What is happiness?

It seems like an odd question, but is it? Do you know how to define happiness? Do you think happiness is the same thing to you as it is to others?

What’s the point of it all? Does it even make a difference in our lives?

In fact, happiness does have a pretty important role in our lives, and it can have a huge impact on the way we live our lives. Although researchers have yet to pin down the definition or an agreed-upon framework for happiness, there’s a lot we have learned in the last few decades.

To dive into the science of happiness, what it actually is, and why it matters, read on!


Non siamo mai stati più felici

Non siamo mai stati più felici.Secondo «Google Ngram Viewer», dal 1823 al Duemila, la parola «felicità», nei libri, ha registrato un crollo verticale, per poi tornare alla ribalta in questi ultimi anni, fino ad oggi che pare non si parli d’altro. Nel 2018 alla felicità sono stati dedicati festival letterari, d’arte e di pensiero, da «Libri Come» alla Biennale di Bangkok, al Tempo delle Donne del Corriere. C’è The Positive Lexicography Project, raccolta di parole felici dal mondo; il database con 100 mila momenti felici dell’Università di Tokyo. Negli Usa uno dei saggi più importanti dell’anno è La curva della felicità. Perché la vita migliora dopo i cinquant’anni, di Jonathan Rauch. A Catania si è appena conclusa la quarta edizione del Festival della Felicità Interna Lorda, sulla costruzione di un’economia più felice. Su Instagram, regno di Fomo e dei superlativi, l’hashtag #happy è uno dei più gettonati, con quasi 500 milioni di post. Perfino Papa Francesco, giorni fa e prima ancora nell’enciclica Laudato si’, sottolineava il diritto dell’essere umano a essere felice. E però poi nella musica una diciassettenne sbanca le classifiche con una canzone sulla paura d’essere felici, la Cherofobia, dal greco «chairo» (mi rallegro) e «phobos» (paura), sindrome diffusa tra adolescenti scettici e non solo. «Questa è la mia cherofobia», canta Martina Attili, «no, non è negatività, / questa è la mia cherofobia / fa paura la felicità». Un manifesto, insomma.

Why we don’t like to talk about money but should.

By Olga Miller

Money is a funny thing. The old saying tells us that it can’t buy happiness, but when we’re looking at a stack of bills, holidays we want to plan and what feels like an empty bank account, it’s hard to agree.

Money undeniably causes stress. It contributes to a large chunk of arguments in relationships. And despite its prevalence in our lives, it’s difficult for many people to speak comfortably about it.  

The reality is, money does not make us happy.

More here

Happy tips

Want to Be Happier and Less Stressed? Build a ‘Third Space’ Into Your Day

Il popolo più felice? I finlandesi, gli italiani salgono al 36esimo posto

Il popolo più felice del mondo? I finlandesi, secondo l’edizione 2019 del World Happiness Report. La classifica ha ai primi posti i Paesi scandinavi, con Danimarca e Norvegia seconda e terza sul podio, seguiti dall’Islanda, dai paesi Bassi, dalla Svizzera e poi da Svezia, Nuova Zelanda, Canada e Australia. Gli italiani sono (soltanto?) 36esimi. Rispetto al 2018 siamo migliorati (eravamo 47esimi). Agli ultimi posti i Paesi colpiti da guerre e da conflitti che durano da anni come la Siria, lo Yemen, l’Ucraina e il Sud Sudan.

Il rapporto, alla sua settima edizione annuale, valuta 156 Paesi in base alla percezione della felicità dei cittadini, registrata attraverso un’indagine curata dalla società di consulenza e statistica Gallup e con dati raccolti dal 2016 al 2018 . Redatto da professori molto noti quali professor John F. Helliwell dell’University of British Columbia and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research; Richard Layard, condirettore del Well-Being Programme presso il Centre for Economic Performance della LE; e Jeffrey Sachs, direttore del Sdsn e del Center on Sustainable Development dell’Earth Institute, con il supporto di diversi ricercatori indipendenti, il rapporto è stato prodotto dal Sustainable Development Solutions Network in partnership con la Fondazione Ernesto Illy. In Italia è stato presentato all’Università Bocconi il primo aprile, con la presenza di Sachs.

La ricerca della Felicità

La ricerca della felicità non è un obiettivo da affidare solamente al cittadino o che può dipendere dall’acquisto di beni e servizi sul mercato; la felicità delle persone deve essere il fine ultimo di una politica orientata  a prosperità e benessere collettivo.

