What do the happiest people have in common?

According to various researches, these six factors determine happiness

What do the happiest people have in common?

Meik Wiking, executive director of the Institute for the Search for Happiness in Copenhagen, in his most recent book entitled "Lykke" seeks to answer questions such as: What do the happiest people in the world have in common? What can we learn about happiness elsewhere? and what can we do to be happier ourselves?

Research on happiness concludes that there are six determining factors to achieve it: the sense of union or community, freedom, trust, goodness, money and health. Meik Wiking explains these factors in his book and also includes experiences of people around the world who offer important examples of how to achieve happiness.

  1. Sense of union or community: Wiking tells that "In a boarding school in Denmark they told the students that they could only use cell phones one hour a day". This experiment was carried out for six months and at the end they asked the students if they wanted to continue using the device only one hour a day or if they preferred to use it again all the time, to which 80% of them answered that they preferred to use it only for 60 minutes a day, because they realized that in this way it was easier to relate to others, make friends and interact. Wiking recommends that, to encourage this factor it is important to eat more often with our relatives, friends and colleagues in a slow and conversational manner.
  2. Freedom: according to Wiking, researchers have found that "people who work on their own are usually happier", because although they usually have to work more and the profits are lower, they are more satisfied with their autonomy, with the flexibility to work and especially because they have more clarity about what they want to achieve with their effort.
  3. Money: regarding to money, the author points out what other authors have said before: "if we seek to buy happiness, it is wiser to invest in experiences than in things". A joint study conducted by the universities of British Columbia and Harvard, published last year, revealed that one of the best ways to invest money for happiness is to use it to buy free time, that is, pay to be free of unpleasant tasks and dedicate ourselves to things that we like; according to researchers, investing in free time reduces stress and anxiety and increases well-being and happiness.
  4. Trust: This is a key point to achieve happiness, because it generates tranquility and security. In this factor, Wiking recommends to work empathy, for this he advises to read literature and move in different social circles, in this way we can better understand the behavior of other people. The author also suggests visiting places where people who are at the opposite end of our political spectrum live, to realize that "we are not so different; we only have different starting points".
  5. Kindness: Wikings points out that "we know that when we do good we feel good" and proposes to find ways to make other people happy through acts of kindness.
  6. Health: Caring for health should be a central purpose of our lives, feeding us well, exercising and taking care of the quality of sleep, because according to the author "happy people have better health". 


Latin American Post | Andrea Rojas

Translated from "¿Qué tienen en común las personas más felices?"

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