Awesome Facts about Happiness
Awesome Facts about Happiness

56 Cheerful Facts about Happiness

By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published August 19, 2017Updated August 22, 2017
  • Happy people embrace failure. Failing is a way to figure out what works, and then making changes that lead to happiness and success.[13]
  • People who spend more time on Facebook and other social media report having lower self-esteem, less connection to others, and fewer positive emotions.[13]
  • The average life satisfaction for the Forbes richest Americans was 5.8 on a 7-point scale. The average life satisfaction of the Pennsylvania Amish is also 5.8, even though they make several billion dollars less.[6]
  • People who constantly check their email are less happy than those who check their email just three times a day.[13]
  • Polls indicate that life satisfaction is higher for older adults than younger adults. Specifically, almost 50% of Americans over the age of 65 are “very happy,” compared to just 31% of those ages 18-24.[14]
  • Certain types of food can create at least quick boosts of happiness. Foods like milk, chicken, and nuts contain tryptophan, which increases the production of serotonin, a chemical linked to feelings of calm and happiness.[14]
  • Interesting Chocolate Fact
    The secret to happiness: Chocolate
  • Researchers have found that eating chocolate causes the brain to release endorphins, which are chemicals that make us feel good. However, moderation is key. Just a small amount, such as a couple of chocolate kisses or half of an ounce, is enough to boost a person’s mood.[8]
  • Researchers have shown that coffee makes drinkers happier by stimulating their response to positive words. Scientists believe the caffeine stimulates part of the brain connected to positivity.[11]
  • Happiness is contagious. A person who has a close “happy” friend increases his or own feelings of happiness by 15%. Even being near happy acquaintances, or “third-degree” friends, increases the chance of happiness by 6%.[14]
  • The top ten happiest countries in the world are 1) Switzerland, 2) Iceland, 3) Denmark, 4) Norway, 5) Canada, 6) Finland, 7) Netherlands, 8) Sweden, 9) New Zealand, and 10 Australia. The United States came in 15th, after Mexico.[7]
  • The ten least happiest countries in the world are 1) Togo, 2) Burundi, 3) Syria, 4) Benin, 5) Rwanda, 6) Afghanistan, 7) Burkin Faso, 8) Ivory Coast, 9) Guinea, and 10) Chad.[7]
  • Expressing gratitude has been shown to be a significant stress buster and generates a more optimistic and happy outlook on life.[14]
  • Researchers have shown that just 20 minutes of aerobic exercise fights depression and boosts happiness long after the workout. During exercise, “happy” hormones, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine all increase.[14]
  • Happiness levels are about 50% genetic, 10% circumstance, and about 40% choice. In other words, a large part of happiness is under our control.[14]
  • Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.

    - Abraham Lincoln

  • Happy people have their own share of challenges and tragedies; the difference is how they cope with those challenges. People with a more optimistic attitude are more likely to bounce back from their challenges. They were also able to stabilize their heart rates more quickly that those who were more negative.[12]
  • Happiness is not an end in itself, and, in fact, constantly seeking out happiness often leads to loneliness. Instead, happiness is a byproduct of other activities, such as engaging in productive work, investing in hobbies, or serving other people.[2]
  • Researchers note that “savoring” even ordinary events is a powerful way to boost happiness. Additionally, people who viewed time--rather than money--as a precious resource had higher levels of happiness.[2]
  • Research indicates that that those who go to church are happier than those who do not. However, it has little to do with religion and more to do about socializing. Going to church is essentially scheduled “friend” time.[20]
  • The hippocampus is the area of the human brain that is responsible for happiness and positive memories.[12]
  • Petting a dog or cat or other furry pets releases oxytocin (the “cuddle hormone”), which creates instant happiness. Oxytocin also lowers blood pressure and reduces stress levels.[14]
  • Scientific Fact about Happiness
    Pets make us happier and healthier

