More new research: What increases the odds of happiness?

More new research: What increases the odds of happiness?

A new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper called “International Happiness,” by economists David G. Blanchflower of Dartmouth College in the U.S. and Andrew J. Oswald  of the University of Warwick in England, offers some insights.

Blanchflower and Oswald give an overview of findings, in a number of nations, about factors that are associated statistically with either increased or decreased levels of reported well-being. Among the characteristics that they say have been shown to be linked, in people in a substantial number of nations, to a greater likelihood of happiness, are being:

  • Young or old (rather than in midlife)

  • Financially well-off

  • Educated

  • Married

  • Employed

  • Physically healthy

  • A person who exercises

  • Someone who eats a diet that contains lots of fruits and vegetables

  • Not overweight.

In other words, if your mother or father advised you to eat right and exercise, get a good education, get a good job and get married, they had a point: People who are successful in following those pieces of advice are, statistically speaking, more likely to be among the happy.  (However, if mom and/or dad also advised you to have children, you may want to note: The economists report that, at least in the U.S., having children at home is associated with less happiness.)

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