Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Can you be too happy?

I read this article in Cognitive Daily about the risks of being too happy and wanted to share the experience with you. The article is based on statistical research on a massive database of data assembled from questionnaires to real people from dozens of countries worldwide. With all possible shortcomings a survey like this might have, nevertheless, the authors are capable of drawing a number of useful conclusions, albeit failing to define the fundamental question: Define Happiness!

They addressed the subject of happiness by simply asking 'in a scale of one to ten, where do you rate your state of satisfaction in your current lifestyle and experience'.

There are some interesting but not surprising conclusions they have scentifically drawn, nonwithstanding.

For instance, life satisfaction increases with income but there is a point beyond which this trend reverses... too much money does not necessarily make you happier.

On the other hand, too much education and involvement in state afairs and national politics (albeit from interest) does not necessarily contribute positively in you state of happiness. Reminds me of the Biblical saying "happy are those with poor spirits (or something like that)". The smarter you are the more likely you can't find fulfillment and happiness. Sounds fair.

Finally, there is a human endeavor that seems not to tail off the better it becomes... in other words, the level of happiness achieved increases proportionally with the factor itself. This is about personal relationships between partners. There is no level above which happiness decreases in an ever improving relationship. Again, not too abnormal to assume.

The article is more concerned about the so called optimal level of happiness, and how to achieve it. Like, a perfect partner relationship, not too much money and not too concerned with those monkeys running government in the countries we live in...

If you manage to read the article, take a look at some of the reader comments as well. Very valuable contributions if you ask me.

So, how about you? Do you consider yourself to be somewhat happy, quite happy, unhappy, or the happiest of men? To be or not to be (happy). That is the question...

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