The truth about Happiness.... (numbers included)

Hey there friend! I have always been quite interested in all types of research and studies regarding happiness and life as well as health and lifestyles... and once in a while I come across an article like this one by CNN's David Martin (found HERE). It's interesting because, for examble, us bloggers look at images and inspiration and quotes at other Blogs because we like the way it makes us feel... at least I do. Anyway, here's the article!

The next time you are deciding between ice cream and cake, buying a car or taking a trip to Europe, accepting a new job or keeping your old one, you should remember two things: First, your decision is rooted in the desire to become happy -- or at least happier than you are now. Second, there's a good chance the decision you make will be wrong.
Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert summed up our failings this way: "People have a lot of bad theories about happiness."
It's not for lack of trying. The Declaration of Independence affirms that we have an inalienable right to pursue happiness, and it's something we do with a vengeance.

Americans will spend $750 million on self-help books this year and more than $1 billion on motivational speakers. More than 100 colleges now offer classes in positive psychology -- the science of happiness. With all those resources focused on achieving happiness, we should all be brimming with joy.

So where do we go wrong? Gilbert, author of the recent book "Stumbling on Happiness," blames our culture, our genes and our imagination.
Our culture implores us to buy bigger, newer, better things, but research shows "stuff" does not buy happiness. By and large, money buys happiness only for those who lack the basic needs. Once you pass an income of $50,000, more money doesn't buy much more happiness, Gilbert said.
"When you follow people throughout their days, as they're going about their normal activities, people are about as happy interacting with their children, on average, as when they're doing housework. They're much less happy than when they're exercising, sleeping, grocery shopping, hanging out with friends," Gilbert said. "Now, that doesn't mean they don't occasionally create these transcendent moments of joy that we remember as filling our days with happiness."
Finally, our imaginations fail us, Gilbert said, because when we envision different futures we see either perpetual gloom or happily ever-after scenarios. In fact, neither unhappiness nor joy last as long as we expect. As you've probably guessed, winning the lottery will not guarantee a life of bliss.
So what makes us happy? In general, the older you get the happier you get -- until you reach very old age.
According to a Pew Research Center survey, the happiest age group is men 65 and older; the least happy: men 18 to 29.

The survey also found:
Married people are happier than singles.
College grads are happier than those without a college degree.
People who were religious are happier than those who aren't.
Sunbelt residents are happier than other U.S. residents.

Image via: TIME
Nancy Segal, a professor at California State University, Fullerton, has spent her professional career studying twins and happiness. We all have an innate level of happiness, Segal said. The best we can do is boost our happiness a little bit above this natural "set point."
With that in mind, Segal said we should pass on buying lottery tickets and find small things we can do every day that bring us joy, whether it's going for a walk or cooking a meal or reading a book.

(I hear that Nancy!!!)

Robert Biswas-Diener is called the Indiana Jones of positive psychology because he has traveled the globe looking at happiness in different cultures.
"happiness from the most traditional cultures to the most modern depend heavily on close family and other human relationships".

If you want to do a better job predicting how happy something will make you, said Gilbert, the Harvard professor, you need to remember we are not so different when it comes to happiness.
"If I wanted to know what a certain future would feel like to me I would find someone who is already living that future," he said. "What we know from studies is not only will this increase the accuracy of your prediction, but nobody wants to do it," he said. "The reason is we believe we're unique. We don't believe other people's experiences can tell us all that much about our own. I think this is an illusion of uniqueness."

And if you're trying to decide between the new car and the trip to Europe, Gilbert said take the trip. "Part of us believes the new car is better because it lasts longer. But, in fact, that's the worst thing about the new car," he said. "It will stay around to disappoint you, whereas a trip to Europe is over. It has the good sense to go away, and you are left with nothing but a wonderful memory."

Finally, some quotes:

"Happiness belongs to the self-sufficient"

"Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others"

"When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace"
The Dalai Lama

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