È scritto nero su bianco nella nuova versione del “Global Happiness Report and Wellbeing” che per l’occasione aggiunge la parola “wellbeing” (benessere) al titolo del documento pubblicato lo scorso anno

Cosa possiamo imparare dal Report Annuale della Felicità

Increasingly, with globalisation, the people of the world are on the move; and most of these
migrants are seeking a happier life. But do they achieve it? That is the central issue considered
in this 2018 World Happiness Report

Constantly Imagining the Worst Case Scenario Is Called 'Catastrophising' — Here's How to Stop Your Mind from Doing It

By Lindsay Dodgson 

  • Some people always let their minds jump to the worst possible conclusions.
  • This is known as catastrophic thinking, or "catastrophising."
  • It's a habit people get into for various reasons, and it can be difficult to break.
  • But it can be done, by learning to be logical and calm, and having a support network of sensible people you can call when you feel out of control.

If your friend is about to board a plane, and your first instinct is to worry about it crashing down in flames, you may be prone to catastrophic thinking.

It's also known as "catastrophising," and it happens to many people at some point in their lives. It might be a result of your previous bad experiences that you can't shake, or it could be linked to mental health issues like anxiety or chronic depression.

According to Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist and columnist at the Telegraph, catastrophising is an unhelpful habit people fall into in some way.

"Nobody is born a catastrophiser," she told Business Insider. "Babies and not born catastrophising... it's a protective mechanism, because we think 'if I think the worst, then when the worst doesn't happen I'll feel relieved.'"

Unfortunately, life doesn't work this way. By thinking catastrophically, we are actually making things worse, because our unconscious mind doesn't distinguish emotionally between what we imagine and what really happens.

"You're living through an experience twice, and one of them is guaranteed to be bad, because you're thinking the worst," Blair said. "So in the end it really isn't very protective. It causes great anxiety, because the emotional side, the amygdala, it thinking that this is really happening, and it's terrible."

People may learn the habit of catastrophising because they've had a bad experience before that they didn't see coming. To protect themselves in the future, they start imagining the worst possible scenarios in every situation, because they don't want to be caught off-guard again.

They may think to themselves that going through the worst situation in their mind will mean they get it over and done with — but in reality, this isn't logical at all. Nobody can predict or prevent the future.

Other people catastrophise because it is what their parents did, and they copy the patterns of behaviour they saw growing up.

"You don't always have to have an experience that causes psychological problems," Blair said. "We tend to get a little hung up on that... but it could simply be because that's what you saw and that's what you copy."

Logic and a calm support network are the answer

Like any habit, catastrophising is hard to break. Habits are stubborn, and in many cases, people have behaved the same way for years, perhaps decades.

Blair said a bad habit is always ready to jump back into your life, especially when you get highly emotional. But the solution is to learn to be rational and calm.

For example, in the case of imagining a plane crash, Blair asks her clients to look at the statistics for airline crashes on their phone. Then, she tells them to look at the statistics for crashes with that particular airline.

"And I say ok, a minute ago you said you were 100% certain that this terrible thing was going to happen, what percent would you give it now? And it's always lower," she said.

People then tend to see how rewarding it is to focus on the logical answers, rather than letting their imaginations get carried away. The more impulsive you are, the more likely to are to slip back into old habits, Blair said, but it just takes practise and persistence to learn to slow down and go to logic first.

Another solution she recommended is making a list of your most calm and sensible friends, and telling them you may phone them once in a while, as you sometimes feel out of control.

"The best way to gain perspective [on your worries] is to talk with someone else and put it outside you," Blair said. "You don't have to rush to a therapist... but it's hard work. It takes a good season, a good three months, sometimes six months, to start to change a habit."

So the next time you sense yourself spiraling over the fact your parents are late and could have been in an accident, or even something smaller like the fact someone isn't texting you back, take a breath and try to think objectively. Also, be aware of the fact you're trying to change, because it's not easy to adjust our behaviour.

"You must be kind to yourself and patient, and recognise the more emotional you are the more likely you are to not remember to do it right," Blair said. "Then, when we're still and we're calm, and things are under regulation, we get a chance to be logical."

More from Business Insider:

7 phrases that will make you seem less confident at work

5 ways highly confident people handle rejection

The modern-day version of a thousand-year-old philosophy can help anyone be more confident


In a world whose absurdity appears to be so impenetrable, we simply must reach a greater degree of understanding among men, a greater sincerity.”

How much money it takes to be happy, according to science

Maybe money can buy happiness.

The average amount of annual income needed for a person to be generally satisfied with his or her life is $95,000, according to a recent analysis conducted by researchers at Perdue University. And it only takes $60,000 to $75,000 to attain emotional well-being.

"That might be surprising as what we see on TV and what advertisers tell us we need would indicate that there is no ceiling when it comes to how much money is needed for happiness," the study's co-author Andrew Jebb told the Perdue University News. "But we now see there are some thresholds."

The research team examined data collected from the Gallup World Poll of over 1.7 million people from 164 countries. The poll asked questions about life, satisfaction and well-being — what's referred to as "subjective well-being" — and found that the dollar amount necessary to achieve "income satiation" was about $95,000 on average.

