Our social connections are integral to our health and happiness, but connections come in many different forms. A lifelong friendship usually feels different than a casual acquaintance you make at a networking event or a friend you acquire on Facebook.
Social Capital Quiz Yet according to research, we need both weak ties and strong ties in order to build “social capital,” which researchers define as the web of relationships in our life and the tangible and intangible benefits we derive from them.
So how much social capital do you have? Does your capital come from strong bonds to those closest and most obviously similar to you, or from connections to people spanning different backgrounds and circumstances? And in our increasingly wired world, how do your online relationships compare to your offline ones?
The following quiz will help you answer those questions. Based on a scale developed by Dmitri Williams, a professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, it measures the amount—and the sources—of social capital in your life, zeroing in on online vs. offline capital.
This quiz contains a total of 26 questions. The first 20 will measure how much social capital you have, while the last six will help our researchers understand how social capital differs between people. Once you have answered all your questions, you will receive your social capital score along with some more detailed feedback. We’ll report next month on what the scores suggest about the Greater Good community.
The jump-for-joy positive emotions can seem kind of trivial, out of place, maybe irrelevant, and what I want to argue is that that’s nothing could be further from the case.
There are a whole range of positive emotions including that feeling in our bones grateful for our current circumstances; completely in tune with our environment; at one at peace feeling serene and tranquil and savoring that; sharing laughter with a close loved one or friend; and the lightness of that moment being inspired by great leaders. These are all important positive emotions that are really quite relevant especially when we’re facing difficult times.
Feeling the love and closeness of people we care for. Now all of these different positive emotions and more share in common two core truths. There are two core truths about these positive emotions. One is that they open us. They literally change the boundaries of our minds and our hearts and change our outlook on our environments.
Now let me get poetic here for a moment. Now imagine that you’re this water lily. It’s early dawn and your petals are closed in around your face. If you can see out it all from that vantage point it’s just a little spot of sunlight but as the sun rises in the sky things begin to change and you’re delicate blinders around your face begin to open and your world quite literally expands. You can see more. Your world is larger.
Okay, now, this is sunlight is what changes the openness of flowers like this. The openness of our minds and hearts obey the warmth of positivity. It changes how open our visual perspective is at a really basic level is and our ability to see our common humanity with others. And we know this because we’ve done randomized control studies where we induce positive emotions by the flip of a coin.
Some people are either given a dose of positive experiences, cute puppies, goofy penguins, beautiful sunsets, or neutral pictures, chairs, light switches, things like that. Other studies use a very simple paradigm that was developed by Alice Isen We give people a gift of candy all wrapped up in cellophane so you know it’s not a sugar high that’s creating the- but it’s a gift a token. They’re either given the gift before the experiment starts or after it’s over.
And other studies, they have people listen to pleasant music. Now in these kinds of studies we know that it changes the way people view, kind of step back and take in the big picture. Here’s a study from my own lab where we ask people we gave people a series of tests where we showed a comparison figure and then asked which of these two target figures on top.
Which of these two comparison figures most resembles this? Now there’s no right or wrong answer. They each resemble at least a little bit but this one resembles it in its global configuration this one more in its more local detail elements and what we know is that if you inject positive emotions, people are more likely to step back and see the big picture and see the similarities along those lines. Other work on this opening or broadening effect has used eye tracking where they lock in a camera on the iris and see what people are looking at and if you give people that little gift of candy before they do a study like this they’re more likely to look around all the different aspects of a complicated array.
If you don’t give people a gift of candy, they pretty much look at the center baby and they don’t look at the babies on the side. So we know that positive emotions widen the scope of what people are scanning for in the environment.
Rumi wrote about this in the 13th century and captured this aspect of what positive
emotions can do. He wrote: “there is a way of breathing that’s a shame and a suffocation that really narrows us down there’s another way of expiring, a love breath he called it that lets us open infinitely”
Okay, so we have dozens of studies that show us that this just isn’t poetic language. Now, our studies don’t underscore the infinitely part; that part may take a few more years that will get us to that level but we do know that positive emotions open our awareness they increase the expanse of our peripheral vision we see more. And there are a lot of places where this matters, because we see more possibilities.
