Subjective well-being measures

There are three different types of happiness measures:

  1. How we experience positive emotions.
  2. How we experience negative emotions.
  3. Life evaluations (how happy we are with our lives as a whole.)

Brain scans show that volunteers who rated highly on happiness surveys had more grey matter mass in the precuneus, involved in self-reflection and consciousness.

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The Danes focus on the small things that really matter, such as quality time with friends and family, and enjoying the good things in life. Hygge (pronounced 'hooga') is translated as 'cosiness', but Danes argue it is more than that. It is togetherness and relaxation, an indulgence and a comfort.

Work is also a great way to beat gloominess. But how work is done, with whom, and in what circumstances can create or destroy happiness.

Benjamin Franklin

"Happiness consists more in small conveniences of pleasures that occur every day than in great pieces of good fortune that happen but seldom."

  • Researchers analysed the DNA of people around the world and found three genetic variants for happiness. Two of the variants are linked with differences in the symptoms of depression.
  • Another paper suggests that the DNA of people who regard themselves as happy is more likely to contain a specific gene variant.
  • Other research shows that national levels of happiness depend on how close we are genetically to the Danes.

In 2016, Denmark was ranked as the happiest nation globally, even though it is dark for 16 hours a day in midwinter.

The annual World Happiness Report assesses criteria such as per capita income, life expectancy, people's freedom to make life decisions, generosity, social support, and government and business corruption.

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A happy country

Denmark is famous for being one of the happiest countries in the world.

It is known for being one of the most egalitarian countries in the world and its high levels of wellbeing are often attributed to its welfare system, where higher taxes provide free healthcare, school and university education, and government spending on children and the elderly is higher per capita than any other country in the world. 

Living life like the Danish - 4 ways to be happier

telegraph.co.uk

Human nature is more than biology

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.

What Technology Can't Change About Happiness

nautil.us

Measuring happiness

According to psychologists, happiness and life satisfaction do not coincide. Life satisfaction requires individuals to take a step back to assess their lives while happiness mirrors positive and negative emotions that fluctuate.

Focusing on positive and negative emotions can lead to understanding well-being in a pleasure-based way. Happiness may be one of the elements in evaluating well-being but is not the only one.

How do we measure well-being?

theconversation.com

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