Monday, September 23, 2013

Fun Monday Challenge #20 - Eudomonic happiness (I know, read on though)

There's a great (short) blog post on how our genes respond to different kinds of happiness.  It mentions a study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which looks at patterns in gene expression within the cells which fight off infection etc. (Fredrickson et al., 2013).  They also looked at two different types of happiness:
  1. Feeling good or hedonic happiness: the kind we get from a good meal, or buying a new car.
  2. Doing good or eudemonic happiness: the kind we get from working towards a "noble" goal and creating a meaningful life.
What they found was that people experiencing different mixtures of both types of happiness felt equally happy. For conscious experience, neither type of happiness beat the other.  But quite a clear difference emerged at the genetic level. In those with higher levels of ‘doing good’ happiness, there was a stronger expression of antibody and antiviral genes, while people with higher levels of feeling good happiness had weaker expression of antibody and antiviral genes.  Interesting no?

The lead author, Professor Barbara L. Fredrickson, suggests that:
“We can make ourselves happy through simple pleasures, but those ‘empty calories’ don’t help us broaden our awareness or build our capacity in ways that benefit us physically. At the cellular level, our bodies appear to respond better to a different kind of well-being, one based on a sense of connectedness and purpose.”
So I thought why not make this an art challenge.  Create an envelope or container of some sort that can fit in your bag or purse, and in this keep ATC's (there are a few posts right here on ATC cards), simple moo cards, or even simple inspiring quotes on card stock.  Then when you are in some public place you can leave a gift, a bit of guerilla art, or a random act of art kindness.  You will be creating the happiness of doing good art, AND you can create genetic changes with your Eudomonic Happy Art (Guerilla Art).

For some major inspiration, see Keri Smith's Guerilla Art Kit  and also Gretchen Miller's blog is full of awesome, artful, generous ideas and in particular the post on Operation Random Acts of Creative Kindness is super inspiring.

Have fun and as always feel free to share your work or play on Instagram by adding #14SecretsChallenge to your description, or by adding your photo to our Flickr pool


Julie Houck said...

I love this idea!! I am so inspired. We seem to need permission to also forgive ourselves for not being "perfect". Thank you for sharing Lani!! Namaste

Julie Houck said...

I love this idea....thank you so much Lani. I am so inspired. Sometimes we need permission to forgive ourselves for not being "perfect". This is the type of gift that keeps on giving.Love that ;-) Namaste

Sue Marrazzo said...

I just joined your blog...It looks Fun!

lizzie said...

Hi lani,

catching up with great Fun Monday Challenges!!

I so love this one!!! Thank you so much for super inspiring ideas and precious info and links, you are amazing:)

Lizzie xx