When you pursue happiness, happiness is likely to dodge away; when you pursue other things, happiness will come unexpectedly.
Everyone seems to be trying to get on the Happiness train. “Happiness” became a bestseller title, often occupying newspaper sections, and inspiring scientific research, smiling clubs and happy seminars appeared. The rapidly developing positive psychology shows that happy people will develop better, they are more active, productive, earn more money, can make more friends, enjoy better marriage relationships and better health, and even Live longer than a grumpy peer.
We all want to be happy, and we are all fighting for it, so that some people say, “The ultimate goal of life is to pursue happiness.” In general, happiness refers to a feeling: a kind of joy, happiness, or satisfaction. Like other feelings, happiness doesn’t last, no matter how hard we try to catch it, it still slips away at any time. New research finds us in a hidden psychological trap: the harder we strive for happiness, the more we will be plagued by anxiety and depression.
American psychologist Stephen Harrison published a book entitled “Happiness is a Trap”. He believes that life cannot avoid pain, and you cannot escape. “As humans, we all face the fact that sooner or later we will become weak, we will be old and sick, we will lose important relationships due to rejection, separation, death, and we will be in danger, death and failure. Experiencing painful thoughts and emotions … if we want to live a complete life, we must experience all human emotions. ”
American society and culture is immersed in the search for happiness. Rather than saying that happiness is a pursuit, it is better to say that it is a “title”. Because of this, unhappiness is considered a symbol of failure and incompetence.
Rotterdam has a World Happiness Database, which collects all the information that makes people happy, and why they make people happy. Data show that married, extroverted optimists are happier than single, introverted pessimists; nurses enjoy life more than bankers; have religious beliefs, have a satisfying sex life, or can be nearby immediately after graduation Finding work also makes people happy. Compared with the poor, the rich are happier, but the gap is not very different. Many people say they are happy, perhaps just because they are expected to be happy.
In the United Kingdom, happiness is an American dishonoured. Some people say, “We don’t do happiness.” For Americans who are “almost the longest working hours and the longest commute to and from work” in the world, they spare no effort in their pursuit of happiness and often turn a blind eye to their failures.
We will face major changes in our lives, such as raises, marriages, health and housewarming, etc. Why do these factors have little effect on improving our personal happiness?
There is a modern motto in Russia: “If a person laughs often, he is either a fool or an American.” When McDonald’s entered Russia in 1990, one of the first tasks was to train local employees to make them look happy. The cultures of most East Asian countries also have lower expectations of happiness than Americans, while the cultures of some Latin American countries are just the opposite.
Western culture’s belief in happiness is relatively modern. Before the 18th century, Western standards encouraged a slightly sad outlook on life with corresponding expressions. Serious Protestants say that God encourages such people without joy, without pleasure, but with melancholy manners and simple ascetic practices. But this does not mean that people actually live unhappily, and cultural standards and personal temperaments of different times have influenced each other in complex ways.
The gradual rise of the western concept of happiness is built on the existing culture, but there are no other factors to promote it. In many scenarios, happiness has become a business advantage, and the link between products and happiness can promote sales. To this day, we still have to smile and live.
Economics of happiness
Just over 40 years ago, the fourth young king of Bhutan, Jigme Singh Wangchuk, made an unusual decision: Bhutan should not pursue gross national product, but “Total happiness” as the goal of pursuit. Since then, the country has relentlessly experimented with an overall alternative development approach, emphasizing cultural, mental health, compassion, and group factors while emphasizing economic development.
His practice affects developed countries, setting off a wave of comprehensive research on happiness, and many scholars studying the economics of happiness have appeared. Various institutions have released different versions of the global happiness index report. Psychologists, economists, and sociologists study the subject of happiness with high enthusiasm. They often encounter the question: Why do people always have unexpected expectations with the unprecedented freedoms, opportunities, and wealth that the people currently enjoy? That happy?
