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7 Facts about Happiness

7 scientifically proven facts about happiness that will help you achieve it more often

Author: Irine Aghapishvili, Specialist in Chinese Metaphysics

1.Close relationships influence well-being more than money
Money is important for happiness, but income level is not the determining factor. This conclusion was reached by American scientists who, for 80 years, followed the lives of 268 male Harvard students and their 1,300 descendants. Some study participants became successful businessmen and doctors, others faced mental disorders and alcohol addiction. In addition, the sample included 456 residents of the Boston metropolitan area in the 1970s.

It turned out that close relationships are largely important for human well-being. They make you happier, help delay health problems, and influence life expectancy more than social class or genetics. It is not just the existence of relationships that is important, but their quality. Thus, people who had a happy marriage at the age of 80 reported that their mood did not worsen even on days when they felt severe pain. Those who considered their marriage unhappy, on the contrary, experienced more acute emotional and physical suffering.

These findings support those of another study. Thus, people in marriage or serious relationships more often answered that they were satisfied with life.

2.Doing nothing affects happiness just as negatively as being busy
Heavy workload, household chores and other chores can exhaust you and deprive you of the opportunity to do what you really want. But too much free time sometimes affects your mood just as bad as its lack. This conclusion was reached by scientists who studied more than 35 thousand Americans. They found that people who have a lot of free time sometimes feel even worse than those who are constantly in a hurry to get somewhere. The reason is a lack of feeling of productivity.

The best thing to do is to find a balance between busyness and relaxation. If you have a lot of time, for example after being fired or retiring, think about how you can fill it. For example, executive and author John M. Jennings recommends meeting other people more often, volunteering, or learning a new skill.

3.People are probably happiest when they are young and old.
Researchers suggest that happiness moves along a U-shaped curve. Children feel the best; after the age of 18, the feeling of well-being begins to decrease and reaches its lowest point by the age of 40. But around age 50, happiness levels can rise again. Similar data were obtained in 145 countries of the world - both the richest and the poorest. In Russia, the highest level of happiness is recorded among young people under 30 and wealthy people.

There are explanations for the existence of the U-shaped curve. In youth, people have a lot of hopes, but with maturity comes disappointment that not all dreams come true. In old age, it is easier to accept this fact and begin to enjoy the life that is. However, the theory also has critics - they argue that there is not enough research yet for such global conclusions.

4.Simple actions like dancing or buying gifts can boost your happiness.
The level of happiness largely depends on such global things as having healthy relationships and goals in life. But more mundane things can also influence your feeling of well-being. For example, you can buy flowers or surround yourself with a scent that brings back pleasant memories. Dancing can also help, and it doesn’t require mastering complex steps. Thus, in one study it was found that people who practiced ecstatic dance for five years, that is, moved freely to the rhythm of music, were more satisfied with life than those who just started attending classes.

5.Mindfulness practices can help you feel better.
“Mindfulness” and are aimed at ensuring that a person concentrates on the moment, without worrying about the past or future. Developing this skill is beneficial: mindfulness can reduce psychological stress and increase feelings of satisfaction in life.

Try starting with simple practices like body scanning. Lie on your back with your legs extended and your arms at your sides, palms up. Slowly and gradually focus your attention on every part of your body, from your toes to your head. Try to notice any sensations and thoughts associated with a certain area.

Another option is walking meditation. Find an open space and start walking slowly, focusing on your body movements. Doing the exercises may be difficult at first. But if you practice them regularly for six months, it will become easier to concentrate.

6.What we drink and eat really matters
People who drink more water may have a lower risk of developing anxiety and depression. Thirst, on the other hand, leads to feelings of tension and fatigue. There are no exact recommendations for the amount of fluid - it is important to focus on sensations. For example, a person who has worked out or walked in the heat may need more water than someone who has sat in a cool office all day.

Scientists suggest that fluctuations in sugar levels can also lead to fatigue and irritability. To prevent this from happening, it is advisable to eat foods with protein and fiber more often. They have a low glycemic index, so they have little effect on blood sugar levels. And it is better to limit the consumption of refined carbohydrates - they can provoke a sharp jump in this indicator. These products include white bread, pasta, cookies, cakes, candies, and sweet soda.

7.Happiness levels are influenced more by the environment than by genetics
Some people find it easier to maintain a good mood than others. But genetics don't play a decisive role in how we feel. It determines 30–40% of the differences in the level of happiness between people. The rest can be explained by each person's unique experiences and environmental influences.

People who live closer to nature feel happier than those who live in densely populated urban areas. But even if you're not ready to move to the suburbs, you should at least start going to the park regularly for a walk. Brief exposure to nature can lead to positive emotions and influence behavior, such as increasing the desire to exercise and interact with others.


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