Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Jimmy Soul Was Wrong

Back in 1963, an artist named Jimmy Soul captured the top slot on the Billboard chart with a recording that stated that the key to lifelong happiness was for a man to marry an ugly woman. Of course, this was pre-women's liberation and pre-Civil Rights Act so one must take that historical perspective into account (and blame HIM, not me). Anyway, the concept of achieving happiness has long eluded researchers and teenagers alike. Experts come and go from Dr. Phil to Dr. Suess, and nobody really seems to know. The latest opinion comes from researcher Ruut Veenhoven, the director of the World Happiness Databas in Rotterdam.
Contrary to po;pular belief, Veenhoven found very little correlation between goals and happiness. In fact, he found that unhappy people were far more often concerned with goals...because they hadn't reached them and felt that happiness could be achieved if only...
He also found little correlation between seeing meaning in life and happiness! Grim stuff based on popular perceptions of what causes happiness.
So...what DID he find? Veenhoven discovered that involvement was far more important to achieving happiness than finding out the "why" concerning our existence. In addition, he feels that we CAN make ourselves happier because happiness changes over time. He used the elderly as an example: they are found to be wiser as well as happier (due to the wisdom, I suspect).
The following list is comprised of what Veenhoven found to be behaviors consistent with happiness:
1. Being in a long-term relationship.

2. Being politically active

3. Being active both at work and in free time.

4. going out for dinner.

5. Having close friendships (though more close friendships did not equal more happiness...number was irrelevant).

Veenhoven found that people who had to commute an hour to get to work were much less happy than those who did not ( I could have postulated that).
he also noted that sadness is not a bad thing; in fact, he feels that 10% of our time should be spent in sadness in order to help us focus on changing negative habits.
Like other lists, he also has one that lists the top ten countries for happiness. Guess what? The United States is not on that list...something I could also have guessed. Want to live in your "happy place"? Move to Costa Rica!


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