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The Time Machine (shift) is a science fiction novella by H. G. Wells, published in 1895 and later adapted into two feature films of the same name, as well as two television versions, and a large number of comic book adaptations. It indirectly inspired many more works of fiction in many media. This 32,000 word story is generally credited with the popularisation of the concept of time travel using a vehicle that allows an operator to travel purposefully and selectively. The term "time machine", coined by Wells, is now universally used to refer to such a vehicle. This work is an early example of the Dying Earth subgenre.
Anytime you need to be happier, just do some time travel. It's that simple.
I know what you're thinking: He's finally gone insane.
No, I'm not crazy. And you don't need a time machine. You're just going to use your imagination.
But scientific research shows this is a great way to immediately increase happiness. You can do it anywhere and it doesn't cost anything.
Research shows happiness is all about where you put your attention. And shifting your attention to the past, the future or even the present --- can boost happiness.
Still sound silly? Stay with me. You do unhappy time travel all too frequently.
When you are overcome with regret, you're turning your attention to negative elements of the past. When you worry, you're thinking about an unpleasant future. But we can also use mental time travel to get the best out of life. Here are three ways, why they work, and quick tips to use them to put a smile on your face.
Time Travel To The Future!
It's as simple as anticipation. Remember being a kid and looking forward to holiday gifts? Or as an adult haven't you fantasized about that vacation coming up? Well, research says deliberately using anticipation is an insanely powerful way to get happy.
How does it work?
Here's why you absolutely need to incorporate more anticipation into your life:
Studies show anticipation can actually be more enjoyable than getting the thing you're anticipating.
For example, a month before embarking on a guided twelve-day tour of several European cities, eager travelers report expecting to enjoy their trip significantly more than they actually do during the twelve days. Identical results are found when students are surveyed about their expectations three days before their Thanksgiving vacation, and when midwesterners are surveyed three weeks before a bicycle trip across California. Indeed, researchers who studied a thousand Dutch vacationers concluded that by far the greatest amount of happiness extracted from the vacation is derived from the anticipation period...
This is why lottery tickets sell so well: you're never gonna win that cash but the chance to dream and anticipate it brings an enormous amount of joy.
But I'm not encouraging you to buy lottery tickets.
How to do it:
Simply make plans to do something fun with a friend.
Harvard happiness expert Shawn Achor says just calling, emailing or texting a friend and putting an event on the calendar is more powerful than you think.
One study found that people who just thought about watching their favorite movie actually raised their endorphin levels by 27 percent. Often, the most enjoyable part of an activity is the anticipation. If you can't take the time for a vacation right now, or even a night out with friends, put something on the calendar-even if it's a month or a year down the road. Then whenever you need a boost of happiness, remind yourself about it.
Want an extra 130,000 bucks a year?
That's the financial equivalent of the happiness boost you get from spending more time with those you're closest to.
Approximately 70% of your happiness comes from relationships.
Contrary to the belief that happiness is hard to explain, or that it depends on having great wealth, researchers have identified the core factors in a happy life. The primary components are number of friends, closeness of friends, closeness of family, and relationships with co-workers and neighbors. Together these features explain about 70 percent of personal happiness. - Murray and Peacock 1996
Okay, so you've got an easy way to travel to a happy future. Let's make like Marty McFly and visit the past...
2) Time Travel To The Past!
Nostalgia. People look at pictures of happy times for a very good reason. Maybe you do too. But science says you don't engage with those enough deliberately.
How does it work?
Studies show taking some time to be nostalgic increases meaning in life and gives loneliness the boot. Happiness researcher Sonya Lyubomirsky says reliving the past kills stress.
...those proficient at reminiscing about the past-looking back on happy times, rekindling joy from happy memories-are best able to buffer stress.
How to do it:
Keep a picture of happy times or people you love in your pocket. Take it out to trigger good feelings when you need them. Want to take it to the next level? Reminiscing with others about good times improves your relationships and makes both of you happier.
Researchers have found that mutual reminiscence-sharing memories with other people-is accompanied by abundant positive emotions, such as joy, accomplishment, amusement, contentment, and pride.
Okay, mental time travel to the future and the past is boosting your mood. We've arrived at our final destination.
This one is weird... But it may be the most powerful in the long run.
3) Time Travel to... The Present?
Okay, this one doesn't sound nearly as exciting. But it's the core of that mindfulness thing everyone keeps screaming about.
Experts call it "savoring." You may think you're living in the present -- but you're doing it all wrong.
How does it work?
When that happiness expert Sonja Lyubomirsky studied the world's happiest people, what did she find?
They savor life's pleasures and try to live in the present moment.But what's "savor" really mean? Giving your full attention to the good things around you right now.The key component to effective savoring is focused attention. By taking the time and spending the effort to appreciate the positive, people are able to experience more well-being.
Focusing on the positive and appreciating those things leads to a happiness boost in under a week.
One group was told to focus on all the upbeat things they could find- sunshine, flowers, smiling pedestrians. Another was to look for negative stuff- graffiti, litter, frowning faces. The third group was instructed to walk just for the exercise. At the end of the week, when the walkers' well-being was tested again, those who had deliberately targeted positive cues were happier than before the experiment.
How to do it:
That morning cup of coffee? That quick catch-up with a friend? Put your phone away. Don't think about the past or the future. Stop, slow down and appreciate this little moment.
Sound corny? Just doing that decreases depression and boosts happiness.
...In all these studies those participants prompted to practice savoring regularly showed significant increases in happiness and reductions in depression.
