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Facts about happiness – What really makes you happy? -News

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Facts about happiness – What really makes you happy?  -News


Governmental framework conditions make a key contribution to people’s well-being. Age is also an important factor.

According to that «World Happiness Report 2023» According to the UN, the Swiss are among the luckiest people: Switzerland is in eighth place – after Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Israel, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway. The data was collected between 2020 and 2022, i.e. before the Hamas massacre on October 7, 2023 in Israel and the Gaza War.

Happiness as a government goal

The overall circumstances under which people live also contribute to happiness. The authors write that once happiness is accepted as a government goal, this has an impact on institutional practices: “Health, especially mental health, becomes even more of a priority, as does the quality of work, family life and community.” The efficiency of a government has a major influence on people’s happiness.

Caption: According to the World Happiness Report, people with high life satisfaction are social, healthy and wealthy. IMAGO / Cavan Images

The performance of a state can be measured by its ability to raise funds and provide services as well as the rule of law. Avoiding civil war and oppression is also crucial. Across all countries, these five measures correlated with people’s average life satisfaction.

Helping helps

Those who help others do something good for themselves, the report continues: “There is a lot of evidence that helping behavior increases the well-being of the person helping.” This is particularly true when the help is voluntary and is mainly motivated by concern for the person being helped.

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Altruistic behavior also works in the other direction: when people do good things to other people, their own well-being increases. This experience in turn increases the willingness to help others.

Low point in midlife

But do you stay happy the same way throughout your life? Andrew J. Oswald and David G. Blanchflower from the University of Warwick in the UK conclude that psychological well-being follows a U-shaped pattern across the lifespan.

Of their Study from 2006 is based on data from 500,000 randomly selected Americans and Western Europeans: “If other factors remain constant, we show that the happiness of a typical individual reaches its lowest point – on both sides of the Atlantic and for both men and women – reached middle age.” A similar U-shaped curve can be seen in Eastern European, Latin American and Asian countries.


The Economist/SRF

For economist and happiness researcher Mathias Binswanger, it is clear why the curve is U-shaped: “In the middle of life you have a lot of stress.” On the other hand, when you’re young, you have a lot of time to do things you like. This changes with the pressure to perform in mid-life with a career and the double burden of family and work.

Once you reach a certain age, the pressure to do everything possible falls away: “Then people come to terms with the life situation they are in and try to make the best of it.” This helps people to be less stressed and happier in life, says Binswanger.

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