People come up with more ideas of what they might do next when they’re experiencing a positive emotion relative to when they’re experiencing neutral states or negative emotions. People are more creative. Some of the earliest work in this area shows how tests of creativity that used to be used for graduate admissions that if you give people a bag of candy before they complete those tests they score higher on them. They’re no longer used for graduate admissions. But people are more creative.
And this widening of awareness has been directly linked to this greater creativity. People are more likely to be resilient. I have a whole line of research on resilience where we’ve shown that people are able to bounce back quicker from adversity when they’re experiencing positive emotions. Some other research has shown that kids do better on a math test or a learning context if they’re just asked to sit and think of a positive memory before they take the test. So there’s better academic performance. Really neat work on physicians making better medical decisions better at integrating the complex information of an unsolved case when they’re given a bag of candy, a really small positive emotion induction.
So maybe you should go to your doctor’s office with that bag of candy. And one of the studies that one of my former students Kareem Johnson and I did together
looked at how positive emotions allow us to look past racial and cultural differences and see the unique individual and recognize individuals across racial lines to see past difference and to see towards oneness.
There are other experiments that show if you induce positive emotions people are more trusting, people come to better win-win situations in negotiations all kinds of effects. And I want to just emphasize this isn’t the same story that we’ve known for decades that positive emotions help us see the world through rose-colored glasses or see the glasses half full rather than half empty.
I’m not saying these views are wrong but it’s not the whole story. In addition we’re also seeing the big picture. And a very fundamental level we’re able to see larger systems, see larger forms of interconnection when we’re experiencing positive emotions. And that can make a huge difference when we’re trying to address some of these really entangled societal problems that we face.
Comienza un nuevo año, se abren nuevas posibilidades, nuevas aventuras, nuevas ilusiones. ¿Qué mejor momento que este para seguir con más fuerza nuestros deseos? Tenemos ante nosotros una nueva oportunidad de crear con consciencia la vida que queremos, de seguir avanzando hacia nuestras metas, creando deseos nuevos, disfrutando más de la vida, porque al final, ¿para qué sirven nuestros deseos sino para ayudarnos a disfrutar más de la vida?
Son fechas para hacer balance del año que dejamos atrás, para identificar nuestros éxitos y aprendizajes, para reflexionar sobre qué cosas podemos mejorar, cuáles nos hacen felices y cuáles no, cuáles son nuestros objetivos, dónde queremos ir y quiénes queremos ser. Una tarea que no siempre puede resultar sencilla porque, ¿sabemos realmente lo que queremos?¿Lo que necesitamos en nuestra vida?
Va más allá de la típica lista de nuevos propósitos que cada año redactamos, son preguntas de un calado mayor, que pocas personas pueden realmente contestar con total seguridad, clarividencia y detalle. Ser felices podría ser la respuesta más extendida, pero… ¿sabemos cómo alcanzarlo?¿Cómo podemos ser felices?
Primero tendremos que saber dónde nos encontramos, tener un conocimiento mayor y mejor de nosotros mismos. La meditación y la reflexión pueden ayudarnos a conseguirlo. Tomar distancia de nuestros problemas y nuestro entorno nos hará ver mejor qué es lo que realmente necesitamos. Qué es lo que nos falta. Y, una vez que lo hayamos detectado, podremos ir a por ello. Debemos conectar con nuestro interior. Nuestro auténtico yo que nos revele nuestro auténtico deseo. ¿Ya sabes lo que quieres? Pues ahora, que nada te detenga, ¡y lucha por ello!
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The SWLS is a short 5-item instrument designed to measure global cognitivejudgments of satisfaction with one’s life. The scale usually requires only about one minute of a respondent’s time.