Alright, time travelers, let's round it up and learn the magic ingredient that these all have in common...
Feeling down? Just remember "time travel."
The three ways to do it:
1.Anticipate: Schedule something fun with a friend. When you're down, look forward to it.
2.Be Nostalgic: Keep a picture of a loved one in your pocket or reminisce with that person.
3.Savor: Next time you're doing something you enjoy, focus your attention on it. Don't time travel -- be fully present.
Why else are these three great? They give you hope.
They give you hope for the future, they remind you of hope from the past, and they reveal the hope present all around you right now.
That's not a silly Hallmark card platitude. There's science behind hope.
Research shows your level of hope predicts future achievement better than intelligence, grades or personality. It actually predicts law school GPA better than the LSAT.
...Kevin Rand and his colleagues found that hope, but not optimism, predicted grades in law school above and beyond LSAT scores and undergraduate grades.
And, of course, hope makes you happy.
Philip R. Magaletta and J. M. Oliver measured hope, self-efficacy, and optimism and found that hope stood head and shoulders above the other vehicles.
We all need hope. And a little mental time travel is a simple cheap way to bring more of that special feeling into all of our lives. As Allan K. Chalmers once said:
The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
Savoring is Also A Time Machine
Savoring doesn't just need to happen in the moment.
Reminiscing about the past and anticipating the future are also powerful, proven ways to savor - and boost your mood.
People prone to joyful anticipation, skilled at obtaining pleasure from looking forward and imagining future happy events,
are especially likely to be optimistic and to experience intense emotions. In contrast, those proficient at reminiscing about
the past-looking back on happy times, rekindling joy from happy memories-are best able to buffer stress.
Reminiscing about past good times with others is like sharing good news. It improves your relationship and makes both of you
Researchers have found that mutual reminiscence-sharing memories with other people-is accompanied by abundant positive
emotions, such as joy, accomplishment, amusement, contentment, and pride.
Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, has a four point system that I love:
- Anticipate with pleasure,
- Savor the moment as I experience it,
- Express my happiness to myself or others, and
- Reflect on a happy memory.
- How much simpler can being happier get?
The cliches tell us to stop and smell the roses. The science agrees.
And when you survey 1200 people over 70 years old, who have had full lives, what advice do they offer?
I asked Karl Pillemer, author of 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans. Here's what they
.you should savor small, daily experiences and make the most of every day.
We all want to be happy and sometimes it seems so hard to get there. But the answer is simpler than we think and right in
front of us.
(Hey, stop skimming. Slow down. Appreciate the words.)
Seriously: stop and smell the roses today. Enjoy the little things in life.
Science shows us it really does make a difference.
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There's a lot we don't know about time travel. Whether it exists, for example.
Just for the sake of argument, let's assume time travel is theoretically possible. Even so, the fact that we aren't aware of any time travelers isn't particularly surprising. Making a big change far in the past, one that would conclusively announce to the world that time travel is real, could potentially change history such that the time traveler would never be born in the first place.
But according to a real study conducted by pair of physics professors at Michigan Technical University, there may be a way to locate time travelers-and it involves Twitter.
Released late last month, ?Searching the Internet for evidence of time travelers" attempts to find real-world Marty McFlys by searching for information online that couldn't have been posted without foreknowledge of the future.
?Were a time traveler from the future to access the Internet of the past few years, they might have left once-prescient content that persists today," the authors speculate. ?Alternatively, such information might have been placed on Internet by a third party discussing something unusual they have heard. Such content might have been catalogued by search engines such as Google...or Bing...or remain in posts left on Facebook...Google Plus...or Twitter."
For their analysis, the authors selected a pair of search terms that would have been completely unknown before a specific date in recent history and then looked for Internet traffic relating to those terms before the sets dates. The terms they looked at were ?Comet ISON", a comet first discovered on September 21, 2012, and ?Pope Francis," the name selected by Jorge Mario Bergoglio on March 16, 2013 when he ascended to the head of the Catholic Church.
The researchers dug through everything from Google data to Twitter hashtags in an attempt to find any mention of Comet ISON or Pope Francis in the time leading up to when those names became widely known.
Many search avenues were stymied by technological limitations. Namely, the ability to backdate Facebook status updates, making them appear as if they were posted earlier than they actually were. Additionally, Google Trends only shows results for search terms that have already received a large amount of interest, which makes it hard to find a time traveler's single post predicting Pope Francis would be named Esquire's Best Dressed Man of the Year.
In addition to looking for evidence of time travelers online, the researchers also reached out to any potential time travelers directly by writing a post on an online message board asking people from the future to tweet using one of two pre-specified hashtags before a certain date that had already occurred. The hashtags (#ICanChangeThePast2 and #ICannotChangeThePast2) were aimed at letting time travelers tell the researchers about the nature of time travel and whether actions taken while traveling in the past can change events in the future.
Famed physicist Stephen Hawking attempted something similar in 2012 by throwing a party for time travelers but only sending out invitations after the fact. ?I sat there a long time," Hawking told an interviewer, ?but no one came."
Sadly, the reachers looking for time travelers on the Internet turned up similarly empty-handed on all fronts. No convincing prescient information was located anywhere on the Internet about Pope Francis or Comet ISON, and no one tweeted using the specified hashtags before the request to do so was posted.
?Although the negative results reported here may indicate that time travelers from the future are not among us and cannot communicate with us over the modern day Internet, they are by no means proof," the researchers wrote, noting that it's possible a time traveler's changing the past in any way could "violate some yet-unknown law of physics."
Or maybe time travelers just aren't all that interested in the new pope.
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