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Psychology | In search of happiness

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I took this photo yesterday afternoon. According to recent research having an interest can make you happier. I found the building interesting, but it was the date on it A.D. 1897, that caught my eye. It was originally a police station.

The article on the BBC website suggests a direct correlation between an active life and happiness.

It seems people are happier if they:

Are in a long-term relationship

Are actively engaged in politics

Are active in work and in your free time

Go out for dinner

Have close friendships (though happiness does not increase with the number of friends you have)

It seems relationships are important. That makes sense, because the better we get on with people the more likely we are to survive. Survival appears to be our primary purpose in life. I think being active in the community and interested in politics is more likely to contribute to happiness than actually becoming a local politician. Enjoying your work and being good at it and having an interest in your free time that you can be proud of, would contribute to happiness too. Going out to dinner would normally be part of socialising with other people. A barbecue would work just as well, if not better. Lots of friends won’t make you happy, but a few friends you can rely on will make you happier.

Appearance also has a bearing on how happy we feel. Being good looking can make us happier, but that isn’t something most people can control. I think most people can control personal grooming and dress though. You can make yourself feel happier with good personal grooming and by dressing well for a special occasion.

It seems money doesn’t buy happiness, but that isn’t surprising. Not having enough money can make us unhappy and so we need enough to be comfortable. I wasn’t surprised by the finding that commuting to work isn’t very conducive to happiness. I do hate traffic jams and most people find them stressful. Stress whether it’s from driving in traffic jams or stress at work, makes us very unhappy. Stress in a relationship at home, can not only make us unhappy, but lead to mental illness.

Nature seems to have an effect on us that negates the affect of stress. A walk in the park helps us relax. Maybe my walk in the park last week taking photos contributed to my happiness. I think it probably did. Culture too can contribute to your happiness. You might not think of yourself as too interested in culture. You might not feel at home in an art gallery, but look around your home. Are there pictures around your home? Are there ornaments around your home? That’s what you get in art galleries, but they tend to be called images and sculptures. Try walking around an art gallery and actually looking at the exhibits. You might surprise yourself.

What do you think? Can you avoid some of the things in your life that makes you stressed and unhappy? Are there things that you could experience that might make you happier? When was the last time you spent time with people and enjoyed it? When was the last time you had a walk in the park? Please comment and  share you thoughts. You can also follow me on Twitter.   

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