Understanding Scores on the Satisfaction with Life Scale Ed Diener
30 – 35 Very high score
Highly satisfied Respondents who score in this range love their lives and feel that things are going very well. Their lives are not perfect, but they feel that things are about as good as lives get. Furthermore, just because the person is satisfied does not mean she or he is complacent. In fact, growth and challenge might be part of the reason the respondent is satisfied. For most people in this high-scoring range, life is enjoyable, and the major domains of life are going well – work or school, family, friends, leisure, and personal development.
25- 29 High score
Individuals who score in this range like their lives and feel that things are going well. Of course their lives are not perfect, but they feel that things are mostly good. Furthermore, just because the person is satisfied does not mean she or he is complacent. In fact, growth and challenge might be part of the reason the respondent is satisfied. For most people in this high-scoring range, life is enjoyable, and the major domains of life are going well – work or school, family, friends, leisure, and personal development. The person may draw motivation from the areas of dissatisfaction.
20 – 24 Average score
The average of life satisfaction in economically developed nations is in this range – the majority of people are generally satisfied, but have some areas where they very much would like some improvement. Some individuals score in this range because they are mostly satisfied with most areas of their lives but see the need for some improvement in each area. Other respondents score in this range because they are satisfied with most domains of their lives, but have one or two areas where they would like to see large improvements. A person scoring in this range is normal in that they have areas of their lives that need improvement. However, an individual in this range would usually like to move to a higher level by making some life changes.
15 – 19 Slightly below average in life satisfaction
People who score in this range usually have small but significant problems in several areas of their lives, or have many areas that are doing fine but one area that represents a substantial problem for them. If a person has moved temporarily into this level of life satisfaction from a higher level because of some recent event, things will usually improve over time and satisfaction will generally move back up. On the other hand, if a person is chronically slightly dissatisfied with many areas of life, some changes might be in order. Sometimes the person is simply expecting too much, and sometimes life changes are needed. Thus, although temporary dissatisfaction is common and normal, a chronic level of dissatisfaction across a number of areas of life calls for reflection. Some people can gain motivation from a small level of dissatisfaction, but often dissatisfaction across a number of life domains is a distraction, and unpleasant as well.
10 – 14 Dissatisfied
People who score in this range are substantially dissatisfied with their lives. People in this range may have a number of domains that are not going well, or one or two domains that are going very badly. If life dissatisfaction is a response to a recent event such as bereavement, divorce, or a significant problem at work, the person will probably return over time to his or her former level of higher satisfaction. However, if low levels of life satisfaction have been chronic for the person, some changes are in order – both in attitudes and patterns of thinking, and probably in life activities as well. Low levels of life satisfaction in this range, if they persist, can indicate that things are going badly and life alterations are needed. Furthermore, a person with low life satisfaction in this range is sometimes not functioning well because their unhappiness serves as a distraction. Talking to a friend, member of the clergy, counselor, or other specialist can often help the person get moving in the right direction, although positive change will be up the person.
5 – 9 Extremely Dissatisfied
Individuals who score in this range are usually extremely unhappy with their current life. In some cases this is in reaction to some recent bad event such as widowhood or unemployment. In other cases, it is a response to a chronic problem such as alcoholism or addiction. In yet other cases the extreme dissatisfaction is a reaction due to something bad in life such as recently having lost a loved one. However, dissatisfaction at this level is often due to dissatisfaction in multiple areas of life. Whatever the reason for the low level of life satisfaction, it may be that the help of others are needed – a friend or family member, counseling with a member of the clergy, or help from a psychologist or other counselor. If the dissatisfaction is chronic, the person needs to change, and often others can help.
Part that is common to each category
To understand life satisfaction scores, it is helpful to understand some of the components that go into most people’s experience of satisfaction. One of the most important influences on happiness is social relationships. People who score high on life satisfaction tend to have close and supportive family and friends, whereas those who do not have close friends and family are more likely to be dissatisfied. Of course the loss of a close friend or family member can cause dissatisfaction with life, and it may take quite a time for the person to bounce back from the loss.
