Creating and sustaining happiness in your life is a process that moves forward, but you have to remember it’s not like achieving a goal, where you hang a shiny medal around your neck when you finish.
It’s more like reaching an understanding of something difficult- learning how to balance different aspects of your life so that they all contribute to making you happy.
A few years back I read some very interesting research about what makes us feel happier at this moment in time. One factor was having lots of things we ‘own’, or material possessions.
I know from experience that giving away or selling many of my belongings didn’t make me any happier (although it did take up space in my house!), but there is another way to look at it.
Having less doesn’t necessarily mean being without, and feeling unhappy.
You can always be busy buying new things or going into debt to afford them! Having money can also give you a false sense of happiness because you think you should be happy just because you have enough food to eat and a roof over your head.
In fact, a large proportion of people are almost constantly hungry and sleep deprived due to lack of income. This isn’t a healthy state of mind. Ill health can have a negative effect on our overall level of happiness.
Definition of research
Another important concept to know is what constitutes “research.” The word research does not refer to studying only scientific studies, but also non-scientific studies that look at the effects of certain practices or treatments on people. These are called observational studies because they observe how individuals perform the intervention and how this impacts their health.
Practices like giving patients herbal supplements for pain management or weight loss often aren’t studied through randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Instead, researchers use observational studies to determine whether these products work. By looking at large groups of patients, we can get some clues about whether these remedies help more than placebo, which is usually a sugar pill with no active ingredients.
Observational studies have shown that most nutritional interventions don’t work for general health, let alone hair growth — even when you take out all the hype about specific vitamins and minerals. But some do seem to make a difference in small numbers of people, so they’re worth trying if you want to test them on yourself.
Research is systematic
Doing research involves going through a process that’s called systematic, or structured. This system typically starts with an idea or question about how to make things better, then it moves onto defining those things as positive or negative, and finally comes up with strategies for changing them.
The important thing to remember about doing research is that it’s not intuitive. You can’t just do it without thinking about what you’re looking at and why it matters to you.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t shortcuts. If all you have to work with is a vague notion of something like “health” or “wealth”, then exploring some basic concepts around these terms is helpful first.
But starting from the basics takes time. It requires diving into resources and learning about health and wealth in depth. And it probably won’t feel very natural at first.
That’s totally normal! Because we humans are wired to talk about our own experiences, no one really teaches people how to do systematic research except by example.
Types of research
What makes up scientific studies is what we call study designs. There are three main types: observational, experimental, and survey-based studies.
Observational studies look at how different variables relate to one another by studying past cases. For example, you could observe whether people with heart disease have higher rates of obesity than those without heart disease.
You would then have to determine if weight changes in either group caused the other. To account for this possibility, observational studies use statistical methods to rule out common causes such as lifestyle or health factors.
Survey-based studies ask participants questions about their behaviors and habits, which they report along with any symptoms they may be experiencing. These can be self-reported symptoms like stress or sleep issues, or doctor diagnosed conditions like depression or anxiety.
Experimental studies give individuals random assignments to see what effects certain treatments or strategies have. For instance, researchers might test whether having more education helps someone become employed after being laid off from work.
Sample research topics
Recent studies show that there are several ways to effectively reduce stress and anxiety. Certain exercises, such as yoga or meditation, can be done alone or with others, and may help you find your inner calm.
Thinking about past successes can make you feel happier than if you were just going through the motions of life. Finding new hobbies and things you’re passionate about helps take your mind off of current worries.
When writing up an argument, you will want to make sure that your citations are appropriate and scientific. This includes using correct grammar and spelling, using proper citation style, and offering valid sources.
In academic settings, there is one standard set of citation styles that everyone uses. These include the Harvard Style, The Chicago Manual Format, AP Style, and many others.
Using the wrong style or not in-depth enough can hurt your credibility and perception of the source. Relevant information such as year published, volume, page numbers, and author should be included.
I would also recommend staying within common usage conventions when it comes to punctuation. Using “its” instead of “it’s” or putting unnecessary quotation marks aside, these things typically do not affect how well you write nor do they require special formatting.
The impact of research
Recent studies show that diet changes are one of the most effective ways to lose weight and maintain healthy weights. Nutritionists agree that changing what you eat is the number one way to succeed in your weight loss goals!
In fact, nutritionists believe it’s an overlooked key to weight loss. That’s why they’re constantly recommending food lists and diets for people to try.
Many of these diets advertise themselves as science-based, but many don’t seem too scientific at all. Some aren’t even very health related.
So how can we tell if a diet is really worth it?
It all comes back to math. And lots of it. Luckily, there are some pretty simple rules when it comes to counting calories. So let us take a look at three of the most popular diets and see just how “scientific” they are.
The keto diet — also known as the ketogenic diet — is probably the most well-known low calorie eating plan out there. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but like any new fad diet, there are mixed opinions about whether it works or not.
Some say it doesn’t work because people who experiment with it never find their lost weight again. Others claim it does work, but only for a limited amount of time until the body starts storing more fat.
Who conducts research
The person who does systematic, controlled experiments to test theories or hypotheses is called a researcher. A large part of studying psychology is doing studies!
A lot of psychological concepts are not tested in vivo (meaning they’re not conducted outside of the individual being studied). For example, researchers don’t conduct an experiment where they give someone a new theory and see how well it works for them.
Instead, they observe what happens in individuals when we apply a theory. This is more like observing a situation arise and seeing if people behave according to plan or not with that theory.
For instance, one could hypothesize that men tend to talk longer than women per minute, but have you ever seen a man try to be concise? I doubt it.
Sample research methods
Evidence comes from studying how people have handled situations in the past. If enough other people did something, then it is considered a good idea.
People are often willing to tell their stories about how they managed a situation or completed an activity. As such, researchers use these anecdotes as sources of information.
These examples are called empirical studies because the outcomes being studied “observed” them empirically – i.e., through direct observation.
Surveys ask questions like what people do during an epidemic to determine effective strategies for staying healthy. Observational studies look at whether there are patterns in how people behave around someone who has just infected them with HIV (the virus that causes AIDS).
Questionnaires give respondents structured prompts for answers, while surveys allow you to ask whatever you want by yourself. In both cases, your results depend on accurate recall and self-reporting.
Experiments randomly assign participants to different treatments or conditions, then watch to see if those changes work better than no treatment. This is the most powerful type of evidence, but only if the experiment can be done more than once and under similar circumstances.
Observational and experimental designs exist in every field, so long as someone does the experimenting and another person gets observed!
The best design depends on the question at hand and the resources available. A mixed-methods approach is sometimes needed to get the full picture.