In pursuit of happiness: who’s happy and who’s not and why

February 7, 2011 by  
Filed under DEPRESSION

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Okay, so now we know that years and wrinkles bring happiness. But there are other factors aside from age that contribute to our well-being, right?

Male vs. Female

Gender seems to play a role in happiness. Women in general are happier than men. But they are also more susceptible to depression than the other sex according the report.

“…a fifth to a quarter of women experience depression at some point in their lives, compared with around a tenth of men. Which suggests either that women are more likely to experience more extreme emotions, or that a few women are more miserable than men, while most are more cheerful.”

Personality types

Are you the outgoing extrovert type or are you the neurotic introvert type? Neuroticism and extroversion are the 2 personality types that strongly influence happiness:

“Neurotic people—those who are prone to guilt, anger and anxiety—tend to be unhappy. This is more than a tautological observation about people’s mood when asked about their feelings by pollsters or economists. Studies following people over many years have shown that neuroticism is a stable personality trait and a good predictor of levels of happiness. Neurotic people are not just prone to negative feelings: they also tend to have low emotional intelligence, which makes them bad at forming or managing relationships, and that in turn makes them unhappy.

Whereas neuroticism tends to make for gloomy types, extroversion does the opposite. Those who like working in teams and who relish parties tend to be happier than those who shut their office doors in the daytime and hole up at home in the evenings.”

Happiness and circumstance

Socioeconomic factors play a role in our pursuit of happiness. Circumstances in our lives such as relationships, education, income, and skin color can influence our life.

What makes people happy are (according to THE ECONOMIST report):

  • Being married
  • Being of certain ethnicity (being black used to be associated with less happiness; nowadays it’s linked to greater happiness).
  • Better education coupled with better income.

What makes people less happy are:

  • Unemployment
  • Having children in the house
  • Being of certain ethnicity
  • Low income (still debatable though)

Of these, being unemployed is the one factor that can really throw one in the pits.

Finally, check what you really know about happiness.

Take a quiz to test your emotional IQ.

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