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Wow, it’s Friday again! Today I’ve got a collection of somewhat random, but definitely interesting, facts about happiness. These are bits of information that I collected as I was writing several other posts about happiness. Some may be familiar to you, but I suspect that most of them you probably haven’t heard before! I was certainly surprised to learn many of these facts about happiness.
Last year at Christmas time, the family got into a late-night round of Trivial Pursuit. My son and I crushed everyone – every single game! (I think we made it through 3 games that night!) Much of the reason we played so well was because he and I both enjoy collecting these little factoids about all different topics. You never know when random knowledge will prove beneficial! Ok, well, you know it helps in Trivial Pursuit…and the Thursday night trivia contests my husband and I regularly attended prior to COVID Life.
Who knows, maybe someday in the non-too-distant future, you’ll be at a classy cocktail party and have reason to whip out some obscure but interesting detail about happiness that you learned here. Because, hey – it’s more interesting than discussing the weather!
Surprising Facts About Happiness
Contributors to Happiness
1. Happiness has long been considered to be determined by 3 primary factors: 50% genetics, 40% intention, and 10% life circumstance. Keeping in mind that happiness is not hard science, this may be a bit of an over-simplification. Regardless, we can at least understand that happiness is not completely predestined by your genetic makeup.
Happiness is also influenced by the circumstances in which you live, and to a large extent, by your actions, your attitude, and the way you handle situations. In other words, if it is your intention to experience life in a happy way, you probably will.
Intention is what puts YOU in the driver’s seat when it comes to experiencing happiness.
Happiness on a Global Scale
2. Based on 2017 statistics, the most satisfied country in the world was Finland, followed by Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and the Netherlands. In fact, Nordic countries occupied the top three spots in 2017, 2018, and 2019. It’s hard to determine exactly why this remains such a constant. It is likely due at least partly to the fact that Nordic citizens experience a high sense of autonomy and freedom, as well as high levels of social trust towards each other and their social institutions.
3. In contrast to the Nordic countries, the United States ranked much lower, at #18 in 2016 and dropping one place to #19 in 2017.
4. Research found that the world’s happiest children live in Mexico, Spain, and Brazil. What do these countries have in common? They are all places in which family relationships tend to be highly prized and prioritized.
Happiness in the U.S.A.
5. In a 2017 study, only 33% of Americans surveyed said they were happy.
6. One survey found that 65 out of 100 people would choose happiness over health, demonstrating that happiness is highly valued.
7. The people in the 2017 study who reported being the happiest were men and women in high-income households and those with a high school diploma or less.
8. Republicans overall reported greater levels of happiness than Democrats.
9. A whopping 40 percent of Americans say they “sometimes or always feel their social relationships are not meaningful.”
10. 20 percent of Americans describe themselves as, “lonely or socially isolated.”
11. 28 percent of older adults are living alone. In terms of physical health, loneliness can have as much of a negative impact on the body as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
12. Happiness has often been described as a “U” curve. It is at a high when you’re in your twenties, dips down to its lowest point in middle age, and then shoots back up again in your late sixties. That dip is often referred to as a “Mid-Life Crisis”. However, newer studies seem to be countering the “U” curve, and researchers are starting to question the accuracy of the U Curve model – as well as the inevitability of the mid-life crisis!
13. People are least happy with their looks from ages 55 to 59. They are not at their happiest during their youthful years as one might expect, but instead, after the age of 70.
Happy News About Happiness
14. Self-confidence, while not the same as happiness, certainly contributes to it. Self-confidence peaks at around age sixty, which may partially explain the reported rise in happiness at that age.
15. The highest levels of happiness were reported by people that spent 6 or 7 hours per day socializing.
16. Study participants who described themselves as being “happy” or “extremely happy” exhibited a healthier heart rate pattern than those who were “moderately happy” or “not happy”.
17. Those who are exposed to floral scents are about three times happier, demonstrating the powerful but subtle ways our senses can influence our emotions.
18. Some studies have shown that happier people are less likely to come down with the common cold.
19. People who reported feeling happier were 35% less likely to die over the course of the next five years.
20. Researchers have found that exercising just 10 minutes a day improves a subject’s mood, reduces stress, and generally enhances well-being.
21. The likelihood of happiness rises 15.3 percent if a family member or close friend is happy.
- 101 Ways to be Happier
- 7 Simple Steps to Boost Your Happiness
- Positivity Blogs Sure to Boost Your Happiness: Friday Favorites
- Can Meditation Make You Happier?
Final Thoughts on 21 Eye-Opening Facts About Happiness
So, 21 quick statistics about happiness. Personally, my biggest surprise was just how interrelated happiness and health are. Happiness makes you healthier; health makes you happier. I kinda love it, actually.
What was your biggest take-away from these statistics? Let’s have a conversation in the comments!