Good looks? Nope.
Popularity? Still nope.
A hot sex life? Guess again!
According to a report by The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, all these mentioned life goodies were topped by the biggest life goodie of them all:
This makes sense, when you take a moment to contemplate how lovely autonomy can make you feel – and how miserable its absence can make you.
Autonomy – defined as “the feeling that your life – its activities and habits — are self-chosen and self-endorsed.”
In fact, when you’re upset about something in your life – a love break up, a job problem, your weight – it’s usually because you’re feeling as if you’re no longer in control of this area your life and bigtime lacking autonomy.
Researcher Angus Campbell emphatically endorses the perks of autonomy.
“Having a strong sense of controlling one’s life is a more dependable predictor of positive feelings of well-being than any of the objective conditions of life we have considered,” says Campbell.
A University of Michigan nationwide survey also sings the praises of autonomy – reporting how the 15% of Americans who claimed they felt “in control of their lives” also raved about having “extraordinarily positive feelings of happiness.”
All of this reminds me of that now famous study on on those mice who researchers either gave cheese or electric shocks – no matter what these mice did.
Purposefully these researchers created no logic to when the mice would be rewarded with cheese or punished with electric shocks.
After a while, these mice eventually learned that their actions had no effect on their environment, and they lapsed into a state of passive listlessness and depression.
Even when the experiment changed over, and the mice were given autonomy to avoid the electric shocks or gain more cheese, the mice were so depressed, they just lay there, choosing not to do anything at all!
You know better not to give up, even after your autonomy has been temporarily challenged.
You know after a difficult time, you can take back the control you have over your life!
Psychologists suggest if you want to resiliently bounce back after a sideswiping, that you slowly increase your “internal locus of control” – the power you have to make easy, small changes.
Studies even show that all you have to do is take control of a few small actions – and you’ll be on your way to feeling like the master of your destiny once again.
Yale psychologist Judith Rodin encouraged depressed nursing-home patients to exert more control in their lives, by motivating them to make a few small but key changes in their environments.
Rodin made sure patients were asked to decide for themselves if they wanted the air conditioning on or off, if they’d like to change the channels on the TV, or if they’d like to have different foods for dinner, or if they’d like to re-arrange the furniture in their rooms.
Plus Rodin pushed patients to request changes in various nursing home policies – which they subsequently received.
Is an out-of-control life challenge making you feel “out of control” over your entire life?
If so, stop lying around doing nothing.
Stop sleeping late.
Stop watching too much TV.
Start recognizing that this lack of a disciplined schedule will only increase your feelings of being out of control of your life.
“For unhappy people, their time is unfilled, open, and uncommitted. They postpone things and are inefficient,” says Oxford University psychologist Michael Argyle. “For happy people, time is filled and planned. They are punctual and efficient.”
Know: Establishing pre-set deadlines — then meeting them- will absolutely help you once again feel like the kick-ass master of your destiny that you know you are!
Hi I’m Karen Salmansohn, founder of NotSalmon. My mission is to offer you easy-to-understand insights and tools to empower you to bloom into your happiest, highest potential self. I use playful analogies, feisty humor, and stylish graphics to distill big ideas – going as far back as ancient wisdom from Aristotle, Buddhism and Darwin to the latest research studies from Cognitive Therapy, Neuro Linquistic Programming, Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Quantum Physics, Nutritional Studies – and then some.