Why Bother to Find Happiness?


A smiley by Pumbaa, drawn using a text editor.

Happy people have many advantages in life. But can you choose to find happiness or should you be content with where you are?

Gerald is someone I know who is not happy. If you ask him why he is not happy he then replies:

“Life is not a happy place to be.”

If I ask him if he believes that he can be happy he says:

“What’s the point of being happy. I’ll remain sad and learn to like it.

So are there any real advantages of being happy, or is angst the place to be?

The has been lots of research into happiness, mainly amongst Positive Psychologists. This research has shown that:

  • Happy people have more friends and social support
  • The marriages of happy people tend to last longer
  • At work happy people find that their colleagues are more willing to help and assist them
  • Happy waiters get better tips
  • Happy people watch less TV!

Gerald watches a lot of TV and fits into the profile found by sociologists at the University of Maryland who concluded that unhappy people watch more TV, while people who describe themselves as very happy spend more time reading and socializing.

“TV doesn’t really seem to satisfy people over the long haul the way that social involvement or reading a newspaper does,” says University of Maryland sociologist John P. Robinson, the study co-author and a pioneer in time-use studies. “It’s more passive and may provide escape – especially when the news is as depressing as the economy itself. The data suggest to us that the TV habit may offer short-run pleasure at the expense of long-term malaise.”

There is a myth that you cannot choose to be happy, but again research has shown that happiness is a personal choice. Gerald chooses to be sad. You can choose to be happy.

If you choose to be happy then a good place to start is by reading the free book: “Designing a Happy Life”. This is a bonus available when you get the “How to Manage Stress”. There is no charge for this.

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