Richard Leader, the UK’s “chief happiness economist”, later made a distinction: countries with a per capita annual income of less than $ 15,000, income is positively related to happiness; while per capita income is higher than this number, income and happiness It doesn’t matter. This also means that when a country is poor, an increase in income has a positive effect on promoting a good life, but when the country is generally rich, the effect of increasing income on life is reduced, while other aspects of life instead More important.
Later, Layard conducted an in-depth analysis of this in his book “A Happy Society”: as long as the relative status is higher, although poorer, people also feel happy; therefore people pay more attention to relative income and are willing to accept the significant standard of living. Decline, as long as their status improves relative to others. People also compare their current income with their past income. When asked how much income they need, the rich always feel they need more than the poorer. He concluded that whether you are satisfied with your income depends on what comparison group you compare with. There are two types of control group: the income of others and their past income. In the first case, society controls your feelings more; in the second case, habituation controls your feelings. These two forces are rooted in human nature and are very powerful, so it is difficult for economic growth to enhance our happiness.
Humans always seem to adapt to everything, and this adaptation will quickly return us to normal levels of happiness. Regarding the “adaptive phenomenon of well-being”, there was a classic study in the 1970s. The results show that the happiness of these sudden winners after one year is no different from those who have not won. The adaptive phenomenon of happiness can be used to explain the common phenomenon in life. We will face major changes in our lives, such as raises, marriages, health and housewarming, etc. Why do these factors have little effect on improving our personal happiness? Not only that, research on twins and adoptees also shows that about half of everyone’s level of well-being is born. This line of genetics makes “the glass filled with happiness” seem to be half empty. No matter how much happiness is poured into this glass, the happiness above this line is destined to be slowly leaked out, and happiness will eventually Back to the line that was genetically set.
Shelton, a psychologist at the University of Missouri-Columbia, said: “In terms of happiness, there has always been a spring-like stress. Some people think that happiness can be intervened, as long as the right life goal is selected, it can be achieved This. But various related research literatures show that this is completely impossible. The cruel truth is that happiness goes down as much as possible. “External factors that most people think of, such as larger houses, Better jobs and winning lottery tickets will bring us temporary happiness, but they will eventually fade.
Studies on the map of happiness trajectories throughout the life process show that in the first 20 years of life, happiness will decrease significantly after childhood; as we get older, happiness will gradually increase. “Young people are always more concerned about the bad side of things. Older people do not react strongly to events in life. They are less likely to spread negative emotions and are more inclined to spread positive emotions.” Scripps, USA College neuropsychologist Stacy Wood explained, “As we get older, we learn to control and overcome this response.”
Not everyone agrees. In old age, you will try to ignore the people and things that make you unhappy, such as unsatisfactory diet, but all these are shrouded in some kind of sadness, because people often start to suffer from various diseases, and people are very It’s hard to be happy with the sick.
In addition to 50% of genetic factors, 10% of the difference in people’s happiness is determined by the environment, so what is the remaining 40%? “No one has done similar comprehensive research before,” said Sanya Ljubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California. “But this is not clear.” But she believes that if genetic and environmental factors are left aside, Then, after removing various error factors, the remaining part must be personal “subjective behavior”, that is, various psychological and behavioral countermeasures that must be taken in order to resist the adaptive pull-down force.
The first president of the International Institute of Positive Psychology, Di Neill, did research on the happy people and saw what can be learned from the top 10% of the happiest people. It was found that these people experienced no less pain than the most unfortunate 10% and There are fewer 10% in the middle. The difference between them and others is that different interpretations of things can make them recover more quickly. In contrast, pessimists are frustrated for a long time. “A lot of things happen in the world that are out of our control. What matters is how to treat them later and how to evaluate them. In fact, our assessment becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and convinces them.”
Happiness is vague in nature. There is another paradox of happiness called the “happy paradox”, as the famous British philosopher and economist John Stewart Mill commented in 1873: “When you pursue other things, happiness is not expected And … ask yourself if you are happy, you will lose your happiness. “