Over the last 70 years, researchers have been studying happy and unhappy peopke and finally found out ten factors that make a difference. Our feelings of well-being at any moment are determined to a certain degree by genes. However, of all the factors, wealth and age are the top two.
Money can buy a degree of happiness. But once you can afford to feed, clothe and house yourself, each extra dollar makes less and less difference.
Researchers find that, on average, wealthier people are happier. But the link between money and happiness is complex. In the past half-century, average income has sharply inereased in developed countries, yet happiness levels have remained almost the same. Once your basic needs are met, money only seems to increase happiness if you have more than your friends, neighbors and colleagues.
“Dollars buy status, and status makes people feel better,” conclude some experts, which helps explain why people who can seek status in other ways-scientists or actors, for example-may happily accept relatively poorly-paid jobs.
In a research, Professor Alex Michalos found that the people whose desires-not just for money, but for friends, family, job, health-rose furthest beyond what they already had, tended to be less happy than those who felt a smaller gap (差距)。Indeed, the size of the gap predicted happiness about five times better than income alone. “The gap measures just blow away the only measures of income.”says Michalos.
Another factor that has to do with happiness is age. Old age may not be so bad“Given all the problems of aging, how could the elderly be more satisfied？”asks Protessor Laura Carstensen.
In one survey, Carstensen in tervicwed 184 people between the ages of 18 and 94, and asked them to fill out an emotions questionnaire. She found that old people reported positive emotions just as often as young people, Some scientists suggest older people may expect life to be harder and learn to live with it, or they’re more realistic abour their time running out, older people have learned to focus on things that make them happy and let go of those that don’t.
“People realize not only what they have, but also that what they have cannot last forever,” she says. “A goodbye kiss to a husband or wife at the age of 85, for example, may bring far more complex emotional responses than a similar kiss to a boy or girl friend at the age of 20.”