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In a separate study, subjects read a fake news article that either described the benefits of happiness or did not mention it. Participants then watched a happy or sad film clip. Those who were prompted to value happiness reported feeling worse after watching the happy film than those who did not receive the prompt. Working too hard to be happy can also negatively impact your relations with others. In one study, the more the subjects expressed valuing happiness, the lonelier they expressed feeling in daily diary entries. In another, those who were induced to place a greater value on happiness ended up feeling a greater sense of social disconnection. Researchers examining these patterns suggested that one of the reasons for this pattern is that pursuing happiness for personal gain alienates others. So does that mean you need to give up being happy in order to be happy? Not quite. It turns out that just as desiring positive feelings you don't experience can make you feel worse, the reverse is also true: Accepting negative feelings can help you get past them quicker than those who fight against them. For example, a study gave one of three instructions (accept, suppress, or control) to subjects suffering from a panic disorder. Those who were instructed to feel acceptance felt less anxiety than the other two groups during a test that could trigger panic. Happiness has so many benefits in one's life, it might seem like the more you have, the better off you are. But there is such a thing as too much happiness. A pair of researchers used Aristotle's idea of "moderation in all things" to suggest that positive traits "reach inflection points at which their effects turn negative"--for example, too much generosity leads to wastefulness, too much courage to recklessness. This is known in psychology as an "inverted U," where the best performance occurs when there are moderate levels of a good thing, then drops precipitously when levels move too far in the direction of a deficiency or an excess on either side. A similar idea can be applied to happiness itself. When your level of happiness gets dangerously high, it can lead to a number of negative results. Psychologists have found that reaching constant high levels of happiness can lead to risky behavior as you seek out the next happiness high. This could include thrill seeking through drug use, or the perpetual hunt for novelty--not just in experiences, but in one's partners, spouses, and other areas that are best kept constant.

Psychologists maintain that this can create instability in a person's life, resulting in unhappiness over the long term. Researchers looking into this question found that those experiencing heightened emotional states (both positive and negative) were more likely to engage in rash actions such as high alcohol consumption, risky sexual behavior, and binge eating. One study even found a high degree of "cheerfulness/optimism" in children, as rated by their parents and teachers, to be associated with a shorter life. Using a sample of more than 1,200 California students tracked over seven decades, the study found that high levels of cheerfulness were associated with a reduced lifespan. Specifically, those in the 75th percentile on cheerfulness had 123 percent of the risk of dying in a given year, compared to a person in the 25th percentile of cheerfulness (by comparison, high cholesterol is associated with a 120 percent risk). In contrast, a higher rating of conscientiousness predicted a longer life--someone with a high level of prudence and truthfulness had 77 percent of the risk of dying in a given year compared to a person with a lower level of conscientiousness. Whatever you reinforce in your mind wins. What you feed in your mind is what lives and what you starve dies. Your mind doesn't recognize words like "don't" and "do". It only recognizes the verb, like "smoke". If you want to stop eating fast food and you tell yourself "don't eat fast food", you're commanding your mind to, "eat fast food". If you say, "I want to eat only healthy food", your mind will hear, "eat healthy food" and it will execute that command and completely bypass "eat fast food". You are struggling with a new accounting system. You make a mistake and think, I always get things wrong!' Your last relationship ended because you found out your girlfriend was cheating and you think,women aren't trustworthy'. If you decide that over-generalizing relates to you, list two situations where you can identify this type of thinking together with the thoughts that were going through your mind at the time. Your life is full of things you think you should' be andmust' do. You use these statements as a way of trying to motivate yourself. However, the more you tell yourself these things the less likely you are to do them. In addition, you also end up feeling bad about yourself. Some people use shoulds' andmusts' as a way of thinking about other people in a punishing way.

For example, he should have known, she must do what I want. When we use this type of thinking in relation to others we are really saying we know what is right. You spend time believing I should not feel anxious about this type of thing at my age. <a href=''>I</a> have to take care of others'. <a href=''>You</a> are having a particularly difficult time and you start thinkingI must get a grip. I should be able to deal with all this'. If you decide that shoulds and musts relate to you, list two situations where you can identify this type of thinking, together with the thoughts that were going through your mind at the time. If you want to eliminate the negative thought, emotion, behavior, and habit, ONLY focus on its positive replacement. If you keep going to bed late and want to start going to bed earlier so you can get up and get started earlier, only focus on waking up early and getting out of bed. Give your mind the command of "wake up early" instead of "go to bed late". By the time your target bedtime rolls around, you're, naturally, more tired and willing to go to sleep. If you think, "I don't want to stay up" your mind only hears "stay up" and it's executing that command. If you're quitting smoking and thinking, "don't smoke", you're commanding your mind to "smoke". But if you replace "smoking" with "eating fruit", your mind will focus on executing the "eating fruit" command and not on "smoking". We can think of this ratio as another way of looking at set and setting, when placed against the strength of the drug. For instance, in the treatment of tobacco addiction, nicotine patches can control cravings and help a person quit, increasing the quit rate by 50-70 percent. Yet this mode of treatment appears to be effective in only 23 percent of people who try, and 15 percent after one year. Some of the limited effect of nicotine-replacement treatments may relate to their relatively short duration of use--unlike other replacement drugs that are used as maintenance, and thus for extended periods. What this nevertheless means is that more than 75 percent of the time nicotine therapy fails, illustrating that other factors, such as lack of readiness to change, limited social supports, and contact with other smokers, significantly outweigh the impact of ingesting the replacement drug. We have seen good rates of success with methadone and buprenorphine as medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction.

