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When we talk about happiness, most of people will take the wealth as the prior consideration.|
The new analysis of Gallup World Poll data suggests, however, that trying to compare the happiness of one nation to another is not straightforward.
Rather, there are two major categories of happiness: overall life satisfaction; and more moment-to-moment enjoyment of life. And while overall satisfaction of life is strongly tied to income, meaning richer nations and individuals have more of this overall bliss, how much one enjoys life (by measures such as laughing and smiling) depends more on social and psychological needs being met. These include having social support and using one's abilities, as opposed to sitting at a mind-numbing job.
The United States, which had the highest gross domestic product per capita, came in at No. 16 for overall well-being and No. 26 for enjoyment, referred to as positive feelings. The No. 1 spot for overall well-being went to Denmark, and New Zealand landed the No. 1 slot for positive feelings. [Happiest States Revealed]
"Everybody has been looking at just life satisfaction and income," said study researcher Ed Diener of the University of Illinois and the Gallup Organization. "And while it is true that getting richer will make you more satisfied with your life, it may not have the big impact we thought on enjoying life."
The positive feelings aspect of happiness could have evolutionary roots. "Whereas life satisfaction reflects whether people are obtaining their values and goals in a long-term and big picture sense, positive feelings seem to arise from momentary things that are prewired, since feeling good about the support of others and about using skills are both necessary for humans to thrive and survive," Diener told LiveScience.
The findings are detailed this month in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
http://www.csmonitor.com/Science ... -s-not-the-happiest