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Facts on Happiness

Happiness Set Point

We all have a particular happiness set point that describes our general level of happiness.

There was an experiment done with 2 people who have similar happiness set point. One person won lottery and the other got paralysed for life. Within an year, they came back to their Happiness Set Point. It is called Hedonic Adaption or getting used to.

Hence, changing exterior circumstances does not change our ‘’set’’ levels of happiness, changing our interior landscape, through training the mind, can.

Happiness can be trained because the very structure of our brain can be modified.

Does Money Buy Happiness?

Yes but….


There is a limit. Many researches have shown our happiness does rise with increased flow of money but after a certain point, it stays stagnant. The point is $75000 per annum.

They say money doesn’t bring happiness, but everyone still wants to prove it on themselves.

The point is – we must not compromise what brings true happiness for making more and more money. Lot of times, we get lost in our pursuit of making more money that we forget the things that bring happiness and well-being.

Research says

  • Spending on others increases your happiness than spending on yourself
  • Spending on experiences rather than on things brings more happiness.

Some people are so poor. All they have is money.

Money is important, but it alone can’t buy happiness. It is also important to enrich our lives with beautiful experiences.

The Happiest Countries

According to the 2019 World Happiness Report: Released annually on the International Day of Happiness, the World Happiness Report ranks countries based on their life satisfaction in the Gallup World Poll. Residents rate how satisfied they are with their lives on a scale of 0-10, from the worst possible life to the best possible life.

The world’s top ten countries ranked according to life satisfaction (World Happiness Report 2019)

  1. Finland (7.769)
  2. Denmark  (7.760)
  3. Norway  (7.554)
  4. Iceland  (7.494)
  5. The Netherlands  (7.488)
  6. Switzerland  (7.480)
  7. Sweden  (7.343)
  8. New Zealand  (7.307)
  9. Canada  (7.278)
  10. Austria  (7.246)

This year’s report also analyses how global happiness has changed over time, based on data stretching back to 2005. One trend is very clear: Negative feelings such as worry, sadness, and anger have been rising around the world, up by 27 percent from 2010 to 2018.

“We are in an era of rising tensions and negative emotions,” says economist Jeffrey D. Sachs. “These findings point to underlying challenges that need to be addressed.”

Happiness Inequality

This year’s report also analyses how global happiness has changed over time, based on data stretching back to 2005. One trend is very clear: Negative feelings such as worry, sadness, and anger have been rising around the world, up by 27 percent from 2010 to 2018.

“We are in an era of rising tensions and negative emotions,” says economist Jeffrey D. Sachs.

“These findings point to underlying challenges that need to be addressed.”

Happiness Inequality is the psychological parallel to income inequality: how much individuals in a society differ in their self-reported happiness levels—or subjective well-being, as happiness is sometimes called by researchers.

The authors have found troubling trends in happiness inequality. Since 2007, happiness inequality has been rising within countries, meaning that the gap between the unhappy and the happy has been getting wider. This trend is particularly strong in Latin America, Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Happiness and Gratitude

Measuring Gratitude

  • I have so much in life to be thankful for.
  • I am grateful to a wide variety of people.
  • As I get older I find myself better able to appreciate the people, events, and situations that have been part of my life history.

Gratitude predicts greater:

  • Happiness
  • Life Satisfaction
  • Optimism
  • More pro-social leadership
  • Greater relationship satisfaction

Enhances frequency & magnitude of enjoyment of pleasant, positive emotional experiences in the present moment – it amplifies the good.

Play

What is it?

  • Apparently purposeless
  • Voluntary
  • Inherently attractive (fun)
  • Feel free of time constraints
  • Diminishes consciousness of self
  • Improvisational

Function of Play

  • Teaches boundaries between the safe and the harmful or transgressive
  • Teaches skills
  • Identify formation
  • Knowledge of the physical world
  • Empathy/theory of mind

Flow

When you are in a state of flow, you:

  • Are completely focused on the task at hand;
  • Forget about yourself, about others, about the world around you;
  • Lose track of time;
  • Become more creative and productive.

Narratives

Two Forms of Narratives

  • ‘’Micro-narratives’’: Narrate your daily stresses and triumphs (e.g., through expressive writing exercising)
  • Telling the meta-narrative of your self and your life’s journey

Benefits of Narratives

  • More vivid and engaging narratives predict increased well-being later in life
  • More ‘’possible selves’’ buffers us against depression
  • Writing about ‘’Best Possible Self’’ increases health and happiness

Touch

The Social Functions of Touch

  • Provides feelings of reward
  • Reinforces reciprocity
  • Signals Safety
  • Soothes
  • Promotes Cooperation

Benefits of Touch Therapies

  • Increases weight of premature babies by 47%
  • Reduces depression in patients with Alzheimer
  • Doubles likelihood children will speak in class
  • Boosts library use and enjoyment

Optimistic people

  • Report higher levels of overall subjective well-being and happiness
  • Report higher levels of positive emotion

Laughter and Relationships

  • Laughter predicts relationship satisfaction, laughing together frequently is key to marital success
  • Shared laughter makes strangers feel closer to one another and people like strangers who laugh at their jokes.

Happiness and Compassion

  • Spending on others boosts happiness more than spending on self.
  • Supportive behaviour activates reward circuitry in the brain.
  • Volunteering leads to better life satisfaction and health.
  • Kind people are less lonely, have stronger immune system and better health overall.
  • People who volunteer have fewer aches and pains, less depression and better overall health.
  • Helping others protects from heart disease – twice as much as aspirin

Our natural, instant response is to contribute for others welfare rather than on ourselves. When we start to calculate, our contribution on others reduces.

Happiness and Self-Compassion

Self Compassion is associated with :

  • Lower level of anxiety and depression
  • Lower levels of cortisol (stress hormone) and increased heart-rate variability for self-soothing.
  • Less rumination, perfectionism and fear of failure
  • Better coping with stressors like academic failure, divorce, childhood maltreatment or chronic pain.
  • Greater willingness to validate their negative emotions, lower likelihood to supress them.
  • Self-compassion promotes psychological strengths such as
    • Wisdom
    • Curiosity and exploration
    • Happiness
    • Personal initiative
    • Optimism
    • Emotional Intelligence
  • Improved relationships
  • More empathy, altruism, perspective talking, and forgiveness
  • Sticking to one’s diet
  • Reduced smoking
  • Seeking medical treatment when needed
  • Exercising

Other Statistics

Happy People

  • On average, happy people are more successful than unhappy people at both work and love.
  • Happy people get better performance reviews, have more prestigious jobs, and earn higher salaries.
  • Happy people are more likely to get married, and once married, they are more satisfied with their marriages.
  • Happy people also tend to be healthier and live longer.
  • Happy people are more flexible, more able to see the big picture, and more creative.
  • Happy people are able to better cope with stress, challenge, and negative feelings.
  • Happy people tend to have more friends and be luckier in love.

Meditation

People who regularly meditate have proved to experience more positive emotions even if they started at a lower baseline of positive emotions than the control group who do no meditate.

Happiness and Health

  • Happiness protects your heart
  • Happiness strengthens your immune system
  • Happiness combats stress
  • Happy people have fewer aches and pains
  • Happiness combats disease and disability
  • Happiness lengthens our lives

“Friday increases happiness all around the world by 11%”😊

“Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy. There’s going to be stress in life, but it’s your choice whether you let it affect you or not.”

– Valerie Bertinelli

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