11 Things You Didn’t Know about Happiness

16 Jan 2013
  1. happiness 9Smiling can improve your mood. When you smile, you draw more air through your nose and restrict blood vessels in your face. This cools the sinuses, which cools the blood flowing through the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that controls emotions. Scientists believe the smile may have evolved from early primates who grinned as a sign of submission or to tell predators, “I’m harmless.”
  2. Research with twins has shown that unhappiness may be hereditary. But you can apparently make yourself happier. A study at USC found that people who introduced novel activities to their lives were happier than those who just plodded along.
  3. The Irish consistently report themselves as the world’s happiest people.
  4. There is a link between mood and the day of the week. According to one study, people feel happier on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays than they do on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays. (Wednesday is neutral).
  5. Most Americans consider December the happiest month of the year, followed by July. February is the most miserable. December is also the least popular month for suicides (the most popular: April), and mental hospital admissions peak in summer rather than winter.
  6. Happy Birthday to You, the four-line ditty written in 1893 by two sisters, generates $1 million in annual royalties for Warner-Chappell Music, which owns the rights. You don’t need permission to sing it at a party, since private use is OK. And you can always hum it since only the lyrics are protected.
  7. Studies have found that communities where everyone earns about the same are happier than those where some people make more.
  8. Most couples report a high degree of happiness in their first years of marriage, a steep decline between the third and fifth years, then a slight rebound between the sixth and eighth years. After low points before the second decade and 25th anniversary, there’s a happy ending: after 40 years couples report being as happy as the newlyweds.
  9. While pessimists regard bad events as internal (“it’s all my fault”), stable (“it’ll last forever”) and global (“it’ll affect all I do”), optimists explain them as outside their control (“it’s the job market”), unstable (“things will get better”) and limited (“everything else is great”).
  10. Robert Frost believed “happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.” But research indicates that frequency is better than intensity. Psychologist Ed Diener says that many people who feel infrequent but intense joy often suffer through heavy downers. Happiness, like everything, is best in moderation.
  11. Research on Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) confirms the depressing effect that short, dark or cloudy days have on people. But a researcher at the Max Planck Institute in Germany found that the happiest people don’t pay attention to the weather.

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16 Jan 2013, and is filled under Happiness.



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