How Do You Define Happiness?

By Becky Hsu

This past week, while people were celebrating (or not celebrating) Valentine’s Day, an oddly-coupled pair of news items emerged pertaining to research on happiness.

A multi-country survey concluded that partners are the main source of happiness: nearly two-thirds of couples say their partner is the most important source of happiness in their lives. However, a study in New Zealand found that widows and widowers are among the happiest people who have tied the knot (particularly women). So, what are to conclude from this? Are people happy because of their spouses? Or, are people happier after their spouses die?

The trick is in how people define happiness to begin with. When someone asks you, “How happy are you, on a scale of 1-10?” your answer will depend on at least three things:

1) Mood. Have you had a good week? A good day? [Read more...]


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