What are the ingredients of life

Happiness Research: Six Ingredients for Personal Happiness

They say there is no recipe for happiness. Or is it? More and more scientists are concerned with the definition, the origin and the effects of happiness. In doing so, they consider social, economic or psychological aspects. Everyone is looking for a handy formula for happiness. Fortunately, there actually seem to be a few indispensable ingredients for the recipe. This is shown by a foray into the theses of renowned happiness researchers, which are now available as an anthology ("Glück - The World Book of Happiness", Dumont).


The Germans are a happy people

"All in all, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole at the moment?" Professor Ruut Veenhofen from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam asked this question in 148 nations. Costa Rica (8.5), Denmark (8.3), Canada and Switzerland (8.0 each) achieved top values ​​on a scale of up to 10. The least happy are the people in Togo (2.6), Tanzania (2.6) and Zimbabwe (2.8). Germany is in the top fifth with 7.1 lucky points - tied with Nicaragua and well behind Mexico.


money alone does not make you happy

Most researchers emphasize that money or prosperity are by no means a guarantee of happiness. It does not grow steadily with material prosperity. "When people are out of the poverty line, higher incomes add almost nothing to their happiness," says Professor Robert Lane of Yale University.

Compare with others or not?

To be happy with modest comfort means not to compare yourself to others who have more. "Get rid of envy!" Recommends Professor David Watson of the University of Iowa in the United States. At this point, however, the spirits of happiness researchers differ: Depending on the cultural background, they focus more on individual development and purely personal happiness, which can be actively conquered, or on serving the community. Asian scientists in particular see the latter as the key to happiness.

The ability to be happy can be learned

Opinions of the role faith and religion play in individual happiness are just as varied. However, many scholars see at least the spirituality factor as important. Purely rational people, it seems, are less happy.

The ability to be happy can be learned

But is the ability to be happy in the cradle? "50 percent of our happiness potential is innate. 10 percent can be ascribed to the circumstances in which we live. But 40 percent of the happiness potential lies in our hands," says social psychologist Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky from the University of California. Others say that the ability to be happy can be learned and trained. For example, by reinterpreting mistakes as learning experiences and focusing on the positive.

Social contacts as the key

Other researchers emphasize in their work the importance of sport, humor, meaningful work, health or sex for a happy life. The ability to divide one's time wisely is also mentioned as a factor of happiness. Or striving to develop a cheerful temperament.

Worldwide, one direction promises prospects of success: the ability to experience oneself as a social being. Whether friends, partnerships or family - you should cultivate close, reliable relationships and build networks that support you yourself.

Six ingredients for the recipe for happiness

And what about the lucky recipe? Croatian psychologists Dubravka Miklovic and Majda Rijavec from the University of Zagreb name six essential ingredients: Some good, reliable friends. A stable love relationship. A job that fits your own skills. Enough money for basic needs. At least three great experiences a day. Gratitude for all of this.