Archive for the ‘Happiness Research’ Category

The Harvard Grant Study reveals what makes us happy, healthy and more fulfilled

Love is important for having a happy lifeI am excited – more results have recently been published about the Harvard Grant Study. Why do I find this exciting? This research gives great insights into what makes people healthy and happy. Harvard University Press says this is “the longest longitudinal study of human development ever undertaken.” And some famous men were in the study. Wikipedia says that: “The study included four members who ran for the U.S. Senate. One served in a presidential Cabinet, and one was President John F. Kennedy.”

In June 2009 I wrote a blog post on the key findings of the research, which began in 1938. So the study is now in its 75th year (amazing!).


Research finds important differences in behavior between happy and unhappy people

What can we do to be happy? Has research found a quick fix? Cathy Johnson from ABC Health & Wellbeing reports that “there are no magic quick fixes” when it comes to happiness. “Not only will it take sustained commitment, but you should expect to relapse many times along the way.”

Australian psychologist Dr. Tony Grant sums up happiness well. He says: “Happiness is about living a full, rich and meaningful life – being truly human, warts and all. It’s not about being happy all the time. Mood fluctuations are part of normal life.”

US-based happiness researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky says: “Sustainable happiness is attainable, if you are prepared to do the work.”

So what “work” do we need to do to be happy? What behaviors are linked to happiness and well-being, according to happiness experts? (more…)

Does great wealth equal great happiness? Not necessarily, a recent survey finds

A stack of billsThink that being super rich will take away all your worries and fears? Think again. The results of a recent survey overturn the myth that great wealth automatically brings great happiness. Mega-millionaires are, in fact, a fearful and worried bunch, often caused by their own fortunes.

The survey, funded by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, spoke to 160 households, of which 120 had at least $25 million in assets. The findings: despite great wealth, many seem miserable, says Lyneka Little from ABC News.


Feel more alive, energetic and happy by spending time in nature

Sunrise in the national parkNeed an energy boost? Want a coffee? Hold that thought. Time in nature could be a better option. Richard Ryan, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, says, “Often when we feel depleted we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energized is to connect with nature. Nature is fuel for the soul.”


Exercise can be as good as or better than antidepressants for treating depression

Exercise can be as good as or better than antidepressants for treating depressionMichael Otto, a College of Arts & Sciences professor of psychology, says the effects of exercise on treating depression rivals antidepressants in head-to-head studies, reports Susan Seligson in her April 2010 article on the Boston University website BU Today. Otto says many clinical trials show that people with major depression who regularly exercise get better at the same rate as they do with antidepressants.

A passionate advocate of physical activity for treating depression, Otto recommends that clinicians consider exercise as important and valid a treatment for depression as antidepressant drugs and talk therapies. He is one of a group of researchers calling for psychologists to include exercise programs in treating people with depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.

This article summarizes some significant research findings showing exercise can be just as effective as antidepressants for the treatment of depression, and in some cases even better.


Study finds key to happiness is more in our choices than our genes

Our choice of partner greatly affects our happinessHow much do genes affect our happiness? Are sad people doomed to be gloomy forever? New research says important life choices, the goals we make, and the partner we choose, greatly affect our happiness and satisfaction in life. The results overturn the popular theory that personality traits, moulded early in life, and genes largely decide our level of happiness.


New research says get young teens into exercise – it’s good for their health and happiness

Group of girls on a soccer teamHow good is sport for young teenagers? New research shows that sport is good for physical and mental health in 12- 14-year-olds, and it benefits them socially.

Dr. Keith Zullig and Rebecca White, from West Virginia University in the US, found that middle-school teenagers who are physically active and play on sports teams are more satisfied with their life and feel healthier than their inactive peers.


Good working memory could be important for a happy and successful life

Drawing of the brainNew research has found that having a good working memory is likely to be vital for a happy and successful life. Working memory is being able to remember and process things at the same time. The study suggests that people with good working memories tend to have better jobs and relationships, and be more positive and optimistic than people with poor working memories.


Will plastic surgery make you happier?

Doctors in an operating theaterStudies of plastic and cosmetic surgery have had mixed results over whether such surgery makes people happy. Professor Charlotte Markey reports in a new study that there’s no conclusive data that cosmetic surgery makes people happier, although it does create repeat customers.

What is known is that cosmetic surgery can have side effects – severe pain, disliking the results, and, occasionally, death, to name just a few. Some people are happy with their cosmetic surgery, others are disappointed, and some die from it.


