Posts Tagged ‘Wellbeing’

Against all the odds, the world is becoming a happier place

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Despite deepening economic gloom and impending climatic destruction the world is becoming a happier place, according to an analysis of quarter of a century of data on wellbeing from 45 countries around the globe. The finding goes against the received wisdom that a country’s economic advances do not translate into increased wellbeing among its citizens.

The researchers who compiled the data believe increasing levels of happiness were not picked up until now because studies have tended to focus on rich countries where increases in wealth make little difference to their citizens’ satisfaction with life.

“The classic view, which we are not disputing, is that there are diminishing marginal returns to economic development,” said Roberto Foa at Harvard University. “So for initial levels of economic development people are escaping subsistence poverty and people’s subjective levels of happiness will increase.”

Click here for the full article.

If you’re ever having trouble coming up with one more happy thought to complete your five happy thoughts per day, just remember that the world is becoming a happier place.  That’s bound to make you smile.

-MJ

Australia: Women aren’t as upbeat as men

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

 

Women’s sense of wellbeing has fallen to its lowest level in seven years as inflation erodes the family budget and creates concerns about future economic security, a new study shows.

The findings, from the Australian Unity Wellbeing Index study, show a precipitous decline in women’s sense of wellbeing, but men’s wellbeing has stabilised at record-high levels.

The latest survey, based on a sample of 2000 people, was taken in April and May. For the first time in the history of the survey, which has charted the nation’s mood on 19 occasions since 2001, the wellbeing of males was higher than females.

Click here for the full article.

I don’t mean to whine or insult my male readers, but could the fact that women generally bear the most responsibility and worries of child-rearing be contributing their lower levels of happiness?

Such worries would be compounded in single-mother households.  Add the possibly lower salary that women receive (there is still a gender gap in salaries in the US, and I’m just assuming there may be one in Australia also) to the mix, and you have the perfect equation for a lot of stress and strain and unhappiness.

-MJ

Heaven knows why we are all miserable now, say the Christian MPs

Monday, May 12th, 2008

The primary cause of unhappiness in Britain is not lack of material wealth but a loss of faith in God and religion, a group of MPs says today. In a new report on wellbeing, a crossparty group of Christian MPs echoes concerns raised by the Conservative leader, David Cameron, who has emphasised repeatedly the importance of action to improve society’s sense of “wellbeing”. They say that the Christian voice is not being respected properly because it comes across too often as “negative”.

Steve Webb, a Liberal Democrat MP, said: “Over the years, many of us who are MPs rooted in the Christian community have been concerned that our voice in the public square can come across as being too negative.

“We are easily identified by what we are against, but less clear what we are for.” He said that, despite material wealth, society lacked a sense of wellbeing. He argued that this had been caused by the erosion of religious values.

Click here for the full article.

Politicians told to focus on wellbeing

Monday, April 28th, 2008

[...] It is time for politicians to start focusing on the politics of wellbeing rather than the politics of wealth, one of the world’s leading psychologists told an audience in Auckland last night (April 22).Professor Martin Seligman, the pioneer of positive psychology, told an audience of 150 people attending a lecture at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, sponsored by Human Resource consultancy the Foresight Institute, that creating wealth was no longer enough.

Despite countries such as New Zealand, Australia and the United States being wealthier than ever before, they were all experiencing epidemics of depression, he said. New Zealand scored particularly badly in world rankings of wellbeing, usually placed at around 22 or 23, compared with Australia, which was usually placed around 8.

“Why is there so much pessimism and depression and lack of wellbeing?” he asked. “Given the prosperity of your nation, and given what’s happened in the past century, why is there so much depression? Depression is probably 20 times more common than it was 50 years ago.

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Happy is enough

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Luckily the annual Australian Unity wellbeing index – the statistical smile tracker – was released this week, which helped shed some light on this consumerist conundrum.

The what-makes-us-happy report discovered that happiness starts to stall as household income passes $100,000.

According to the authors, once you crack six figures “money loses its ability to reliably raise wellbeing and does not increase in line with increasing income”.

Which makes perfect sense. It’s a fancy way of describing what I call the economics of enough.

Click here for the full article.