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According to new science, it would seem that there are a few factors in life that make us happier than others. Recently, a US psychology professor by the name of Martin Seligman published a paper on what makes us as human beings happy.

He’s constructed a list that very much resembles the bible, as the list contains ten items which lead us to happiness. Items are ranked by level of importance, and a score to show how important it is. The score range is 0 to 5 with a .5 level of accuracy.

  • Good genes
    If you are born into a happy family, chances are high that you are genetically disposed to be happy. (5 points)
  • Marriage
    Marriage gives you more happiness than just living together with someone on a common-law spouse basis. (3 points)
  • Friends and family
    Having good friends and connections to your family increases your happiness. (2.5 points)
  • Being realistic
    Setting realistic goals for yourself and keeping your expectations down makes life easier. (2 points)
  • Faith and religion
    Having faith in a god gives life a purpose and a higher meaning. (1.5 points)
  • Selfless deeds
    Doing good deeds for others without any self-interest makes you forget about yourself and your own problems. (1.5 points)
  • Self appearance
    Ignore your own worries about appearances and just believe that you are pretty. (1 point)
  • Wealth
    Giving up your quest for money, and material goods are not the way to happiness. (0.5 points)
  • Age
    Do not fear age, elder people are just as happy as the younger ones. (0.5 points)
  • Intelligence
    Be happy with your intelligence. It has little or no relevance to being happy. (0.5 points)

One thing that may come as a surprise to many, is that the lesser fortunate people in life tend to be happier about life than those with good fortune. Poor people, homeless people and drug addicts were in many cases more content than people in the middle class and upwards.

This kinda goes to prove what I’ve been saying for ages, which is that materialistic wealth only leads to depression in the long run if it is to be considered a vital part of your view on your self-happiness. If you believe that riches make you happy, the items you own end up owning you. Instead, what these people obviously do is cherish what they have. As should we all, if we ourselves can’t cherish what we have well then who can?

Life is all about what you make it yourself. I live by the motto ‘Carpe Diem’, also known as ‘seize the day’. The day you are living today might be your last. And you are always more fortunate than you think you are, you just need to take a few steps back and try looking at the bigger picture.

If you just pause for a few seconds and look at all the things you have in your life I’m sure that you will end up surprised. And if you’re thinking about the things you own, you’ve still not understood what this article is about.

Be grateful, live life to the fullest and keep smiling. The ones that keep on smiling are the ones that spread joy and happiness around, and as they say, what goes around comes around.

By Jostein Elvaker Haande

"A free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular" - Adlai Stevenson

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