Smartphone app might save you money, make car alerts irrelevant

"This amount is for individuals and would likely be higher for families," Jebb said.

But the numbers varied with each country's relative wealth. The study, published in Nature Human Behavior, found that $125,000 is needed to attain life satisfaction in Australia but only $35,000 is necessary in Latin America. About $105,000 met the mark in North America, $100,000 in Europe, $70,000 in Southeast Asia and $45,000 in Eastern Europe.

The study also found that people might want to consider freezing their earning level once they reach these salaries because the data showed that with greater wealth came reduced subjective well-being. They speculated that it wasn't necessarily a higher wage that led to lower life satisfaction, but the greater demands often associated with making more money.

"High incomes are usually accompanied by high demands (time, workload, responsibility, and so on),” the researchers wrote, “that might also limit opportunities for positive experiences (for example, leisure activities).”



Happy Links

Rich people experience happiness in a more self-centered way than poor people, study suggests

The Japanese concept of ikigai might be a better goal than happiness

Is American Happiness industrial Complex working? 

The different Meanings of HAPPINESS 

11 Habits of Supremely Happy people

Is Happiness Science the Next Health Frontier?



This is a fascinating report on happiness
among people with psoriasis. With over
100,000 subjects from around the world,
this work provides broad insights into the
impact of psoriasis.

10 Horrible Habits That Destroy Your Happiness

10 Horrible Habits That Destroy Your Happiness

We are all constantly in pursuit of happiness. Every day we make choices in life that affect how we feel and think about ourselves. We usually believe we are making good decisions that will bring us closer to a state of well-being. We naturally seek to avoid fear and create a comfortable life.

The only problem is that sometimes the choices we make actually increase our anxiety and despair. We fall into bad habits that hurt us and destroy our chances of finding lasting contentment.

You can stop the negative cycle and begin taking back your happiness by quashing these 10 horrible habits.

Six Tips for Happiness

Advice from Tal Ben-Shahar.

1. Give yourself permission to be human. When we accept emotions — such as fear, sadness, or anxiety — as natural, we are more likely to overcome them. Rejecting our emotions, positive or negative, leads to frustration and unhappiness. 

2. Happiness lies at the intersection between pleasure and meaning.Whether at work or at home, the goal is to engage in activities that are both personally significant and enjoyable. When this is not feasible, make sure you have happiness boosters, moments throughout the week that provide you with both pleasure and meaning. 

3. Keep in mind that happiness is mostly dependent on our state of mind, not on our status or the state of our bank account. Barring extreme circumstances, our level of well being is determined by what we choose to focus on (the full or the empty part of the glass) and by our interpretation of external events. For example, do we view failure as catastrophic, or do we see it as a learning opportunity? 

4. Simplify! We are, generally, too busy, trying to squeeze in more and more activities into less and less time. Quantity influences quality, and we compromise on our happiness by trying to do too much. 

5. Remember the mind-body connection. What we do — or don't do — with our bodies influences our mind. Regular exercise, adequate sleep, and healthy eating habits lead to both physical ad mental health. 

6. Express gratitude, whenever possible. We too often take our lives for granted. Learn to appreciate and savor the wonderful things in life, from people to food, from nature to a smile.

The investing upside of having more cash on hand than you need

In a paper called "How Your Bank Balance Buys Happiness: The Importance of 'Cash on Hand' to Life Satisfaction," researchers stacked up the bank account balances for nearly 600 Brits against their reported levels of happiness.

Turns out that liquidity makes us feel better.

"Holding investments and not being in debt are both associated with greater financial well-being, but having cash "on hand" is meaningful above and beyond those measures of wealth," wrote co-authors Peter Ruberton and Sonja Lyubomirsky of the University of California, Riverside, and Joe Gladstone at the University of Cambridge.

"While many individuals believe that increasing income or total wealth will improve their happiness, they may also benefit by building a financial buffer in their checking and savings accounts. We found this buffer to be associated with improved well-being regardless of how much a person earns, invests, or owes," wrote the academics.

Engineering Happiness

A Harvard psychologist explains why forcing positive thinking won’t make you happy


Orange Frog Workshop: Leading Positive Performance™ is an on-site experiential workshop that teaches the science of sustainable peak performance. The research is clear. Positive environments are performance enhancers. They are characterized by higher productivity, less turnover and more resilient cultures.

La Felicità è un diritto e noi la rendiamo disponibile a tutti. Anche alle PMI!

Se sei una piccola e media impresa italiana o non hai all’interno una funzione del Personale o della Formazione delle Risorse Umane ma vuoi portare la Felicità anche nella tua azienda senza spendere cifre innominabili, possiamo aiutarti attraverso un servizio di consulenza capace di offrirti soluzioni efficaci e low cost.

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