Scientists and common people all over the world wonder what makes us happy. Is it money and fame, or is it friends, family and healthy life?
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Many people think that money can solve every problem they have. They believe that if they had more money they would afford everything they want and only then they would be happy. But it does not work like this. It is a well-known fact that the more people earn the more they spend. It happens because having received more money we want to buy things that are more expensive and so we do. We spend all the money we have and then we are broke again and again we feel miserable.
What makes us happy then? Maybe fame?
Looking at celebrities, we believe that they are extremely happy. They have everything they want, people love them, respect them, we envy them. But if we had a chance to look at the life of famous people from inside, we would understand that their life is not as happy as it seems. Do you remember Kurt Cobain, Alexander McQueen or Robin Williams? They had everything that a famous person should have – fame, respect and love of other people, but anyway we know that they were not actually happy with their lives. If you are famous you are even more stressed than an average person, because if you are famous you should make an effort to be interesting to other people and also you have to be responsible for the trust of your fans. That’s why being famous is not equal to being happy.
Maybe friends and family would make us happier?
In 2008, American scientists James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis studied the phenomenon of happiness and its causes. They found out that if the other people around you are happy you also feel happy. They highlight that people who are around us – our friends and family – influence our state of mind a lot. We spend a lot of time with the members of our family and our friends; we can talk to them, share ideas and just enjoy our time. Compare it with your feelings when you are alone for a long time. Usually you feel down, miserable and worthless. But when you are with people you feel much better and it is not important what personality type you are.
Happiness is contagious. One study showed that if your friend or relative living in one and a half kilometers from you is happy the likelihood that you will be happy too increases by 15 percent.
Also in 2014, Nicholas Epley and Juliana Schroede claimed that talking to other people make us feel better and happier. They asked some people to talk with the strangers in a train while they were traveling to work. The results showed that people who talked to the others in the train felt happier than those who kept silent.
And what about our health?
It is not a secret that we cannot enjoy our life if we are ill. Some people even believe they would die when the temperature is slightly higher than it should be. So, it is important to take care of your health. Scientists also say that it works in an opposite way. If you are happy you feel better and happier. The research, published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, confirms this statement. The scientists found out that people who feel happy not only take better care of themselves and are ready to reach new heights, but also can affect and improve health of every part and system of their body.
Everybody in the world wants to be happy, but sometimes we choose wrong ways of reaching it. We want to earn as much money as possible, or achieve universal recognition. But the things that can make us happy are different. They are our friends and family, people, who are around us and with us, who are ready to support and help when we need it. And only when you become happy, you become healthy. And if you have good health you will be able to achieve everything you want.
The happiness-health connection – Harvard Health Publishing
The Surprising Truth About Friendships and Happiness – Happiness India Project
The Benefits of Social Support for happiness – The World Counts
What Makes People Happy – Changing Minds
What Really Makes A Person Happy? 9 Things Science Knows About What Really Keeps Us Content – BUSTLE
Steps to Happiness: Social Connection – SUSTAINABLESPU
Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network: longitudinal analysis over 20 years in the Framingham Heart Study – the bmj
Mistakenly seeking solitude – APAPsycNET
If, Why, and When Subjective Well-Being Influences Health, and Future Needed Research – Wiley Online Library