10 Psychology Fun Facts On Happiness

— By Dr. Sandip Roy.

I have been studying the philosophy and psychology of happiness for a decade. The most asked question to me is, “What is happiness?”

At that, many definitions and quotes from positive psychologists flood my mind. It’s difficult to pick one.

So, over the years, I have started to reply,

“Happiness is how good you feel in this moment and also how content you feel about your life.”

I have done some detailed posts on happiness (or, what experts call, subjective wellbeing) based on science. Like this 10 Greatest Happiness Hacks From Positive Psychology.

The happiness facts are also backed by science. But I kept the wording on the lighter side. Enjoy this easy read!

10 Psychology Fun Facts-happiness

1. Happiness: The Ultimate Supplement

Happiness does more than light up your face; it can boost your immune system!

It’s like a free supplement pill that you can have almost whenever you want to.

I say so because experts found happiness depends more on our actions than on our circumstances. And we can act in definite ways to raise our happiness levels.

So, if you’re looking to ward off the flu (and there’s a study on that), don’t forget to add a daily dose of joy. It’s way more fun!

2. Money Can’t Buy Happiness (Sort of)

Money can buy a life out of poverty and need. Agreed. But money can’t keep on buying happiness forever.

Studies suggest it can make you happier until your income is about $75,000 a year.

Beyond that, it’s as if our emotional bank account says, “Enough already!” So, the ATM for joy has an upper level — you cannot keep topping it up forever!

Read this to know more: How Can Money Buy Happiness (Psychology of Happy Money).

3. The Happiness Paradox

Chasing happiness can often make us less happy, like a dog chasing its tail.

Studies show that you can’t​ pursue happiness and be happy because the pursuit of happiness makes you less happy.

It’s as if the harder we try to catch happiness, the faster it runs away.

So, the next time you’re on a joy hunt, remember, it’s not a game of tag!

4. Happiness is Contagious

Catching happiness is easier than catching a cold. It spreads through social networks like a cute cat video on the internet.

You’re 15.3% more likely to be happy if a person directly connected to you is happy. 

James Fowler & Nicholas Christakis came together at Harvard to conduct a meta-study involving 5,000 students. They found:

  • A friend who lives within a mile and becomes happy increases your chance of being happy by 25%.
  • Spouses living in the same house increase your happiness by 8%.
  • Siblings who live within a mile increase your chance of being happy by 14%.
  • Next-door neighbors can boost your happiness by 34%.

And, this PhD thesis By George Mackerron found that our friends make us happier than our family!

So, if you’re looking to catch some joy, hang around happy people. It’s a contagion you’d want to get!

5. The Happiness Set Point

Much like our weight, we all have a happiness ‘set point.’

It’s like our emotional thermostat, always bringing us back to our default level of joy. This process, known as hedonic adaptation, is why both extreme happiness and profound sadness eventually settle to a stable point.

what-is-hedonic-treadmill-or-hedonic-adaptation

So, no matter what life throws at you, remember, your inner happiness control is working just fine!

6. Happiness and Age:

It seems happiness and age have a U-shaped relationship.

It’s as if life is a roller coaster ride, with highs in childhood and old age and a dip in middle age.

So, if you’re feeling down in your 40s, remember, the ride goes up again!

7. Experience Over Material Stuff

When it comes to happiness, experiences beat material possessions hands down.

It’s as if our joy prefers souvenirs of memories over shiny new objects.

So, the next time you’re torn between a vacation or a new gadget, remember, joy loves a good story!

how-to-buy-happiness

8. The Power of Gratitude

It turns out, saying ‘thank you’ is like a ‘happy pill.’

The simple act of expressing gratitude can significantly boost your mood.

So, if you’re looking for a quick joy pick-me-up, try writing a thank-you note. It’s a prescription you can write yourself!

9. The Happiness of Giving

Giving not only feels good, but it’s also good for you. It’s like happiness comes back with a boomerang when you give.

There are so many ways to give:

  • Charity: Donating money, goods, or time to support needy people.
  • Philanthropy: Long-term, strategic giving, often involving large-scale donations to address systemic issues.
  • Volunteerism: Offering time and skills without monetary compensation to help others or support causes.
  • Kindness: Small, everyday acts that improve others’ well-being, like helping a neighbor or offering a kind word.
  • Service: Giving professional or personal assistance to individuals or communities, often through organized efforts.
  • Reciprocal Giving: Helping others with the expectation that they might help you in the future, fostering mutual support.
  • Altruism: Selflessly helping others with no expectation of personal gain.
  • Generosity: Willingly giving more than is necessary or expected, often involving sharing resources, time, or support with others.

So, if you’re looking for a joy boost, remember, it’s better to give than to receive!

10. The Joy of Now

Happiness often lies in the present moment.

It’s as if our joy is playing hide-and-seek, and it’s always hiding ‘now.’

So, if you’re on a joy quest, remember, it’s not in the future or the past; it’s in your current moment!

Final Words

How does time relate to happiness?

  • Having too little time is linked to less happiness.
  • Having too much time is also linked to less happiness.
  • Focusing on time (vs. money) increases happiness.
  • To be happier, we should intentionally spend the time we have.

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