What is happiness? Each one of you may have a different definition of this simple word that has a deep and profound meaning. What’s more, the way you define happiness is bound to change with situations! But a research on happiness in psychology has revealed some crucial and common factors that can lead you to stay happy, irrespective of what’s going on in your life.
Research on happiness in psychology: the premise
Over years, artists have attempted to explain the feeling of happiness through art. You may have heard Pharrell Williams singing ‘clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth’ or watched Sister Mary Clarence teach ‘Oh Happy Day’ to a bunch of kids in the movie Sister Act 2. But are you aware that even scientists are taking happiness with a great amount of seriousness?
Harvard University conducted an iconic research about what helps people live a happy life. The research included surveying of 724 men from their teenage years till the date of survey. Approximately 78 years of lifespan was studied as part of this research. The researchers used questionnaires, medical transcripts, brain scan reports, and general observations on friendship, family, and romance in the lives of these 724 people to draw their inferences.
This might sound straight out of the coming-of-age flick, Boyhood by Richard Linklater. But this unique research as well as its findings are not a mere figment of an artist’s imagination.
Research revealed some rather interesting facts
Happiness is one of the most basic emotions in the lexicon of human feelings. But it is also the hardest to define. The wonderfully helpful research by Harvard University shares about the factors that can help you stay happy.
#1 A happy childhood can make a lot of difference!
Having a close, fuzzy, and stable relationship with your parents in childhood can lead to secure relationships in adulthood. It also helps in having a healthy bond with your spouse even as you reach the mark of 80 years. Other than your parents, when you have a close relationship with your siblings the chances of depression in later life are greatly reduced. The study shares that a feeling of warmth in childhood leads to a good physical health when you grow up.
The research also shares that when people have a not-so-happy childhood, upon growing up, they should focus on making it happy for kids in their life at that time. Such attitude towards children can help them experience happiness at least in later lives.
#2: Don’t stress out about stress!
You may have faced stress at some point of time in your life. You may have been thrashed at work for not being able to perform. Or may have witnessed your spouse go through a serious health issue. Many people shut themselves from the world to deal with such situations. They stay closed within their literal and figurative cubicles. And then there are people who may walk straight in to their employer’s cabin to sort out the problem. The study reveals that engaging instead of ignoring can help you to fare better on the happiness meter of life.
#3: Say bye to bad habits!
Right from smoking and drinking to a lack of discipline and punctuality, most people have plenty of bad habits. These habits are developed during childhood. And sadly, they often grow up with these same bad habits. That may result in physical health issues and a lot of added misery. This research on happiness in psychology suggests that people who can break this cycle of bad habits can lead happier and more wholesome lives.
Apart from these factors spending quality time with your near and dear ones is equally important for a happy life.
Alexander Supertramp, the famous hitchhiker once said: Happiness is only real when shared. This fascinating research on happiness in psychology resonates with his statement. Of course, the true meaning of happiness remains a mystery. But that’s the joy of it, right?