Does where you live dictate your happiness?

Does where you live dictate your happiness?

"A person's degree of happiness is determined more by where they live than by any other element," adds Buettner. November 11th, 2018 will mark the day that Dan Buettner first published this statement in the New York Times. Since then, it has gone viral -- with over 2 million views -- helping people around the world understand what matters most in life. In his book "The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest", he reports on research studies conducted over several years that show how people who live in different parts of the world -- from Istria in Croatia to Ikaria in Greece -- can be made equally happy by following some simple rules. These include taking time every day to think positively and receive positive feedback from others, but also including physical exercise, meaningful work, and saving money so that they have enough to do if something happens to the family fortune.

The secret of their success is that they all lived within an hour's drive of a blue zone. You too can find your own personal blue zone by consulting the list at buettner.org/blue-zones. It may not be as exciting as living in a new country or moving to another planet, but it's just as important for your mental health to find a place that works for you.

Does where you live determine your happiness?

The psychologist Robert Plomin claims that genetics account for only 40 percent of the variance in human happiness. Environment accounts for another 20 percent, and lifestyle choices make up the remaining 40 percent.

Plomin argues that people are naturally-born entrepreneurs who like to take advantage of opportunities while avoiding risk. They want safe options that always work, such as choosing a job with a familiar company or using a proven strategy. However, because natural selection doesn't favor those who try new things, many people are forced to go against their instincts. They may need to change jobs every few years, take on debt to start a business, or move to an unknown city in order to find success.

According to Plomin, one way to increase your chances of being happy is to look at the environment you were born into. If you were raised in a stable family with supportive parents then you have better odds of being satisfied with your life than someone who was raised in an unstable household with neglectful parents.

Another factor that affects how happy you will be is your income.

What should your happiness depend on?

Sonya Lyubomirsky, one of them, came to the conclusion that happiness is determined by 50% of our genes and 10% by our environment. The remaining 40% is determined by our decisions. All of these percentages are an overage, so they may be greater or lower for some persons. But most people are very close to equal percentages for each type of determinant.

Genes give us a fixed amount of potential happiness, which we can increase or decrease depending on how we use our brains. Our environment gives us more potential happiness or sadness depending on what kind of place we live in. We can move to a better environment or change things about ourselves to increase our happiness further. Finally, we can decide how we want to use our brains -- especially our minds -- to make ourselves feel good or bad.

All in all, psychology shows that we are mostly responsible for our own feelings of happiness or misery. Some people are born with the luck of being born into a happy family environment, but most of us have to work hard to achieve or maintain this status.

What are the determinants of happiness?

They include things like health, age, gender, and family situations. Typically, the determinants of happiness are examined on the premise that subjective well-being is both cardinally measured and interpersonally comparable, which are two claims that economists are inclined to reject. However, research has shown that objective circumstances can have an impact on happiness, particularly when people are suffering from a mental illness.

Heavily influenced by Aristotle, who believed that happiness was determined by one's personal qualities rather than external factors, modern scholars tend to focus on intrapsychic causes of happiness. They believe that people are capable of changing their circumstances, but not themselves; thus, happiness must be found within us rather than outside of us.

According to this view, happiness depends on our psychological traits such as optimism, gratitude, and self-esteem. If we lack these qualities, we will be unable to find happiness in life. Social psychologists also suggest that happiness is based on how we perceive our lives rather than how they actually are. For example, if you believe that you're not fulfilling your potential, it will affect your level of happiness even if you are actually doing quite well.

Other factors include physical health, having something to lose, being free from debt, and having someone to love. Happiness tends to increase with income, but not too much; beyond a certain point, more money does not lead to increased satisfaction.

What has the biggest impact on happiness?

Diener cites five sources of happiness: social interactions, temperament and adaptability, money, society and culture, and positive thinking methods. People that are happy have strong social bonds. Wealth, according to Diener, is really connected to happiness, especially in impoverished civilizations. He says people in these countries tend to be poor because they're not able to make enough money to be happy.

Happiness also depends on one's capacity to change cultures and societies. In countries where people move around a lot, find work, and switch jobs often, they're likely to be more stable emotionally and thus be happier.

Finally, positive thinking methods such as gratitude lists, prayer, and meditation can help us become happier. Research shows that people who think positively about their lives are actually happier than those who don't.

Overall, what is clear is that happiness is a subjective experience that cannot be defined or predicted. There are many factors that go into creating a happy person, but some things do stand out. Social connections, wealth, and positive thinking all seem to make people happy.

About Article Author

Maria Moore

Maria Moore is a lifestyle coach who helps people live their best life by identifying their strengths, passions, and values. She also helps them develop the skills they need to take action and make things happen. She has been coaching for over 10 years and finds the best ways to help people reach their goals by using her own life experiences as a guide.

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