“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.
"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).”
The Science of Well Being
Health and Happiness
As anybody who has experienced the euphoria that comes after a long run—or even a restorative nap—can attest, health and happiness make for obvious bedfellows. But medical research tends to prioritize things that aren’t working, so we know far more about the link between negative emotions and physical illnesses than the reverse. It’s been proven, for instance, that long-term stress and fear can lead to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. But what exactly is happiness, and how can it change our bodies for the better?
Doctors and public health experts who belong to a controversial new school of thought suggest that looking at only one half of the mind-body connection is shortsighted. A growing branch of research shows that there are very real links between happiness and physical well-being—and those in this field say a further understanding of this dynamic could be key to solving some of our most pressing health problems. Happier people have better immune systems, fewer heart problems, and lead longer lives. Last year, a study found a link between those who reported feeling a sense of purpose in life and a reduced incidence of sleep disturbances. Of course, a bad night’s sleep will not kill you, but a greater purpose in life is also associated with reduced likelihood of having a stroke, developing Alzheimer’s disease, or becoming disabled.
For a long time, the medical community thought of a positive mindset simply as the absence of a negative one. But now, Harvard’s newly opened Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness is devoted to studying this subject and mapping its nuances. And people like the center’s codirector Laura Kubzansky, a professor of social and behavioral sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, are working to tease apart the different kinds of happiness (or “positive psychological well-being,” as scientists call it), and their respective benefits. These sub-categories of mental wellness include optimism, resilience, connectedness, vitality, and purposefulness. Happiness appears to be some part genetic, and also shaped by positive life circumstances such as social support, employment, and education.
“I’m interested in prevention, rather than fixing things after they’ve gone wrong,” Kubzansky says. “While I come from a background of looking at the bad stuff, like stress and anxiety and PTSD, I became interested in looking at the positive psychological states that confer some benefit above and beyond not being depressed. We need to understand, what is optimal functioning and how do we get there? Otherwise we are not going to be able to fully understand the deficits.”
How are they going to do this? The center's funding—including $21 million from the Chinese Lee Kum Kee family, who built their fortune on oyster sauce—will go towards numerous studies, the results of which are sure to make headlines in years to come. “To prove to skeptics that positive psychological wellbeing is truly causally contributing to improved physical health—that’s our number one goal,” Kubzansky says. Another big priority is communication, so that the center's findings move beyond the confines of academic journals and help governments set policies that will ward off large-scale health issues.
In the meantime, how can we improve our own sense of happiness? Kubzansky and her codirector K. “Vish” Viswanath—a professor of health communication at Harvard’s School of Public Health—are reluctant to offer advice this early. But one theme Viswanath is excited about is the positive role of friendship—or social capital, as he calls it. “It’s an unfortunate term that suggests money, but it’s actually the product of relationships between two people, and it matters a lot to our well-being,” he says. Those with positive personal relationships are more likely to take care of themselves, he notes. He is also fascinated by research showing links between a sense of purpose and lower mortality and decreased cardiovascular risk.
“It sounds like such a pat formula, but the notion of having a purposeful life geared toward something larger than you is enormously beneficial,” Viswanath says. “People ask me why I work all the time, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
This is a fascinating report on happiness
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11 Habits of Supremely Happy people
Happiness is synthetic—you either create it, or you don’t. Happiness that lasts is earned through your habits. Supremely happy people have honed habits that maintain their happiness day in, day out.
Chief Happiness Officer needed
Explorating Well Being
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.
Tal Ben-Shahar: The Secret to Happiness
Six Tips for Happiness
Advice from Tal Ben-Shahar.
Everyone wants to be Happy
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.
Gratitude as a Gateway to Presence
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.
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What makes a good life? A good life is built on good relationships
A new study tries to unpick what makes people happy and sad
The authors found that in the three rich countries mental illness was the strongest predictor of misery. With all other variables held constant, people who had visited a doctor recently with emotional-health problems were 10.7 percentage points more likely to be extremely unhappy than those who were not—roughly twice the impact of being poor. On one hand, this correlation should come as little surprise: people seeking treatment for depression are by definition unhappy. However, the study also included people suffering from stress or anxiety in this group. In Indonesia, mental health is also an important factor, though less so than employment.
How's Life? 2015 Measuring Well-being
How’s Life? describes the essential ingredients that shape people’s well-being in OECD and partner countries. It includes a wide variety of statistics, capturing both material well-being (such as income, jobs and housing) and the broader quality of people’s lives (such as their health, education, work-life balance, environment, social connections, civic engagement, subjective well-being and safety). The report documents the latest evidence on well-being, as well as changes over time, and the distribution of well-being outcomes among different groups of the population