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For thousands of years, philosophers have pondered what it is to live a good life but in recent decades psychologists and economists have used scientific methods to find out more about the secrets of human happiness. Here are eight tips which can led you to happiness.
1. The Greeks had a word for it
Ancient Greek philosophers made a clear cut distinction between hedonism -the pursuit of pleasurable sensations -and eudaimonia, which involves the pursuit of things that are fulfilling. Most people want a mixture of both.
2. Marriage can be a roller coaster
People are happy in the years immediately before and after marriage but these feelings nearly return to a person’s own natural level. Most marriages are satisfying and often couples recover from low patches over a period of years though divorce in the long run seems to better than being stuck in a low quality relationship.
3. Job Satisfaction
Several factors contribute to job satisfaction and money is only one. The quality of your immediate line manager, your ability to schedule when to do tasks, opportunities to socialise and to use talents and skills are all important.
4. Love your job
Slightly odd this one -but burnout is often found in caring professions where the pressures of work get in the way of caring. Nearly one third of US surgeons, in one study, said they would not recommend their profession to their children.
5. Face to face contact is good
A study of women over 80 in Copenhagen showed they got more from daily face to face contacts with friends than they did from phone call contacts with their nearest and dearest.
6. Socio-emotional skills matter
There isn’t a good term for these kinds of skills, ranging from being persistent through to getting along in group, but we know they matter both for life quality of the person and those around them throughout life. Parents and schools should be supported in their development.
7. People are different
We seem to be concerned about fairness, autonomy, community and engagement throughout our lives. We have different needs but if we want to be happy ourselves we need to recognize that others have similar expectations.
8. Caring for others
Volunteering and caring for others not only benefits the people we help. Studies have shown that the giver also gets `a warm glow’ a capacity that probably evolved to help us succeed in projects requiring collaboration.