Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Evidence based happiness advice: a special issue of the Journal of Happiness Studies

01.03.2007
In our increasingly complex society happiness is not the simple product of favorable circumstances. Well-being is dependent on making the right individual choices. Handling freedom is not always easy and that has created a demand for happiness advice.

Philosophers, psychologists and spiritual thinkers offer happiness counsel, but their widely differing views have never been empirically scrutinized. The special issue on Happiness Advice of the Journal of Happiness Studies that is published online Thursday the 1st of March, fills this gap, by comparing the advice given with what is known about the conditions of happiness observed in empirical research. With Maarten Berg and Ad Bergsma of Erasmus University Rotterdam.

The idea to give happiness advice proper attention and scrutiny is not unusual in medical professions. For example, if a specific diet becomes popular, than several institutions are available for the public and for the press to check whether it offers a healthy alternative. The same could be done to help the audience to judge the quality of happiness advice. This is necessary, because there is a lot of advice on the market that would lower well-being for the average person if it is taken to hearth.

The special issue of the Journal of Happiness Studies shows that ancient Buddhist advice is not applicable in modern society. Taoism and especially Confucianism offer better changes on happiness. The great German pessimist Schopenhauer did not succeed in helping his readers to come to terms with the harsh realities of life. Avoiding pain was one of the central goals in life according to the Greek philosopher Epicurus, but this led him to a too passive conception of human life. The lifestyle advice of New Age thinkers often is conducive to happiness. Psychological self-help books choose subjects that are relevant for well-being and can be as influential as good psychotherapy, but sadly a lot of self-help authors come up with advice that is clearly outdated and that harms people if they follow it.

Some highlights:

• Support for New age Advice. Maarten Berg of the Erasmus University Rotterdam has identified common themes in the writings of new age thinkers and presents data that suggest that seven recommendations have the potential to enhance happiness: become spiritual, be authentic, know yourself, connect with others, think positively, take control and life healthy. For two recommendations – meditate and follow your gut feelings or intuition – Berg was not able to find evidence whether the advice was beneficial for happiness or harmful. The advice to live a simple live justly warns against too much materialism, but robs people needlessly of many pleasures.

• Better not follow Epicurus advice to forego marriage. The Greek philosopher Epicurus recommends a risk avoidant attitude to life. Do not become too attached to things or people, because the pain of missing them later on exceeds the pleasure of indulgence in the moment. This philosophy may seem apt for modern marriage that often ends in a painful divorce or bereavement. Ad Bergsma of the Erasmus University Rotterdam and two colleagues calculated the number of ‘happy life years’ that comes with the choice for marriage in the Dutch population. Happy life years are calculated by multiplying the number of years a person will live by a weight factor for happiness for each of these years. The results clearly favour marriage. Married people that stay married can count on a surplus of almost five happy life years compared with people who stay single, and even if marriage ends in divorce the number of happy life years still exceeds the happy life expectancy of the chronic single.

Yvette Nelen | alfa
Further information:
http://www.eur.nl/english/pressroom/releases/2007/february/happinessadvice

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Illinois researchers researchers find tweeting in cities lower than expected
21.02.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht Polluted air may pollute our morality
08.02.2018 | Association for Psychological Science

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Research reveals how order first appears in liquid crystals

23.05.2018 | Life Sciences

Space-like gravity weakens biochemical signals in muscle formation

23.05.2018 | Life Sciences

NIST puts the optical microscope under the microscope to achieve atomic accuracy

23.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>