Stepping Inside Happiness
Meaning of Happiness
It can be as elusive to define happiness as it is to achieve it. Everyone wants to be happy and we call can say if we are or not, but can happiness truly be studied, defined and measured? Can we be happier by using this learning?
There are good reasons to do so, according to psychologists. Strengths and virtues enable communities and individuals to thrive with positive psychology. Psychology work includes resilience, positive emotions, studying strengths and happiness. However, psychologists believe that only a part of mental health is seen when strictly studying psychological disorders. By better understanding strengths that humans have, we can learn how to prevent and recover from disorders, as well as how to be happier.
Scientifically Measure Happiness
Can happiness really be studied and measured since it is so subjective? Researchers believe that we can honestly and reliably self-report happiness, as well as its increase and decrease. Isn’t your own happiness perception what really matters? Scientists CAN report it if it reported.
Sources of Happiness
People who are happier are more likely to be healthier and live longer lives, as well as more socially engaged and successful than those who describe themselves as not very happy. Can people change how happy they are and what causes happiness?
Three Basic Sources of Happiness
· Genetics- This includes personality and temperament
· Life Circumstances- Such as health and wealth
· Our Own Choices
Life Circumstances Importance Overestimated
Life circumstances importance has been overestimated in regards to how happy we are. People usually think that if you had a better job, more money or fell in love that they would be much happier. Sometimes it is underestimated how much control we are of our own happiness. Did you know that 50% of happiness is set by genes, 40% by your own actions and 10% circumstances in life that are beyond your control.
Cultivate Emotions that are Positive
Psychologists previously saw emotions of positivity as a sign of a happy individual, however, now they see that learning positive emotions can actually make us happier.
Some Positive Emotions Studied by Psychologists
Positive Effects of Positive Emotions
The "undo" effect. Stress can cause physical effects, such as a raised heartbeat and positive emotions “undo” some of those effects. During a study, those who experienced a positive emotion after experiencing stress had a heart rate that quickly returned to normal, whereas those who didn’t experience a positive emotion experienced a faster heart rate for a longer period of time.
Broaden and build. This theory shows how our outlook of life is broadened with positive emotions. Negative emotions such as fear and anger, help us safely depart from a threatening situation and narrows our focus. Positive emotions, however, such as interest, amusement, kindness and gratitude all allow our minds to explore what is around us and supply us the skills necessary to take action during moments of stress.
Fueling resilience. Positive emotions are considered to be “fuel” for challenges. In difficult and ordinary events, positive emotions help to find meaning in people. People who find meaning in life often leads to an increase in positive emotion, which turns into a greater ability to find purpose and meaning. This leads to better well-being.
The ratio of people’s positive and negative emotions have been analyzed in many situations, including marriages, individuals and work teams. The ratio was found to be three to one, positive to negative, to where people thrive and flourish.
Temperaments and genetics have a strong influence on a person’s happiness to a certain extent, however, there are choices and actions that can be made to create daily positive emotions, as well as greater happiness during a person’s lifetime.
Who is Happier?
There have been plenty more well-being and happiness data gathered by scientists. With this information, it is obvious who is happier:
· People who have a strong tie with friends and family tend to be much happier than those without a social network.
· Scientists can link happiness to certain personalities. Those with higher self-esteem and who are optimistic are more likely to be happy.
· Whether with children or not, married people are shown to be happier. It is unknown whether they are happier because of the marriage or because it is higher likely for happy people to get married.
· People who grew up with a two-parent, intact marriage tend to be happier than those who grew up with a divorced or high conflicted family.
· On a political point of view, Republicans are often happier than Democrats and liberals are less happy than conservatives.
· People who attend church are often happier than those who don’t.
· Younger people tend to have more anger, anxiety and negative emotions than seniors and middle-aged individuals. This is a fact over many years and does not reflect on the generational changes.
· People who have less money are less happy than those with enough money, however, more money doesn’t really make a difference.
· Men are happier than women by a small fraction, which is the opposite of how it used to be.
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