The happiness-health connection

Want to feel better and improve your health? Start by focusing on the things that bring you happiness. Scientific evidence suggests that positive emotions can help make life longer and healthier.

But fleeting positive emotions aren’t enough. Lowering your stress levels over a period of years with a positive outlook and relaxation techniques could reduce your risk of health problems.

Pathways to happiness

In an early phase of positive psychology research, University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman and Christopher Peterson of the University of Michigan chose three pathways to examine:

  • Feeling good. Seeking pleasurable emotions and sensations, from the hedonistic model of happiness put forth by Epicurus, which focused on reaching happiness by maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain.
  • Engaging fully. Pursuing activities that engage you fully, from the influential research by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. For decades, Csikszentmihalyi explored people’s satisfaction in their everyday activities, finding that people report the greatest satisfaction when they are totally immersed in and concentrating on what they are doing — he dubbed this state of intense absorption “flow.”
  • Doing good. Searching for meaning outside yourself, tracing back to Aristotle’s notion of eudemonia, which emphasized knowing your true self and acting in accordance with your virtues.

Through focus groups and testing hundreds of volunteers, they found that each of these pathways individually contributes to life satisfaction.

Things that won’t make you happy

People tend to be poor judges of what will make them happy. Here are some widely held myths about what will bring happiness:

  • Money and material things. The question of whether money can buy happiness has, for more than 30 years, been addressed by the “Easterlin paradox,” a concept developed by economist Richard Easterlin. His research showed that people in poor countries are happier when their basic necessities are covered. But any money beyond that doesn’t make much difference in happiness level. This idea has been challenged periodically, as in 2008 when two University of Pennsylvania researchers analyzed Gallup poll data from around the world. They showed, in contrast to Easterlin’s work, that people in wealthier countries are happier in general. The two studies were not directly comparable in method, however. And Easterlin points out that the new study may be flawed by cultural bias, as people from different countries may have different ways of answering questions about wealth and happiness.

Children can be a tremendous source of joy and fulfillment, but their day-to-day care is quite demanding and can increase stress, financial pressures, and marital strife.

  • Youth. Being young and physically attractive has little or no bearing on happiness. In a study published by Richard Easterlin in 2006 in the Journal of Economic Psychology, not only did being young fail to contribute to happiness, but adults grew steadily happier as they moved into and through middle age. After that, happiness levels began to decline slowly as health problems and other life problems emerged.
  • Children. Children can be a tremendous source of joy and fulfillment, but their day-to-day care is quite demanding and can increase stress, financial pressures, and marital strife. When ranking their happiness during daily activities, mothers report being more happy eating, exercising, shopping, napping, or watching TV than when spending time with their children. In several studies, marital satisfaction declines after the first child is born and only recovers after the last child leaves home. Personal relationships of all types are important, however. In studies, being married, having more friends, and having sexual intercourse more often are all moderately or strongly associated with happiness.

How do you know if you’re in flow?

  • You lose awareness of time. You aren’t watching the clock, and hours can pass like minutes. As filmmaker George Lucas puts it, talent is “a combination of something you love a great deal and something you can lose yourself in — something that you can start at 9 o’clock, look up from your work and it’s 10 o’clock at night … .”
  • You aren’t thinking about yourself. You aren’t focused on your comfort, and you aren’t wondering how you look or how your actions will be perceived by others. Your awareness of yourself is only in relation to the activity itself, such as your fingers on a piano keyboard, or the way you position a knife to cut vegetables, or the balance of your body parts as you ski or surf.
  • You aren’t interrupted by extraneous thoughts. You aren’t thinking about such mundane matters as your shopping list or what to wear tomorrow.
  • You are active. Flow activities aren’t passive, and you have some control over what you are doing.
  • You work effortlessly. Flow activities require effort (usually more effort than involved in typical daily experience). Although you may be working harder than usual, at flow moments everything is “clicking” and feels almost effortless.

Source : www.health.harvard.edu

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Nepal, Third In The List Of Happiest Country In South Asia

Pakistan is the happiest country in South Asia, according to the global happiness survey from the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

Pakistan, which ranks 67 in the world, is followed by Bhutan (95) and Nepal (100). Nepal climbed one step from last year. Afghanistan and India were at the bottom two in the happiness index at 154 and 140 respectively. Bangladesh and Sri Lanka succeed Nepal with a score of 125 and 130 in the global happiness index.

Finland has once again been ranked as the happiest country in the world. The Nordic nation received the accolade for the second year in succession in the annual survey of global happiness from the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

The 2019 World Happiness Report concludes that many countries have seen great improvements in happiness in the last decade, with more countries growing happier than not.

Finland beat out 155 other countries for the title in the 2019 report, released on Wednesday. The report states that global data on national happiness and evidence from the emerging science of happiness shows that “the quality of people’s lives can be coherently, reliably, and validly assessed by a variety of subjective well-being measures, collectively referred to as ‘happiness.’”

The annual report is based on survey results from the preceding three years, although the surveys are not arranged in every country in the assessment on an annual basis.

Finland’s result in the 2019 ranking is encouraging, as its position is now even farther ahead of the second-ranked country, Denmark – leaving no doubt about its first-place position on the list. Finland’s happiness has been rising slowly but steadily since 2014, the report says.

Some of the factors going into the assessment include gross domestic product per capita, healthy life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom to make life choices, and perceptions of corruption.

The country that has taken the greatest leap compared to 2005-2008 figures is Benin, whose ranking in the 2019 report improved 50 places. Venezuela and Syria, on the other hand, are both ranked lower this year than the last.

In this year’s ranking, each of the Nordic countries fared well, with Austria moving up the list to break into the top ten and replace Australia.

The 2019 World Happiness Report concludes that many countries have seen great improvements in happiness in the last decade, with more countries growing happier than not.

The country that has taken the greatest leap compared to 2005-2008 figures is Benin, whose ranking in the 2019 report improved 50 places. Venezuela and Syria, on the other hand, are both ranked lower this year than the last.

Burundi, which was last on the list in 2018, has now climbed 5 spots to the 145th position.

2019 World Happiness Report

Top 10 Countries:

  • Finland
  • Denmark
  • Norway
  • Iceland
  • Netherlands
  • Switzerland
  • Sweden
  • New Zealand
  • Canada
  • Austria

Least 10 Countries

  • South Sudan
  • Central African Republic
  • Afghanistan
  • Tanzania
  • Rwanda
  • Yemen
  • Malawi
  • Syria
  • Botswana
  • Haiti

Source : www.ktm2day.com

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