Skip to content
August 25, 2007 / compassioninpolitics

The Pursuit of Happiness: What makes you happy??

brandihappinessflickr622601843_31cbc39ccb.jpgSo what does make us as humans happy? What makes you happy? I’ve run across three interesting perspectives on the pursuit of happiness: 

First, the folks at Justice and Compassion quoting Brian McLaren from his upcoming book on globalization and social justice:

“According to a global survey, three out of four of the happiest people groups in the world are not rich consumers. Using a scale where 7 marks the maximum of happiness, Forbes magazine’s richest Americans came in second (5.8), tied with the Pennsylvania Amish. Close behind them (5.7) were the Masai of East Africa, a tribe without electricity or running water who live in huts made of dung. Happiest of all – ahead of America’s richest – were the Inuits of Greenland (5.9).

Next, a nationally prominent local non-profitModest Needs links to a cool study on happiness and charity. The original article can be found is here.

The old adage that it is better to give than to receive is more than just biblical wisdom or a mother’s chasten to her child — science is proving it to be the key to a healthier, happier, even longer, life. A flurry of research is showing that giving has a whole range of health benefits, including fewer aches and pains, better mental health, lower stress levels and improved protection against illness.And if one study has it right, the best gift you can give this Christmas is yourself. Benevolence, it found, can be better than not smoking or exercising four times a week if it is long life you seek.Stephen Post, an American bioethicist examining the growing body of evidence linking altruism to improved health, says people have always understood giving has benefits. But no one has quite figured out exactly why that is.All this research suggests that a climate of warm, cohesive community and its attendant values are more important than material comfort or other external factors (like climate – in view of the Inuits!) in producing happiness.

Finally, Ethan Demme quotes an MTV study here:


When asked what one thing makes them most happy, 20 percent mentioned spending time with family — more than anything else. About three-quarters — 73 percent — said their relationship with their parents makes them happy. After family, it was relationships with friends that people mentioned most.[…]

“They’re my foundation,” says Kristiana St. John, 17, a high-school student from Queens in New York. “My mom tells me that even if I do something stupid, she’s still going to love me no matter what. Just knowing that makes me feel very happy and blessed.”


Did someone say polls? 🙂 So, what do you think =’s happiness? Which of the above perspectives resonates with you most or do they all resonate?

photo from .brandi

One Comment

Leave a Comment
  1. Douglas Woods / Nov 12 2007 10:30 am

    I was intrigued to read that giving is better than receiving, as you say;

    science is proving it to be the key to a healthier, happier, even longer, life.

    It is nice to see that something you felt was true is now being demonstrated by science.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: