miércoles, 19 de octubre de 2016

Talking point: Happiness

This week's talking point is happiness. Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below so that ideas come to mind more easily the day you get together with your friends and you can work out vocabulary problems beforehand.

What is happiness for you?
Is happiness a goal for you?
What makes you feel happy?
Are you happy most of the time?
What makes you unhappy?
What's the most miserable you've been?
When was the happiest time of your childhood? And of your life?
Can you be happy if you are rich/poor?
How happy are you compared with your friends?
Do you wake up happy every morning?
Do you agree that older people are less happy?
Are the people in your country generally very happy?
Do you think some nations are happier than others?
(source for questions: iteslj.org)

How important are these factors to achieve happiness?
Discuss them and choose the three most important ones for you.
Then try to agree with your partner(s) on a common list.
excellent health and fitness
an interesting and worthwhile job
material wealth and a high standard of living
being good-looking and having a great figure
being content spiritually
a wide circle of supportive friends and family
achieving promotion and/or respect at work

To illustrate the point you can watch the video And the secret of happiness is...

Happiness isn’t just a pleasant thing you feel. Science proves it’s much deeper than that. Feeling happy also makes you live a long and healthier life – but how? Well, a large part of our happiness is tied to our social connections. In fact, if you don’t have at least one close friend, you’re less likely to be happy. Each of us have these things called telomeres. Those are tiny caps on our DNA chromosomes that measure our cellular age. It turns out they also measure how many friends we have. No friends equals shorter telomeres. So by simply being social, you can actually slow down your biological age; living longer and happier. Another way to boost your level of happiness is by meditating. Research shows as little as twenty minutes a day can lower your stress hormones. Have you ever heard of a Buddhist monk named Berry Kerzin? Barry meditates with such focused attention he says he can instantly generate his own bliss. People believed him but doctors wanted some scientific proof. So they did an MRI scan of his brain and they showed that, while he meditated, he activated the area of the brain where happiness lives – the left prefrontal cortex. Time of a pop quiz: Is this glass half empty or half full? If you said half full, you’re on your way to feeling happier and healthier. A Harvard study found that optimists are 50 percent less likely to have heart disease, a heart attack or a stroke. Keeping an overall optimistic attitude actually offers protection against cardiovascular disease. Science doesn’t fare as well for pessimists. They not only have lower levels of happiness compared to optimists but research shows that people with negative thoughts are three times as likely to develop health problems as they age. So what do you do if you’re not a naturally happy person? Well experts say the key is to act as though you’re an optimist, even if you’re not.