What makes us happy? The answer might surprise you.
According to a new study that aims to further our understanding of happiness and its causes, Americans are generally a happy group. However, the reasons for this happiness aren’t necessarily what you’d expect.
CivicScience’s study, titled “Profiling Happy,” explores reported levels of happiness from over than 262,000 Americans, linking them to thousands of attributes including demographics, lifestyle, and media consumption.
“One of the project’s goals is to harness the collective expertise of the many researchers and thought leaders who study the roots of happiness,” Lamar Pierce, PhD, associate professor of organization and strategy in the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, said. “These data represent the tremendous potential to facilitate expanding our knowledge on consumers, health, beliefs and broader public welfare.”
If you’re searching for a mood boost, the studies findings are quite enlightening. For example, researchers found that it’s true money can’t buy happiness. However, it does seem to help. Many higher income traits are closely associated with greater happiness, especially when considering the ways we splurge on ourselves. For example, people who buy jewelry for themselves are 23 times more likely to be happy. Those who eat at upscale restaurants and make purchases on their tablet computers also report more overall happiness.
As you might expect, good health goes a long way toward happiness. Those who reported they were healthy were 11 times more likely to be happy, while those who reported being unhealthy were 133 percent more likely to be unhappy.
Surprisingly, researchers found that unemployed people reported higher levels of happiness than those who worked in a job they claimed to hate. The unemployed obviously have less money, but it appears that avoiding a stressful work environment has its own perks too.
Another interesting finding was that age tends to bring greater happiness. Beginning with 30- to 34-year-olds, every age group gets progressively happier than the general population, peaking among those aged 65 and older. So, if you’re feeling blue, perhaps all you need is a little more time to hit your happiness sweet spot!
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