[FOUNTAIN]Small joys important for positive livesWhat makes most people happy? The most common answers would be money, youth, health and love. Will you be happier if you earn more money, become younger and healthier, love more and are loved more?
The latest issue of “Psychology Today” proposes an unlikely answer in its “True Happiness” feature. In short, the article argues that we can find happiness in small, ordinary things. Money, youth, good looks and brains contribute only 10 to 15 percent to true happiness.
Of course, money can help those suffering from afflictions escape extreme financial hardship. However, the sense of happiness does not vary to those whose income is over a certain level.
The more money you have, the more comfortable life you would enjoy, but money and happiness are not proportionally related. The magazine proposed that the dividing line was an annual income of $40,000.
Being smart or graduating from a good school does not contribute much to your happiness either. A better talent might get a better job or a higher position at work.
However, the higher position means higher expectations, and you are more likely to feel discontented and frustrated. Outstanding beauty and youth are similar.
Then what can make people happy? The magazine found that confidence is the most valuable asset. A confident person is optimistic and less likely to be unable to deal with stressful situations. A little narcissism can effectively elevate one’s sense of subjective happiness.
A sense of humor can also contribute to your happiness. A humorous person laughs more and makes people laugh, and such lightheartedness gives a more optimistic attitude.
An active leisure life and volunteer activities are also important factors. Leisure does not mean idle time.
You can enjoy your leisure time when you have a hobby or special skill and hang out with friends and families. Studies found that volunteer and community service give people satisfaction that matches joyful dancing.
The magazine article casts a meaningful message in conclusion. A little satisfaction in our daily lives is more effective in improving overall happiness than a once-in-a-lifetime burst of excitement. We have to live our lives appreciating the small things.
by Nahm Yoon-ho
The writer is head of the family affairs team at the JoongAng Ilbo.