An epidemic of depression is blighting the lives of people more than ever before. Lonely pensioners, struggling middle-managers and clinically depressed teenagers are no longer a rarity. As a nation, we have never had it so good in terms of money in our pockets, university education opportunities, helpful gadgets and entertainment devices. Yet, we are dissatisfied.
Constant advertising from banks and retailers encourage us to increase our spending power, promoting the idea that a wider range of choice will lead to feeling happy and prosperous. Prosperity is important to all of us, however, it has been proven that once we have enough to cater for our needs, money on its own is not enough to create a sense of well being in individuals or societies. Money and material possessions are not as important to happiness as we think.
If we want to see our children blossom and develop into well adjusted adults, plus reduce crime, poverty and ill health in our community, there is a surprisingly inexpensive, effective way of doing it : spread a little happiness.
Happiness and Health:
A nine year study of the elderly in Holland found that those who were optimistic and generally satisfied with life had 50% less risk of dying over the same period of the study than those who were pessimistic. People who were content were at less risk of heart disease, diabetes and respiratory infections. After receiving a flu vaccine, people classed as positive personalities by the psychologist developed 50% more antibodies than others. Laura Kubzansky of Harvard University tracked the health of 1300 men for a decade and discovered that those who believed themselves to be optimistic had 50% less heart disease than those who didn’t. NOTE: they didn’t actually have to be optimistic they only had to believe themselves to be optimistic to gain the benefits!
“Belief in one’s self is the key”
A research project which tracked the lives of more than 2000 Mexicans, aged 65+ living and working in the USA found that those who had a positive outlook on life were half as likely to die or become disabled. There is plenty of evidence pointing to the value gained in our health when we adopt a positive disposition.
Happiness and Work:
Since the late 1990’s pollsters have surveyed the happiness levels of the US workforce and the figures keep getting worse. These days only one third of people are happily engaged with their work, while a whopping 66% said they are not happy or engaged in their work. The survey highlighted the importance of relationships over pay and benefits. It reported that people want a supportive boss and strong friendship among their colleagues. Having a sense of belonging led to workers being more productive.
A positive frame of mind helps us to be more creative, generous and constructive. It allows us to seek what is right and good in all situations, not focus on what is wrong and bad. When feeling positive we see opportunities and potential instead of problems. Happy people are more persistent when it comes to solving problems. They give in less and are usually very altruistic. They have empathy for others and are generous.
Happiness and Children
Happy children outperform unhappy children on almost every measure. They are more persistent, independent and enthusiastic than their peers. Positive kids find it easier to build and hold on to friendships.
So What Can We Do?
Robert Emmons of the University of California discovered through his research that people who, every day, write down all the things for which they are grateful, are not only happier than others but also more likely to take exercise, get regular health checks, are more energetic, enthusiastic and alert.
Make the Change
Wow! Would you like to have all of that? There is no growth when constantly talking about ‘other people’ so, let’s take this information and make the change within ourselves NOW.