Many people report that the end of the year is a stressful time. For some, the end of the year marks the realization that they didn’t get to all the things they wanted to accomplish, the bank account isn’t what they’d hoped it would be, or there is disappointment of another year marked in an unsatisfying job or domestic situation. For others, the end of the year brings the holiday season and family gatherings, requiring either patience to emotionally endure strained or complicated relationships or the very real stress of holiday shopping and the costs that come with it. Also, from Thanksgiving on, people are told they need to be in the holiday spirit and should spread peace and gratitude.
Psychological study is deeply rooted in humans’ ability to empathize with those around them. In a recent column, I discussed studies done on the forgiveness centers of the brain, which appear to be in the more evolved, less primal, sections. The studies suggest that empathy, required for forgiveness, has evolved as a mechanism for self-preservation.
The most significant component of success is self-confidence, and the number one killer of confidence is self-doubt. This includes self-defeating habits. Part of this comes from focusing on pleasing others rather than pursuing your own goals or fulfilling your own needs.
We all know the anger and frustration of being wronged. It would be difficult to get through life without encountering someone or a situation that injured or misused you in one way or another. You might have been wronged at the workplace, or by a partner, someone in your family or in your circle of friends. You could be wronged by a complete stranger at a store or driving on the freeway. The emotional range can be annoyance from a minor slight to relationship-ending betrayal. On some occasions, a workplace mistake or violation can lead to serious injury or death.
The main area in which Americans feel growing stress in their lives is at the workplace. In fact, chronic employee stress has been considered by some researchers to be reaching epidemic levels. And while not every employee feels the same type or degree of stress, it is easy to see how a stressful environment can affect not only the workers but the workplace and company as a whole.
Literature and pop music abound with lessons on the inability to buy love or happiness, and many proverbs, philosophies, and motivational posters offer advice to achieving a lasting happiness. But is there truly a source of happiness? While there may be no key to unlocking your happiness potential, new studies find that one aspect of human behavior can actually lead to increased happiness and contentment. It turns out that finding happiness may be as simple as performing acts of unselfish kindness.