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It happens that those who have nothing are happier than those who have plenty. Some people, despite their failures, remain serene, while others - being graciously treated by fate - languish in misfortune. How is it possible? What makes us feel happy?

What influences the feeling of happiness?

In over 70 years of research into serenity, psychologists have discovered that objective living conditions hardly affect our feeling of happiness. Most people, no matter what the circumstances, are moderately happy. Such arrangements do not fit the common beliefs at all, because it is generally said that, for example, rich people who do not have to put too much effort in their lives should be happier, more satisfied, etc. However, this is not the case. Yes, there are external factors on which our happiness depends to some extent, but their influence is generally weak. What are these factors?

What makes us happy: he alth and life in a relationship

One of them is he alth. There are slightly more happy people in the group of he althy people than in the group of sick people. However, what matters here is not so much the objective state of he alth (described, for example, in a medical diagnosis, resulting from the tests performed), but a subjective assessment of one's own he alth.

The second factor that goes hand in hand with happiness is being married. Spouses are statistically happier than people living alone. But here, too, my grandmother said it for two. Marriage, admittedly, improves mental condition if it is successful, but also worsens it if it is unsuccessful and, for example, ends in divorce. From the objective determinants of internal well-being, there are still a few minor, almost irrelevant ones, such as smoking, age, education, income level, etc. The most important finding, however, is this: external factors affect our internal well-being to a negligible extent.

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The person's personality decides about the level of happiness

If happiness does not depend on external conditions, what does it depend on? Research shows that the most important are personality traits, our approach to reality, and the way we think about ourselves and the world.

Do not look for happiness in material goodsIf anyone thinks thathis well-being has to do with his income level, he will be less happy no matter how much he earns and what the condition of his fortune is. Money-less people are happier! If we are convinced that our inner happiness depends on external conditions, we will be less happy, regardless of whether these conditions are met or not.

Accept limitations, do not desire too muchThe feeling of happiness is more often achieved by people who can come to terms with adversities. When we want something, but adopt the attitude of "there is no chance I will get it", we are in a state described by psychologists as deprivation. We accept failure relatively easily and it does not destroy our well-being. When we expect a lot from the world, we believe that we are en titled to everything, we feel any deficiencies not as deprivation but as frustration. Frustration at first pushes us to overcome obstacles, but when we fail, it turns into anger and a feeling of unhappiness.

Believe in the spiritBelief in the existence of a higher power (eg God, the purposefulness of human existence in a metaphysical sense) helps in coping with adversities. For if we believe that the misfortunes that happen to us have a higher sense and serve what, then we will not experience such strong frustrations as those who perceive them only as a pointless life obstacle or malice of fate. It seems that one of the conditions for keeping serenity is to reflect on your life, search for the meaning of your existence or - as pathetic as it sounds - to let a little metaphysics into your life.

Think good about yourself, respectfullySelf-acceptance is a condition for being happy. It can be educated in oneself regardless of what our childhood was like, how we studied at school, etc. It has been proven, for example, that people's self-esteem increases if we ask them to describe themselves as accurately as possible. Getting to know yourself and creating a clear self-image translates into higher self-esteem. This is puzzling, because when we get to know ourselves, we also discover our faults and weaknesses. But that's what self-respect is all about - we know we're not perfect, and we accept that fact.

A rich man and a terminally ill person can be just as happy

Could it be that no matter what the conditions are, we can be happy or unhappy? Such a claim seems almost insane. Are the people who won the lottery really as happy as those who, for example, lost their legs in a car accident? One of the most famous studies onhappiness adopted this pattern of reasoning. The inner well-being of people who won a fortune in the lottery was compared with those who were partially paralyzed as a result of a car accident. Both events were unexpected and both surely turned these people upside down. As it turned out? Initially, the differences in well-being were enormous. However, these differences diminished rapidly over time. Six months after these events, the different measures of mental well-being in the two groups were similar again! It turned out that those who were lucky were not happier at all - compared to both those who won nothing and those who suffered a disability! And those who were mutilated, after six months, did not differ in the level of psychological well-being from other people, including the lucky ones who won a fortune. It only took 170 days for most people to return to their normal state of being - they felt moderately happy.

Enjoy what you have

This strange discovery is understandable in the light of psychological knowledge. Events affect people like a stone thrown into a lake - for a moment it touches the smooth surface of the water, they seem to change a lot, but soon everything returns to its original state. This is so for several reasons. An important life change, regardless of its quality, even if it changes your life, it also changes the way you think about it and yourself. For example, getting rich makes a person live in better conditions, but also begins to compare himself with other people, he begins to feel the needs that were previously unimportant, he gets used to, etc. It is a bit like with a child who has grown 5 centimeters, but in at the same time, all the other children have grown the same, so the situation does not seem to change. Naturally, certain events may work differently for individuals, but most of us quickly adapt to both good and bad events. This is proven by a lot of research on people who have lost their eyesight, developed arthritis, found out that they had cancer, won a fortune, etc. After a while everything returns to the original state.

A simple recipe for happiness

If you were to create a recipe for happiness, using the research available from psychologists today, it would sound something like this: “Enjoy your life. Your sense of well-being doesn't have to be related to any external circumstances, it just depends on whether or not you are happy. Make sure you think well of yourself, don't think badly of yourself. You have the right to live your own way, just like everyone else in this world. Inthe misfortunes that happen to you, seek lesson, and if you cannot help it, accept it. Set yourself long-term goals and be convinced that the world has greater values ​​than just our mundane - good or bad - existence. "

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