Getting Curious About Curiosity Can Make You Happier

Getting Curious About Curiosity Can Make You Happier

Last month, we focused on happiness, why it is good for you, and how to add more of it to your life. This month, we want to explore some of the traits that are linked to happiness. One really effective (and fun) way to increase your happiness is to increase your curiosity.

“What is curiosity?” you might ask. According to Psych Central, curiosity is “a state of active interest or genuinely wanting to know more about something”. And curiosity has a number of brain, mood and health benefits:

  • If you are curious about something, you are likely to learn and remember it better. Research on how people’s brains reacted to learning new facts showed that if a person was interested and curious, not only did they remember information better, but they also had better memory for faces that they saw right after they read the fact. This suggests that if you are curious about things as you learn them, you are likely to do better on your next test!
  • Curiosity can lead to better social relationships. People who are interested may be more interesting to be with. Curious people are seen by the people around them as being good listeners and good conversationalists. So your friends will want to hang out with you both because you will be interested in what they have to say and because you will have lots of neat stuff to talk about. It’s a win-win!
  • If you are curious about doing new things, you may be less nervous. Trying new activities or meeting new people can be hard, especially for people who are a little anxious to begin with. But studies show that if you are genuinely interested in something new, you will be more likely to do it even if you are a little nervous.
  • Curiosity is linked to happiness. We said it last month, and we will say it again: people who are curious are happier! This may be because curious people are more open to experiencing new things, so they find more things that make them happy. Whatever the reason, finding a little more happiness in life is worth getting curious about!

Next week we will explore some ways to become more curious. For now, go out there and find out more about how make a food that you have always wanted to try or whether zombies really could exist. Let your curiosity be your guide!

Image: © Daniela Spyropoulou| Dreamstime.com

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Katherine Pears
Dr. Katherine Pears is a senior scientist at Oregon Social Learning Center (OSLC). She earned her Ph.D in clinical psychology and has worked with OSLC since 1998. Katherine is the principal investigator and co-developer of the Kids In Transition to Schools (KITS) program. Currently, she oversees all the clinical and research activities for KITS. When she’s not in her office, you’ll find Katherine in the kitchen whipping up her latest creation or outdoors hiking a scenic trail.

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