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The international bestseller — an enthralling exploration of the how and why behind the science of happiness.
We all know what it feels like to be happy, but what mechanisms inside our brains trigger such a positive emotion? What does it really mean to be happy, and why can’t we feel that way all of the time? Psychologists and neuroscientists have been studying negative emotions for decades, but until recently few have focused on the subject of happiness.
Now, in The Science of Happiness, leading science journalist Stefan Klein ranges widely across the latest frontiers of neuroscience and psychology to explain how happiness is generated in our brains, what biological purpose it serves, and the conditions required to foster ‘the pursuit of happiness’. A remarkable synthesis of a growing body of research that has not been brought together before, The Science of Happiness is, ultimately, a book that helps us understand our own quest for happiness and is certain to help make you happier.
A leading German science journalist explores the nature of happiness through the latest research in brain science in this instructive study. Positive and negative feelings, he says, are generated by different mental systems; thus, people whose right frontal lobe dominates tend to be more pessimistic, while those with a stronger left lobe are predisposed to optimism and self-confidence. Despite genetic programming, the author says, the brain is "malleable," and anyone with a desire for happiness is able to perceive and experience more pleasurable emotions. Drawing on complex experiments with animals, he suggests specific strategies to overcome depression, including engaging in activities, especially physical activities or simple tasks that easily offer a sense of success; and writing down negative thoughts, then marshaling the evidence against them. Klein looks at the complex relationship between income and satisfaction and the importance of self-determination and social connections. The surest path to happiness, Klein is convinced, is to know oneself.