  • According to Forbes, the top ten happiest jobs are 1) principal, 2) executive chef, 3) loan officer, 4) automation engineer, 5) research assistant, 6) Oracle database administrator, 7) website developer, 8) business development executive, 9) senior software engineer, and 10) systems developer.[23]
  • Married people are happier than single people, particularly if married people reported marrying their “best friend.”[14]
  • Happiness is a big business. Self-help books generate over $1 billion in annual sales. Additionally, the global market for antidepressants is over $17 billion.[20]
  • According to Forbes, the top ten least happiest jobs are 1) security officer, 2) merchandiser, 3) salesperson, 4) dispatcher, 5) clerk, 6) research analyst, 7) legal assistant, 8) technical support agent, 9) truck driver, and 10) customer service specialist.[23]
  • For the ancient Greeks, happiness was a civic virtue that required a lifetime of cultivation.[20]
  • The amount of sleep a person gets directly influences their happiness levels. Sleep deprivation directly increases depression and stress levels.[18]
  • Researchers note that sex once a week is the optimum amount for maximizing happiness. Couples who have sex more than that are not happier; however, couples who report having less than that report being less happy.[16]
  • Facts about Happiness
    Girls' happiness drops during their preteens
  • Girls’ happiness levels dramatically drop at 11 years old. Their happiness begins to stabilize again at 16 years old.[4]
  • While Americans tend to seek high-intensity types of happiness, such as joy, excitement, and euphoria, Danes and Swedes value lower-intensity happiness, such as contentment and relaxation. They also see happiness as a byproduct of life and not an end.[25]
  • A 2009 University of Michigan study found that chronically ill patients who accepted their condition reported being happier than those who focused on being cured.[15]
  • The happiest state in the United States is Alaska, followed by Hawaii, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. The saddest states were West Virginia, followed by Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and Mississippi.[24]
  • The perpetually happy “Smiley” face, with its yellow face and two black dot eyes, was invented in 1963. It was originally created to boost morale among employees of an insurance company.[21]
  • It is well known that weather and mood are linked. Scientists have discovered the ideal temperature at which happiness peaks: 57.02 degrees Fahrenheit.[15]
  • The word “happiness” is from the Middle English hap, meaning “chance” or “good luck.” Not surprisingly, then, forms of the word “happiness” can be found in perhaps and happenstance.[22]
  • The main characteristic that distinguishes the top 10% of the happiest people from everyone else is this: The strength of social relationships. Social support is a greater predictor of happiness than any other factor.[20]
  • Random Happiness Facts
    Friends are strongly linked to happiness

  • The United States Constitution declares that all “men have a right to the pursuit of happiness.”[24]
  • A 2013 study showed that husbands were happier if their wives were more attractive than they were.[15]
  • People are happier when they spend money on experiences, such as tickets to a concert or a trip, rather than spending money on objects.[14]
  • A Princeton study found that happiness rose with income, but not much beyond $75,000 a year. In other words, past $75,000, happiness was a result of other factors.[19]
  • Studies show that winning the lottery doesn’t lead to happiness. Just months after winning the lottery, a winner’s happiness level returned either to a previous baseline or to even lower levels.[3]
  • Long-term yoga practice can boost happiness levels and reduce fear, anger, and fatigue.[1]
  • Surprising Happiness Fact
    Flowers bring happiness
  • Researchers at the University of Florida have shown that a flower’s smell positively influences a person’s emotions. Additionally, certain perfumes can influence people to be more altruistic.[15]
  • Studies show that bronze medalists are happier than silver medalists because they are happy just to get a medal at all.[2]
  • Being compassionate to others--as well as oneself--leads to greater happiness.[14]
  • Happiness researchers note that the happiness levels of parents directly affect the happiness level of their kids. In other words, happy parents are statistically more likely to have happy children.[2]
  • Children, especially adolescent girls, who eat family dinners, are more likely to happier, successful, and healthier.[2]
  • Neuroscientists believe that hearing another person laugh triggers mirror neurons in the listener that makes him or her believe they are actually laughing themselves.[12]
  • The term “fake it until you make it” is true for happiness. Researchers note that even when faking a smile, people start to feel happier.[2]
  • Parents who overemphasize their children’s achievements actually increase the likelihood their children will become depressed and anxious.[2]
  • Children who are taught to view and interpret the world optimistically are nearly half as less likely to become depressed when they later go through puberty.[2]
  • Mind Blowing Happiness Fact
    For happier kids, let them play
  • Researchers note that unstructured playtime helps children learn how to share, negotiate, work in groups, and speak up for themselves, all of which lead to higher levels of happiness overall.[5]
  • Teaching kids self-discipline increases their happiness and success later in life. Specifically a preschooler’s ability delay gratification predicted later levels of intelligence, success, and happiness.[5]
  • Happier people tend to watch significantly less television than unhappy people. Additionally, researchers found that children who watch less television are happier than those who watch more.[5]
  • The regret you feel for not taking an action often lasts longer than the regret you feel from taking action and failing.[17]
  • Women who spend time with a BFF and who have a strong social network of other women live 22 percent longer than those who don’t.[9]
  • February 16 is "Do a Grouch a Favor Day," which is a day for doing favors for grouchy people, from a neighbor, to a coworker, or someone in the family. Hopefully the kind gesture leads to a smile and a better day for the unhappy person.[10]
References

