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What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?

What makes you happy?

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Just how happy are you with your lot?

There is good scientific evidence that if you want to spend money to be happy spend it on experiences not goods.

Go out for a meal, to the theatre. learn pole-dancing, take a holiday. Then share it by telling other people about it.

And longer term it really is better to give than receive.

And if you don’t have the money then carrying out 5 non-financial acts of kindness in a single day (not spread out over time) will significantly enhance your happiness! (All these according to Richard Wiseman’s book “:59 seconds. Think a little, Change a lot”).

Supporting this view US research shows that your satisfaction in buying a massage or having a holiday just gets better over time compared with buying a TV. Experiences are always better in the long term than materialistic purchases, probably because they are more subjective and therefore harder to compare.

And research presented to the British Psychological Society Conference by the University of Greenwich suggests that, contrary to popular belief, happiness for retired people is not grandchildren but friends and hobbies.

Having children and grandchildren apparently has no overall effect on life satisfaction (the pros and cons probably cancelling each other out) whereas those who joined clubs, took up hobbies and made new friends were 30% happier than the rest.

Oliver Robinson who led the study said; “It seems that in this age of more active retirees having grandchildren to care for conflicts with relishing new-found freedoms”

74 year olds are the happiest, according to the British Household panel survey. Apparently happiness declines from the teens until the 40s and then picks up again until it peaks at 74. Happy to be alive I guess?

But research from the US suggests that when retirement age comes it is better for your mental and physical well-being to “half retire” by taking on temporary, self-employment, or part-time work – what they call “bridge employment”.

Even working on full-time after retirement age is not as good for you as bridge employment in the same career. Possibly because full-timers may be working because of financial pressures whereas part-timers are enjoying a transition with less responsibility but keeping physically and mentally active.

So don’t retire but get a job at B&Q if you can’t stay on part-time in your regular job.

If you want to know how happy you are take this 1-minute test at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/happiness_formula/4785402.stm

The UK’s happiest jobs are:

1. Hairdresser

2. Beauty Therapist

3. Childcare

4. Doctor/Dentist

5. Plumber

The least happy are:

1. Builder/construction

2. Banker/finance

3. Nurse

4. IT specialist

5. Call centre

Source: City & Guilds Happiness Index

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Author: mikethepsych

He says he's a psychologist but aren't we all?

One thought on “What makes you happy?

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