But they are but one buttress against the power of environmental cues from friends, media, music, TV, and merely walking around the neighborhood, all of which can be strong triggers for drug relapse. The environment often trumps the action of a drug treatment, though medication treatment is one valuable component in a comprehensive and ongoing treatment plan for a person with an addiction. If you think you're fat, lazy, and need to go to the gym, focus on "go to the gym" and not on "lazy". If you give your mind the command of "lazy", it'll automatically decide you're not going to the gym. When we use this type of thinking it is rather like making a mountain out of a molehill - if there is a way of making things as bad as possible we think it. People using this type of thinking often use lots of emotional words that predict the most awful consequences. Your boss says he wants to talk to you tomorrow and you spend the evening worrying about what you have done, imagining all kinds of awful things. Conversely, a safe and familiar environment with a skilled guide can result in far greater rates of good trips from LSD, psilocybin, and peyote. A good social milieu can bring out the best and safest of responses in the person ingesting these substances. The ratio of external influence to drug effect here again is on the side of the environment. For all substances, then, we need to recognize what circumstances, what preexisting character, views, and biology, and what human supports, can outweigh a drug's noxious actions or enhance its desired effects. You promise to collect some non-essential dry cleaning for a friend but forget, and you behave as if it is the end of the world and not simply a minor setback. Focus on positive replacements for the trash thoughts, emotions, and habits and don't reinforce the negative in your mind. More importantly, however, my experience can help show us the way in which panic can start from something extremely small, usually a minor discomfort or fear (in this case, feeling thirsty), and grow from there. Above all else, the thing that feeds and reinforces panic is avoidance. In my case, I thought that by getting up in the theater to get a drink of water, I could avoid the thing I was afraid of (i.e., throwing up). Instead, this only reinforced the panic, because my efforts to avoid the fear opened up a new set of potential fears. Once I had the drink of water, I realized that even drinking water isn't a surefire guard against the possibility of throwing up. I still wasn't entirely safe from the possibility. Minor as it may seem, this one experience in the theater led to four years of struggle with panic and anxiety symptoms.

My fear of throwing up in the theater quickly led me to be afraid of other places in which I would be "trapped" for a certain period of time in an enclosed space, and therefore would not be able to get to a bathroom in case I needed to vomit. This led me to begin avoiding airplanes, subways, and even elevators. In turn, after I had experienced a number of panic attacks in such places, the fear of panicking itself began to be reason enough for me to avoid situations that I associated with my anxiety. Over time, the anxiety began to exert greater and greater degrees of control over my life, and the range of ordinary activities in which I felt "safe" in my life felt ever smaller. Avoidance of panic triggers often leads to this result, because it is not actually feasible to entirely escape the possibility of panic. The future is always uncertain, and you cannot screen yourself off entirely from the range of possible emotions or bodily responses you might undergo. Avoiding various situations merely serves as a reminder of this frightening truth. As I experienced after my trip to the bathroom in the theater, I realized I could not entirely forestall the possibility that what I was afraid of might actually happen. A study from the University of New South Wales in Australia found that happier people are also more gullible. Participants watched a ten-minute video aimed at generating either positive, negative, or neutral feelings (clips of a British comedy series for positive; an excerpt from a film about dying of cancer for negative; a nature documentary for neutral). They then viewed four brief interrogation videos of men and women denying that they'd committed a theft: University students in the videos entered a room in which there was a movie ticket in an envelope; they could either take the ticket or leave it, but either way had to deny taking it. The participants watched videos in which some students truthfully denied having taken the ticket, while others lied. Those who watched the happy or sad videos were about equally effective in identifying students telling the truth. But those who watched the sad video before the interrogation videos proved much better at ferreting out the liars. So anyone considering working as a fraud investigator or judge might want to seek out a few tearjerkers on Netflix. Researchers have developed the concept of "depressive realism"--that depressed people have a more accurate view of the world around them and their place in it. In a series of experiments, psychologists Lauren B. Alloy and Lyn Y. Abramson tapped 144 depressed and 144 nondepressed students to look at this effect. Participants were asked to press a button; a green light then would or would not turn on.