What would make your life happier? Money? A smooth job? A fancy house? Unfinished dreams are gradually being fulfilled? Or all of that?
Experiment “Twenty Dollars”
This is an experiment conducted by three researchers Elizabeth Dunn, Lara Aknin and Mike Norton in Canada.
They handed out envelopes containing twenty dollars to passersby at random. Some people will accept this “gift” from the sky with the offer: by five o’clock in the afternoon, use those twenty dollars to buy yourself a gift, or pay for any expenses. any by yourself; and the other group will have to spend this money for someone else or give it back to a charity.
This experimental nature is not to find out what people tend to spend for themselves or to buy for others. The goal was to measure how those expenditures impacted their own well-being.
“Most of us would say we feel happier when we spend our twenty dollars on ourselves, but not on others,” the researchers said. However, the result is quite the opposite. “People who spend money for others (also known as ‘social spenders’) are generally happier than those who spend money on themselves,” the three researchers concluded. And the higher the amount of money that is spent for social spending, the higher the level of happiness.
Of course, this study is more likely to be accurate for those who are not so miserable about their livelihood. Because at this point, according to the authors, thinking how to use money rationally will bring us more benefits than trying to make a lot of money.
So, if money – which at the time, people believed could buy almost anything – could hardly buy happiness, then what would make our lives worthwhile? live more?
Originally, “We often don’t predict what will make us feel happier,” the authors share. This leads to the result that we will set the wrong goals for life in the first place.
In the book “Dare to Think Small”, Service and Gallagher have provided a set of fundamental behaviors consisting of 7 steps, which is considered a handbook to help readers constantly push themselves and achieve great success by attention to small details. In that, Defining Goals is the first step and will be the right direction if you know exactly what will determine your level of happiness.
5 factors that improve happiness
Strengthen social relationships
Think about the people who are good at socializing around you, do you almost always feel a source of positive energy radiating from them? That’s because “Social people are happier than those who are less social,” the authors claim.
Accordingly, if you belong to any association, group, or organization, or tend to spend a lot of time building and connecting relationships with other people, your chances of improving your happiness are high. than normal people. This also explains the fact that the unemployed are always less happy than the employed.
Moreover, according to the authors, strong social relationships also bring us unimaginable benefits in terms of physical health.
Some scientists, after carrying out 148 studies with more than 300,000 people, have found that: “people who receive the right support from society will have a 50% higher chance of survival than those with complete similar situation, but without the quality social relationships.”
Strengthen health and mobility
Participating in sports activities is considered the most effective method to arouse a feeling of happiness in you, because at this time, our body will release the hormone endorphin, also known as “” happy hormone”.
The life satisfaction you feel is directly proportional to your state of health. “Many medical studies have shown that low levels of happiness are linked to heart problems, stroke, and even longevity,” Service and Gallagher say, “If you have a more positive outlook on life, the better. the less likely you are to catch the flu, and if you do, the quicker you’ll be able to recover.” Because of that, in the UK, physical training is a special treatment for patients with anxiety and depression.
Cultivate knowledge and skills
You may not know it, but the more you know, the more your mind is opened, and the more skills and knowledge you develop over time, the happier you will become.
This is explained because the process of constantly learning and cultivating knowledge will motivate us to improve our sense of self-confidence, thereby becoming more optimistic and satisfied with ourselves.
More importantly, it also gives you the synergistic benefits of factors that increase your remaining happiness level. For example, in parallel with improving our knowledge, we can “Strengthen social relationships” when participating in schools, classes, clubs, or “Strengthen health and activeness”. “when playing sports.
Harvard psychology professor Dan Gilbert has concluded that helping others is a positive action that we can do in life, because the benefits it brings are not only for the recipient, but especially for the giver, such as cultivating compassion, reducing the risk of death, or feeling more loved by the production of the “love hormone” oxytocin…
As the “Twenty Dollar” experiment above, it is clear that spending money on others has brought us considerable joy. Many scientific studies have also concluded that volunteering helps our lives become more meaningful and happier.
And of course, as the authors share, “we can help others in many ways, not just with money.”
Curious, as defined by Service and Gallagher, does not mean being curious or inquisitive, but rather “actively ‘paying attention’ to every image, sound, and all that is happening around us, and care about every moment”. For those who have studied mindfulness, this can also be likened to meditation – bringing awareness to every movement around you in the present moment.
Our inner strength and emotional development courses are where we can cultivate curiosity. Many studies have shown that people who participate in these programs have higher levels of life satisfaction and experience more happiness. According to the authors, the value they bring will last for many months, even years.