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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Happiness: Post #2 - Psychological Wealth

Psychological wealth: The authors explain it as: “Life satisfaction and happiness; spirituality and meaning in life; positive attitudes and emotions; loving social relationships; engaging activities and work; values and life goals to achieve them; physical and mental health; and material sufficiency to meet our needs.” Happiness is not a destination but the journey, a way of approaching life. And we want to go on that journey because happiness research reveals that happy people live longer, marry and stay married longer, have less illness, commit fewer crimes, work harder and smarter, are more creative and make more money—to mention only a few in a long list. In a now famous “nun study,” researcher Deborah Danner and her team discovered the biographies written when now aged nuns were new recruits (novitiates) to the order. Qualitative content analysis studies of those bios proved most instructive. For example, of the nuns in the study considered to be the “least happy” nuns, only 18% were still alive at 93.  Whereas, of the nuns considered to be the “most happy,” fully 52% were still happy and praying at 93! Nuns who wrote happier bios MANY years before lived longer, happier lives.

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