Thursday, January 25, 2007

On Happiness

Posted by lea at 3:08 PM
I recently read that a study on human happiness discovered that the level of our happiness is not determined by our actual wealth or possessions, but rather by the comparative wealth and possessions of those around us. So, according to this study, my joy at buying a new car would last only as long as it took for my neighbour to buy a better car.

Added to this is the idea of perfectionism, perpetrated by the media, which says that the only way to be happy is to have this or buy that, or look like this.

The solution, apparently, was found in a study of nuns that discovered that optimistic nuns live an average of 10 years longer than pessimistic nuns (doesn’t that sound like an oxymoron?). So what made those nuns happy?

1. Gratitude for the things they had, rather than focusing on what they didn’t have.
2. Tolerance for imperfection – not just accepting it, but embracing it.

Okay, I added that bit about embracing imperfection. But it makes sense right? One of my favourite movies is Beautiful People, which is a gorgeous little film that intertwines the lives of lots of different people in London. The idea is simple: life is not perfect, but it can be beautiful. It just depends on what you’re looking at.

2 comments:

Lingsi on February 3, 2007 at 12:49 PM said...

I also heard about the Nun Study (could be from the same one) where they linked Alzheimer's with journalling... nuns who wrote in their diaries when they were younger didn't get Alzheimer's when they got older.

lea on February 22, 2007 at 4:21 PM said...

that's contrary to my experience, as i journal frequently but have a shocking memory!!

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