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‘How are you?’is maybe the world’s most common greeting question and we all ask it as a way to see how happy or unhappy the other person is.
The nature of human happiness has gained traction in the last few decades with psychologists, economists and neuroscientists now interested in studying emotions, specifically happiness. Even many countries are now looking at measuring the ‘happiness index’ of their population.
Measuring happiness, which is a highly subjective emotion, is akin to getting your eye tested through the various lenses for your correct eye prescription number.
Measuring something as subjective as happiness can still provide usable results through the process of asking a critical mass of people so that any subjective inaccuracies cancel themselves out.
Simple behaviours like meditating, sleeping well, helping others, practicing minimalism, journaling and being grateful for what you have, can increase our happiness significantly.
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The debate about how material belongings can get in the way of our happiness dates back hundreds of years:
The things we buy might make us happy in the moment, but that feeling fades away over time. This phenomenon is called the “hedonic treadmill."
We get used to things that we have, and when new, more attractive things catch our eye, we feel like we need to keep getting more stuff to maintain those feelings.