We live in an increasingly networked society online, but we struggle to connect with our relations around the dinner table. We sacrifice conversations close to us for a mere connection online.
The result is that we drive ourselves toward a lonely future.
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The level of happiness is part of our genetic makeup - we have a set level and cannot rise above or fall below it.
Some scientists envision the day that we can manipulate our happiness genes with precise nanoscale technologies. These mood bots will travel inside us to a part of the brain and manually turn on genes to up or down our happiness set point. But, scientists assure us that we are more than biology and that a mood bot will not guarantee happy and satisfying lives.
Happiness has always been difficult to quantify because it is subjective, depending on if you have a short- or a long-term outlook on life. Recently, researchers have started to distinguish between two types of happiness:
People will always be happy when they see their children prosper when they feel loved, secure, and well-fed.
But, this formula for happiness is so obvious that most people dismiss it. They would rather look for a secret ingredient. The answer is that there is no secret.
The most compelling evidence on the importance of relationships comes from a long term study that started in 1938. Selected college sophomores who seemed to be destined for success, were followed.
In 1967 the files were merged with the Glueck Study that followed a group of poor, non-delinquent white kids from Boston's inner city.
The most important finding from these studies: The quality of our relationships is the only thing that matters in our lives.
The quality of people's relationships is more important than we imagine.
Material success and psychological feelings of well-being are linked to good relationships. So is physical health.
Close relationships and connections keep you happy and healthy.
Research has found that people who use different mediums, like talking on the phone, emailing each other and also seeing each other, tend to have stronger relationships with one another.
Even though technology might become more and more invasive, the reality is that the source of happiness will remain unaltered.
The Happiness Pie Chart, first published in 2005, states that 50% of our happiness is defined by our genes, 40% by our activities and 10% by our life circumstances.
Recent studies on what determines happiness prove that it is possible to take deliberate steps to control our happiness, and stay happier in life. Our genes, life circumstances and our activities(and choices) in life aren't isolated factors but can influence each other.
Tracking your own subjective well-being can be very powerful if you keep alongside a journal of your life's events.
Keep it up for some time and you will see trends emerge. You'll also be able to adjust your activities in order to maximize positive affect and life satisfaction and minimize negative affect.