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What Really Makes Us Happy?

I actually studied more and put more time into this article than any so far.  I read and looked at data from over 20 different studies and articles. So let’s get to some of the things I found. Cliches usually become such because there is some truth to them.  A very common one is “laughter […]

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I actually studied more and put more time into this article than any so far.  I read and looked at data from over 20 different studies and articles.

So let’s get to some of the things I found.

Cliches usually become such because there is some truth to them.  A very common one is “laughter is the best medicine”.  Based on the things I read, research confirms that health and happiness are very connected.  Health can really impact the level of our happiness, and happiness can also have a dramatic effect on our health.

I’ll get back to that more specifically, but first let me mention some other aspects of happiness that I found interesting.

Some of the more random things I noticed that influence happiness:
-altruism, or willingness to give of yourself.  This included financial resources as well as your time and effort. 
-ability to delay gratification.

A very interesting study that observed nuns over many decades found that 90% of the group labeled the “most cheerful”, were still alive at the age of 85.  On the flip side, only 34% of the ones labeled “least Cheerful” lived to that age.  Additionally, 54% of the happy nuns were alive at 94, while only 11% of the grumpy ones were alive at that age.

Another cliche that turns out to be true is “Money can’t buy you happiness.”  Studies do show that a certain amount of money needed to meet our basic needs does help a lot, but more and more money actually seems to have a negative effect on happiness.  In the United States for example, we have more than doubled our income over the last few decades and according to survey data, we actually report a lower level of satisfaction than we did a few decades ago.  So, according to the studies, money can help with life satisfaction to a certain point, but the pursuit of more money beyond that can actually have a negative impact on happiness.

These studies showed materialistic people often tend to be less happy and the people who put their emphasis on having close personal relationships, even if it was just their spouse, tended to be the most happy. 

Since Nanohydr8 is a company that focuses on how to make people healthy, and fit I looked at a lot of studies to find any correlation between fitness and happiness.

It turns out that even a small amount of exercise can have a “huge effect on happiness.”  According to the research, people who workout for as little as 10 minutes a day tend to be more cheerful than those who never exercise.
Numerous studies noted that physical activity lowers the risk of depression and anxiety compared to people who live a mostly sedentary lifestyle.

One review analyzed over 23 studies that represented over 500,000 people from teens to the very old, and covered all ethnic and economic groups.  This review found that exercise was “strongly linked to happiness.”
Even 10 minutes a day can greatly improve our moods, but generally more exercise, up to a certain level, contributed to even greater happiness!  They found that people who reported a weekly average of 30 minutes of exercise per day were 30% more likely to consider themselves happy than people who did not meet that threshold. 

Other aspects of exercise that contributed to even more happiness were the social interactions that occur at a gym or any group or class that was devoted to some kind of movement.  This included everything from yoga to running groups.

One major theme that I found is that the most important factor in happiness is love.  The feeling of being loved and to genuinely feel love for others seems to be the most important factor in our happiness.
We need to make sure to do all we can to nurture the relationships we have with the people closest to us.  Having lots of friends isn’t near as important as having very close, trusting relationships with a few people.  So, if you want to feel happy, there are lots of things you can do, but it seems the most important thing we can do is show kindness and love, and especially to the people closest to us.

Adam Legas
Founder/ CEO Nanohydr8

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