What Happy People do Differently - Part II

Research appears to suggest that satisfied people are less likely to be analytical and detail-oriented! University of New South Wales psychologist, Joseph Forgas, found that happy people tend to be less skeptical than others, uncritically open toward strangers, and can be vulnerable to lies and deceit.  When negotiating the finer points of a complicated and social world of colleagues, dates, and friends, it certainly seems adaptable, and even advisable, to pay attention to the finer details. Yet, research seems to suggest that too much attention to detail can interfere with basic daily functioning. Psychologist Karen Harkness, from Queen’s University, found that individuals in a depressed mood were more likely to notice minute changes in facial expressions. Meanwhile, happy people tended to overlook these small changes in others’ faces. A flash of annoyance, a sarcastic grin, a rising of the eyebrow – were all fluctuations that happy people seemed to overlook more easily. While in a bad mood, we tend to notice the tiniest shifts and can’t seem to disengage from an argument. The happiest people seem to have a natural protection against getting sucked in by the pull of those little details. For example, a nice analogy might be the effect of water on a duck – it slides right off! Another way to put it, perhaps, is “not sweating the small stuff.” Don’t get me wrong, paying attention to details is helpful, but too much focus on minutiae can be exhausting and debilitating. The happiest people accept that striving for perfection is a loser’s bet and are willing to let small offenses go by the wayside.