The bottom line:
- Increase Gratitude and Charity.
- Get in touch with your inner animal by being a man, or woman.
- Be Social, Exercise, and listen to music.
- Winning the lottery will not create long term happiness.
There is no exact procedure or trick for being happy. The term itself can have many different meanings and variations. For instance, one person’s happiness could be one’s misery. Some people get happy about roller coasters, others are scared. We are all different from ethnicity, family, background, money, culture, etc. So I believe the key to happiness is an individual decision or experiment.
Below I gathered some research from Economists and Psychologists. Not all the methods may work, so it is important to experiment. One psychologist stated that happiness is 50% genetic and the other 50% is what you do.
Gratitude and Charity
Research has found that long term happiness is not changed by winning the lottery, or even being paralyzed. Yeah you will feel good or miserable for a couple of months, but you will end up being at the same level after time. So why try anything if your happiness levels will eventually level out?
Well some psychologists believe that long term happiness can be altered by gratitude. Yes, thank your lucky stars you are alive!
You should really thank your lucky stars your alive. There are over a million sperm to compete with, and you made it. If you go back 10 generations (250 years) the chance of existence is at most 1 divided by 6 x 10^100 or
1 in 60000000000000000000000000000000000 00000000000000000000000000,etc,etc.
Research by Dr. Emmons concludes that people who were in the gratitude condition were 25% happier. This condition is where the subjects were asked to write down what they were grateful for. Some examples : sunsets, being alive and generosity of friends. However, being grateful in some situations can be counterproductive. For example, focusing too much on gratitude can remind us how much we owe others. This can cause dependence on others and reduce a sense of personal control. So the trick is to be grateful from personal reflections rather than connections.
Comparing yourself to unfortunate people
This is a very powerful gratitude technique. The cliches go something like this: Why are you not happy when the man with no legs is smiling? There are starving children in Africa. Somebody else has it worst. Yaddy Yaddy Yada Yada
The thing is this works. So next time you are worried about your financial situation, health, clothes, etc. Remember there are many out there without homes, vaccinations, food and they carry on with their lives because they are grateful for what they have.
Don’t expect gratitude
“The ideal man,” said Aristotle, “takes joy in doing favors for others; but he feels ashamed to have others do favors for him. For it is a mark of superiority to confer a kindness; but it is a mark of inferiority to receive it.”
Jesus helped 10 lepers in one day. Do you know how many people thanked him? One, Saint Luke. You didn’t hear Jesus complain.
Remember you are doing a good deed for yourself, because it makes you feel good. This is human.
“There is no such thing as selfless act.” – Ayn Rand
Unleash the fury (or your inner animal)
It took millions of years of evolution or creation to create men and women. I am sorry, but you cannot over come the differences over night. Women cannot be men, and men cannot be women (well in most cases). So be yourself. Some data and examples:
A Nielsen survey of 28,153 people in more than 51 countries found that men are happier with money, while women find greater joy in friendships and relationships with their children, co-workers and bosses.
Typically men like to solve problems, being alone in our cave from time to time (man cave), build and create things, be respected and appreciated, and have power.
Typically women like to talk about their problems, being in social settings, help by nurture, etc.
- Fix or build something
- Hangout with your bros
- Gain power by playing a 6 year old in basketball. Get that stuff out of here kid! Rejected and disrespected.
- Grill, create a fire like a caveman
- Build a man cave
- Hangout with your friends
- Hold a baby
- Do charity
- talk about your day
- create a beautiful room
So you found something that you love doing. Fabulous! Well doing it everyday is going to get boring. You have to switch it up before hedonistic adaptation kicks in. For example, you may love pizza, but if you eat it everyday you will begin to despise it.
This is the downfall of hedonism and in part utilitarianism. Stuff gets old real quick. The trick is to change your preferred activities to something similar but different. For example, if you like sky diving, try bungee jumping or racing every now and then. Just don’t rob a bank.
That’s right. You don’t see the zen master Brody doing the same things everyday.
Economics and happiness
Economists believe you can measure everything. Some are developing equations for happiness. I believe this futile, because happiness really depends so much on the individual and circumstances. There are just too many factors involved to be measured or predicted. Nevertheless, economists do make some good points about what make us happy.
- Paying 50 dollars for baseball gloves is likely to make you happier than buying an expensive car.
- Sex makes you happy. A.D.D. moment: Don’t you love it when you read about these studies about the obvious? Especially when the researchers are getting thousands and sometimes millions in grants to do them. No shite Sherlock, sex makes you happy. You could have given me 50 cents and jaw breaker and I could of told you that one.
- The same above study states that sleeping around does not make you happier. You are happiest when you sleep with one person multiple times. Just don’t tell Al Bundy that.
- People are happier when they know they are getting paid by the hour. Lawyers must be super happy.
- Buying experience trumps actual material possession.
- On average per survey, all we need is 60,000 dollar salary to be happy.
Other proven things that make you happy:
My Theories on Happiness to come later