- “No time of life is notably happier or unhappier than others” (p. 11). The kind of things that affect happiness may change with age but age alone is not a key to knowing how happy a person is. (supported by a study of over 16,000 people in 16 countries).
- Although there are differences between women and men in the experience of happiness, overall the levels of happiness are about the same for women and men.
- The empty nest when children leave home is more often a happy time. The “empty nest syndrome”, depression from children leaving home, “turns out to be rare.”
- Knowing how happy a person feels does not tell you anything about how bad they might feel. People who are intensely happy tend to experience bad events or difficulties intensely also.
- Nations do vary in reported overall levels of happiness. For example, Inglehart (1990) found 10% of the people of Portugal indicated they were “very happy” whereas 40% of people in the Netherlands indicated they were “very happy.” In general countries that are more collectivistic (emphasis on family, groups, community) report lower levels of happiness than individualistic cultures, where the emphasis is on the individual.
- The relationship between money and happiness is “modest’. “Wealth . . . is like health: Its absence can breed misery, yet having it is no guarantee of happiness . . . Satisfaction is less a matter of getting what you want than wanting what you have” (p. 13).
Myers, D. G., & Diener, E. (1995). Who is happy? Psychological Science, 6 (1), 10-19.
"Denali." © John Ballard, 2013. All rights reserved.