10 Interesting Facts About Happiness
vemuda.com - Happiness is a subject that has been the central interest of countless philosophers, scientists, psychologists, and even economists over the centuries.
But what is it exactly? Is it a feeling? A state of mind? A choice? Although everyone has a different definition of what it means to be happy, it’s an important element in our lives; that much is certain.
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And while the pursuit of happiness is a deeply personal journey, there are some things that all of us can learn from.
In this post, we share with you 10 facts about happiness so you can apply these insights to improve your life!
1. Happiness Follows a U-Shaped Pattern Throughout Our Lifetime
Research shows that we experience the greatest levels of happiness in early adulthood when we have little responsibility and are surrounded by loving friends and family.
However, our happiness dwindles in our 30’s and 40’s since we tend to focus more on obligations rather than enjoyment. So much happens during this time!
Buying a home, getting married or getting divorced, building careers, changing careers or raising children.
But once we hit around the age of 60, our priorities start shifting again. This time toward enjoyment, rather than obligation or responsibility.
Our happiness levels increase as life isn't so stressful anymore and we feel secure about our place in the world.
2. Winning The Lottery Doesn't Make People Any Happier
Most people would agree that winning the lottery would make them happier. But studies show evidence to the contrary.
People who win large sums of money don't subsequently become any happier than they were before winning.
Sure, initially they experience an increase in happiness, but within months, their life satisfaction goes back down to where it was before they won.
It seems that while money can buy happiness to a point, big windfalls don't usually do much in terms of changing your character or how you perceive yourself and the world around you.
3. People with Kids Are Not Necessarily Happier
Having children can be a huge source of joy. But contrary to popular belief, it doesn't automatically translate to happiness.
For example, one study found that folks with no children reported being just as happy as those with children and in some cases, even happier.
Another study found that parents were less satisfied with their lives overall than those without kids.
One possible explanation is that raising children can be extremely challenging, especially considering all the effort it takes to keep up with their needs.
Not to mention the fact that kids will grow up and leave at some point or perhaps stay home forever.
4. Pet Owners Are Reportedly Happier Than Those Without Pets
The presence of a happy animal in your home can be a constant source of joy. Or at least, it can be for most people who aren't allergic to fuzzy creatures.
The unconditional love and companionship of our furry friends can contribute to our happiness and well-being, as well as our sense of safety and security.
Pet owners also tend to be healthier in general as they're more likely to exercise regularly and less likely to suffer from depression.
5. We're Less Happy On Our Birthdays
If you feel a little blah on your birthday, it could be because of some psychological quirks and you're definitely not alone.
People tend to view their birthdays as benchmark moments that allow them to compare themselves with what they thought their lives would be at this age versus what it actually is.
Unfortunately, this comparison is often disheartening for many, especially those in their 30's.
Upon closer inspection, we're not always as happy with our current situation as we are when we're just living moment to moment.
6. Floral Scents Can Make You Happy
While they’re nice to look at, you may not think that flowers have anything to do with actual happiness; but studies prove otherwise.
The same natural extracts that give flowers their fragrance have been shown to have positive effects on the mind and body.
Floral scents activate the limbic system, which is a part of the brain that controls emotions.
Researchers have found that floral scents affect the amygdala, the area of the brain responsible for controlling emotional reactions. They do so by decreasing negative emotions like fear, and increasing positive ones like joy.
7. Anticipation Can Make You Happier Than the Experience Itself
Often, the happiest moments in life are when we're looking forward to something. As it turns out, anticipation is a big part of happiness.
It might seem counterintuitive, but researchers have found that waiting for something can actually be more pleasurable than experiencing it.
And this is especially true for material possessions. We're way more excited when we’re about to get something, than we are once we actually have it.
Getting too excited about something can often have an adverse effect. Think of how many times you've been let down by a highly-anticipated movie!
8. Unhappy People Think About Themselves More Than Happy People Do
Unhappy people tend to be more self-focused and they spend a lot of time thinking about their needs, desires, and personal problems.
In contrast, happy people spend more time thinking about other people and their relationships with them. They are also more likely to help others out when they can.
Thus, it goes without saying that there's also a direct correlation between the quality of relationships and happiness.
Since unhappy people are overly focused on themselves, they have a hard time forging meaningful relationships with others and, as a result, they can become lonely over time; while happy people have more meaningful relationships in general, and their social circles tend to become even stronger and happier as time goes on.
9. People with Hourly Wages Are Happier Than Those on a Salary
The fact that workers on hourly wages report greater happiness than those on salary may come as a surprise to many, but there's a good reason for this.
They get paid more for working more; whereas salary earners only get the same amount of money regardless of how many hours they put in or what their performance is like.
People who get paid hourly also seem to have more control over their time and can plan their lives better since they are not always thinking about work.
Those who are on a salary, however, tend to think about their job all the time. And you don't need a doctorate in psychology or economics to predict that this nonstop focus on one’s career will not make for a very joyous life.
10. People Who Are Happy Tend to Live Longer Than Those Who Are Unhappy
Having a sunny perspective can actually add years to your life! Research shows that people who are cheerful and have a positive outlook in general, have a better shot at living longer because they're not putting as much stress on themselves.
An unhappy person's physiology however, reacts differently to stressful events or unpleasant situations.
When stressed, the body releases certain hormones; and if this happens often enough and over long periods, it takes a toll on the body, which can lead to various physical ailments including high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
We hope you enjoyed our list of ten interesting facts about happiness. If nothing else, these facts might just inspire you to spend a little more time thinking about your own happiness, and how to increase it.
Thanks for reading!