Looking for Happiness?
Researchers back up what you probably already knew: Surrounding yourself with people, not stuff, is the key.
Brought to you by Liberty Mutual's
The Responsibility Project
From time immemorial, people have been seeking the key to happiness. Now one Swedish study is just a bit closer to cracking the code – though the study’s revelation is likely something you already assumed.
Researchers from Sahlgrenska Academy and Lund University analyzed more than 1.5 million words that appeared in Swedish newspapers in 2010 and found that while words associated with people – such as you or me, grandmother, or proper names (such as the soccer star Zlatan) – tended to appear with the Swedish word for happiness, words association with “things” did not.
Researchers said in the study, published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, that the word analysis “reflects a collective perception among the members of our society as to what should make us happy.” In other words, the researchers insist that the study, part of a larger research project on how people describe both positive and negative events in their lives, brings us closer to a “collective theory of happiness itself.”
Most people understand that money can’t buy happiness or love, said Danilo Garcia, a researcher in psychology at the Sahlgrenska Academy’s Centre for Ethics, Law and Mental Health. “But even if we as individuals can understand the importance of close and warm relationships on a social level, it isn’t certain that everyone is aware that such relationships are actually necessary for our own personal happiness.”
Do you find the results of the word association study to be old news, or would they cause you to rededicate yourself to relationships for the sake of your happiness?