Studies find busy people are happier than idle people

Why do you do an activity? To earn money? Feel successful? Beat boredom? There are plenty of reasons why we do things. Professor Christopher Hsee and colleagues, at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago, say their studies suggest that the deeper reason we do activities is because we hate being idle. People need a reason to be busy, and without a reason they choose to be idle — yet even a false reason can motivate them to be busy. The researchers also say busy people are happier than idle people.


Vitamin D likely to help treat depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health problems

Our bodies make vitamin D after exposure to sunlightLow vitamin D has long been linked to depression. Experts now believe a lack of vitamin D might also contribute to other mental health problems such as personality disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.


Can omega-3 fat in fish oil prevent hallucinations, confused thoughts, delusions and other symptoms of psychosis?

fish oil capsules A recent study suggests that omega-3 fish oil capsules may prevent psychosis in young people at high risk of developing this illness.

The study involved 81 young people at high risk of psychosis. Symptoms of psychosis include hallucinations, delusions, confused thoughts and being out of touch with reality.


Face-to-face contact with close happy family and friends is good for boosting happiness

How contagious is happiness? Very. Research by Harvard Medical School and the University of California found happiness is like a virus – it’s passed through social networks, such as family, close friends and neighbors. Sadness, however, does not apparently spread to the same extent.

Study finds happy people watch less TV than unhappy people

a televisionA study at the University of Maryland found that happy people spend more time reading and socializing while unhappy people watch more TV. Americans spend more than half their free time watching TV.

The study by sociologists at the University of Maryland was based on two sets of data spanning about 30 years (1975-2006), and gathered data from nearly 30,000 adults.

Key to happiness is to appreciate the small happy moments in life

Shari Roan reports in the Los Angeles Times on a recent study that found people who appreciate small moments of happiness, joy and laughter throughout the day tend to be happy people who are more likely to be healthier, bounce-back after tough times and be more successful in jobs and relationships.

Study says enrich and lengthen your life by finding purpose

What’s one of the best ways to discover how to live a long and happy life? Study elderly people.

US writer and researcher Dan Buettner is doing exactly that. He travels the world studying centenarians, people aged 100 and over, tracking their behavior to find what makes for a long and happy life.

Harvard study searches for a formula for a good life

Being able to form good relationships with others leads to successful agingIs there a formula for a happy life? For 72 years researchers at Harvard have been examining this question. They are following 268 men, who entered Harvard in the late 1930s, through war, career, marriage and divorce, parenthood and grandparenthood, and old age.

Called the Grant Study, it’s now one of the longest-running studies of mental and physical well-being in history.

Comparing our income with others can make us unhappy, study claims

A new study has found that people who compare their income with others are more likely to be depressed and less satisfied with their lives because it makes them focus on what they haven’t got.

Study finds buying life experiences, not material possessions, leads to greater happiness

Two people on the beachBuying life experiences leads to greater happiness for both the consumer and those around them, according to a new study.

Life experiences include things like going to the theater or on a vacation rather than material possessions.

Study finds the pursuit of wealth, fame and image does not make us happy

A new US study of well-educated people aged in their twenties shows some surprising results for what goals lead to happiness.

Michael J. Fox on a Himalayan journey researching happiness and optimism

Do tough times make a person bitter or better? For Michael J. Fox it certainly seems to be better. Battling early-onset Parkinson’s disease for over 10 years has not diminished Michael’s determination to stay happy, optimistic and productive. While knowing he has the health problem he’s become a passionate advocate for stem cell research, set-up The Michael J. Fox Foundation – the world’s largest non-profit funder of Parkinson’s research – and become a best-selling author.

Laugh – it’s the best medicine for your heart, mind and soul

smileysThere’s nothing quite like a good laugh to lift our spirits and warm our souls.

Dr. Lee Berk and colleagues, at Loma Linda University in California, study the link between laughter and health. Over the past few decades they’ve discovered lots of good news about the benefits of laughing.

Want to fight disease and feel happier? Experts say be kind and control anger

Author, lecturer and self-help advocate Dr. Wayne Dyer says acts of kindness boost the immune system, increase happiness and benefit both the giver and receiver of kindness.

Happiness is good for your health, says Deepak Chopra

Woman with arms up the airI came across an interesting article posted on the Baltimore Sun’s website. It explains how your level of happiness directly affects your health by affecting hormones linked to happiness. Here are a couple of paragraphs from the article.