110 Yoga Poses to Feel Happier Fast.” Prevention. October 29, 2012. Accessed: January 24, 2016.

2Achor, Shawn. The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work. New York, NY: Crown Business, 2010.

3Adams, Susan. “Why Winning the Powerball Won’t Make You Happy.” Forbes. November 28, 2012. Accessed: January 13, 2016.

4Anderson, Charlotte Hilton. “Girls’ Happiness Drops Sharply at 11 Years Old.” Shape. 2016. Accessed: January 13, 2016.

5Barker, Eric. “How to Raise Happy Kids: 10 Steps Backed by Science.” Time. March 24, 2014. Accessed: January 24, 2016.

6———.If You Want to Be Happier, Should You Be a Billionaire or Be Amish?Business Insider. April 7, 2012. Accessed: January 24, 2016.

7Brodwin, Erin. “The Happiest Countries in the World, According to Neuroscientists, Statisticians, and Economists.” Business Insider. April 23, 2105. Accessed: January 23, 3016.

8Ciampa, Linda. “Researchers Say Chocolate Triggers Feel-Good Chemicals.” CNN. February 14, 1996. Accessed: January 24, 2016.

9Deville. Nancy. "Do Women Need Girlfriends?" HuffPost. December 14, 2011. Accessed: February 13, 2018.

10"Do a Grouch a Favor Day." Crave. February 16, 2016. Accessed: February 16, 2018.

11Gayle, Damian. “Coffee ‘May Make Us Happier’: Study Finds People Recognise Positive Words More Quickly When Dosed with the Stimulant.” Daily Mail. November 13, 2012. Accessed: January 24, 2016.

12Hanson, Rick. Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence. New York, NY: Harmony, 2013.

13Hetter, Katia. “10 Ways to Get Happy.” CNN. Updated March 30, 2015. Accessed: January 24, 2016.

14Holmes, Lindsay. “27 Things You Need to Know About Happiness.” Huffington Post. March 20, 2014. Accessed: January 19, 2106.

15Howard, Jacqueline. “These 11 Scientific Facts about Happiness Will Have You Rethinking Your Search for Happiness.” Huffington Post. January 21, 2014. Accessed: January 23, 2016.

16Luscomebe, Belinda. “For a Happier Sex Life, Have Sex Once a Week.” Time. November 18, 2015. Accessed: January 13, 2016.

17Markman, Art. "When Do You Regret Actions and Inactions?" Psychology Today. December 30, 2016. Accessed: February 4, 2018.

18More Sleep Would Make Most Americans Happier, Healthier and Safer.” American Psychological Association. February 2014. Accessed: January 13, 2016.

19Sahidi, Jeanne. “How Much Do You Need to Be Happy?” CNN. June 5, 2014. Accessed: January 13, 2016.

20Schoch, Richard. The Secrets of Happiness: Three Thousand Years of Searching for the Good Life. New York, NY: Scribner, 2006.

21Stamp, Jimmy. “Who Really Invented the Smiley Face?Smithsonian. March 13, 2013. Accessed: January 23, 2016.

22Taber, Michael. “The Etymology of Happiness, and Some Related Words.” St. Mary’s College of Maryland. 2016. Accessed: January 23, 2016.

23The Happiest and Unhappiest Job in 2015.” Forbes. 2015. Accessed: February 23, 2016.

24Willett, Megan. “The 10 Happiest States in America.” Business Insider. February 19, 2015. Accessed: January 23, 2016.

25World Happiness Report.” Sustainable Development Solutions Network: A Global Initiative for the United Nations. September 9, 2013. Accessed: January 19, 2016.

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