What Makes a Human Happy?
People have always been interested in this question “What makes a human happy?” Psychologists around the world have been studying this problem for many years.
The aim of psychiatrists was to bring their patients from a negative and suffering state to normal. Psychologist Martin Seligman was the first one to suggest the idea that the absence of mental disorders should not be considered mental health. Neutral normal condition isn't yet the mental health. Mental health should be the kind of condition when an individual feels elated and satisfied.
But what are the enabling conditions that make people flourish?
Well, the whole number of things.
The youth, one might think. No, not at all. In fact, older people are more satisfied with their lives than the young ones. Older people are less inclined to a bad mood.
What about education? No again. Neither a good education nor a high IQ brings people happiness.
Maybe watching TV makes us more satisfied with our lives? Not even close. People who spend more than three hours a day in front of TV, especially watching soap operas, are less happy comparing to those who don't watch TV at all.
Money? A little bit. If people have enough money to satisfy their basic needs, additional income helps little to raise their mood.
Marriage? It depends… But in general, married people are happier than the singles.
Religious faith lifts people's spirit indeed. But it is hard to say if it's because of the God or a sense of community.
May be friends can make us happier? Certainly, yes! Professor Seligman carried out a research in 2002. The results showed that students with the highest level of happiness and satisfaction and the least number of symptoms of depression have very strong ties with their friends and family and spend much time together.
Professor Seligman says in order to be happier and satisfied with your life, you need to work on your communicative skills and relationships with others. No doubt, friendship inspires us and makes our lives worth living.
Professor Ruut Veenhoven from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam manages the World Database of Happiness. It is a great archive that contains the research findings from all over the world. Veenhoven points out that people who drink alcohol every day are happier than those who don't. People aged between 30 and 50 are less happy than others. Perhaps, it is because at that age we have little freedom and a lot of responsibilities.
One more fact is that people are happier if they have a job that gives them some independence and won't tie them up.
After all, everything depends on a person. If you want to be happy, start from coming to love yourself, take care of your body, never bear a grudge, and spend more time with friends and family, learn to cope with stress, practice acts of kindness and try to feel deeply each moment of your life and there's no doubt you'll feel much happier!