Another factor that influences the life satisfaction of most people is work or school, or performance in an important role such as homemaker or grandparent. When the person enjoys his or her work, whether it is paid or unpaid work, and feels that it is meaningful and important, this contributes to life satisfaction. When work is going poorly because of bad circumstances or a poor fit with the person’s strengths, this can lower life satisfaction. When a person has important goals, and is failing to make adequate progress toward them, this too can lead to life dissatisfaction.
A third factor that influences the life satisfaction of most people is personal – satisfaction with the self, religious or spiritual life, learning and growth, and leisure. For many people these are sources of satisfaction. However, when these sources of personal worth are frustrated, they can be powerful sources of dissatisfaction. Of course there are additional sources of satisfaction and dissatisfaction – some that are common to most people such as health, and others that are unique to each individual. Most people know the factors that lead to their satisfaction or dissatisfaction, although a person’s temperament – a general tendency to be happy or unhappy – can color their responses.
There is no one key to life satisfaction, but rather a recipe that includes a number of ingredients. With time and persistent work, people’s life satisfaction usually goes up when they are dissatisfied. People who have had a loss recover over time. People who have a dissatisfying relationship or work often make changes over time that will increase their dissatisfaction. One key ingredient to happiness, as mentioned above, is social relationships, and another key ingredient is to have important goals that derive from one’s values, and to make progress toward those goals. For many people it is important to feel a connection to something larger than oneself. When a person tends to be chronically dissatisfied, they should look within themselves and ask whether they need to develop more positive attitudes to life and the world.
Copyright by Ed Diener, February 13, 2006
Hoy, 5 de enero, se cumplen 123 años del nacimiento de Paramahansa Yogananda, el yogui y gurú hinduista, propagador del yoga en Occidente y autor del famoso libro “Autobiografía de un yogui”. Bajo este título, Yogananda publicó en 1946 la historia de su vida y de su búsqueda, calificada como una de las 100 obras espirituales más importantes del siglo XX y traducida a 25 idiomas.
Además del cautivador retrato de una de las personalidades espirituales más destacadas de nuestro tiempo, la obra nos presenta una exposición profunda de la milenaria ciencia del yoga, donde se explican con claridad las leyes sutiles cuya aplicación permite realizar proezas extraordinarias y, sobre todo, alcanzar el dominio de uno mismo.
El regalo póstumo de Steve Jobs
Hace algo más de 4 años, “Autobiografía de un yogui” se convirtió en la involuntaria protagonista del funeral de Steve Jobs, cofundador de Apple. Y es que, por deseo expreso del propio Jobs, los cientos de asistentes a su último adiós en Stanford recibieron un regalo póstumo preparado por él mismo: una caja marrón que en su interior contenía la obra de Yogananda, la misma obra que acompañó a Jobs durante toda su vida. Lo leyó por primera vez en la adolescencia, lo redescubrió luego en su viaje a la India, a los 19 años, y a partir de entonces lo leyó una vez al año durante el resto de su vida. De hecho, era el único libro que había descargado en su iPad antes de morir.
Entrevista con Marc Benioff, Founder & CEO Salesforce, uno de los asistentes al funeral de Steve Jobs
El legado de Paramahansa Yogananda permanece vivo a través de la sociedad fundada por él mismo, Self-Realization Fellowship, desde donde se continúa diseminando por todo el mundo las antiguas prácticas y filosofía del yoga, especialmente el kriyá yoga. Esta disciplina consiste en una serie de técnicas de pranaiama diseñadas para acelerar rápidamente el desarrollo espiritual y crear un estado profundo de tranquilidad y de unión con Dios.
El viaje vital de Yogananda en la gran pantalla
La vida de Yogananda ha despertado en miles de personas el deseo de experimentar una relación más profunda con la divinidad que se encuentra en su interior: un trampolín hacia una búsqueda espiritual más intensa. Para hacer aún más universal su mensaje, el año pasado se estrenaba la película “Awake”, un largometraje sobre el viaje vital de Yogananda que ha recibido numerosos premios en distintos festivales de cine y una excelente acogida de público y de crítica.
Trailer de la película “Awake”, que narra la vida de Paramahansa Yogananda