you have enough now and makes your requirement to be less. This is called as prefeeling.It stimulates the event before hand and makes you predict the future. But prefeeling can’t be trusted because brain has reality first policy. We can’t feel hunger while we feel full.

You will discover more such interesting stories in the book.
Happy stumbling on Happiness!

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