Scientists Discover What Makes Us Happy

October 7, 2010 by  
Filed under Personal Development

I have always been fascinated by what makes us all happy. After all isn’t that one of the big brass ring’s in life we all strive for? If someone walked up to you and gave you a million dollars or 10 million dollars would that make you truly happy? I’m sure for a certain period of time the answer would be yes, but I’m talking about real happiness for the long run.

I have in fact met millionaires that are miserable and a few that do seem happy and satisfied. Yes, money can make us all happy and I don’t want to discard the big buck, but I’m talking long term deep down happiness and satisfaction with life and living. And that’s what interest’s me. Lets take a look at what the scientists have to say.

A study published online Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides evidence on what makes us happy.

Researchers from Australia, the Netherlands and Germany scoured data from thousands of German adults who were tracked for a quarter-century, from 1984 to 2008. Each year, they answered questions about their families, their careers, their health, their social activities and their “life satisfaction.”

Based on all this data, the researchers concluded that these things (in no particular order) contribute to happiness:
• Having an emotionally stable spouse
• Prioritizing altruistic goals like “helping other people” and “being involved in social and political activities”
• Prioritizing family (and, for women, having a spouse who prioritizes family goals is an added bonus)
• Having an active social life
• Regular exercise

And these things detract from happiness:
• Having a neurotic spouse
• Prioritizing “success and material goods”
• Working much more or much less than you’d ideally like (though being unemployed or underemployed is worse than being overworked)
• For men, being underweight
• For women, being obese
Here’s how the researchers summed up their findings: “Results showing that long-term happiness can be substantially affected by individual choices are good news, not only for economists but also for governments and humankind.”
There you go. A quick snapshot of what makes us happy. What about you? What makes you happy? I would like to know.

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One Response to “Scientists Discover What Makes Us Happy”
  1. Doreen Mary Bray says:

    Happiness is a state of mind. No one can ‘make’ us happy, nor is it anyone else’s job. We need to ‘choose’ it for ourselves each and every day. Outside circumstances can bring temporary bouts of happiness, but that form is subject to the whims of the mind as it tries to find satisfaction in external things in the attempt to fill what is missing deep inside. True happiness comes from a mind in peace. A mind that doesn’t use the external ups and downs as it’s gauge of self worth. A mind whose value lies in life itself finding happiness, beauty and freedom first and foremost, within.
    Purposefully Joy Filled, Doreen

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