Happiness is good for your health
While being happy results in greater levels of these hormones, it also leads to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol has a negative impact on our immune system, causes us to age more rapidly, and actually thins our skin and weakens our bones.
Consequently, happy people have a stronger immune system, preventing them from catching a common cold and other diseases. Moreover, even if happy people do become sick, they tend to recover faster and have fewer symptoms than unhappy people do.
Money doesn’t make you happy – as long as you earn less than your neighbor.
Would you rather live in a world where you earn more than you do today but less than everyone else, or one where you earn less than today but more than everyone else?
Given the choice, most people would prefer to live in the latter world.
A country’s goal shouldn’t be economic growth, but the greatest happiness for the greatest number.
As we’ve learned, even though material wealth has steadily increased, people haven’t become happier in the last fifty years.
Following the Second World War, when many people were poor and craved material wealth, using a country’s GDP as the main indicator of its population’s well-being seemed quite appropriate. Yet in today’s world of relative abundance, the health of a Western country’s GDP doesn’t correspond to the happiness, needs and desires of the people.
If this seems wrongheaded or wildly unrealistic to you, just take a look at the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. Since the 1970s, Bhutan’s main objective hasn’t been the gross national product, but the gross national happiness. To this end, Bhutan’s wealth is redistributed in order to minimize extreme poverty and status competition among the population.
According to the author, the people of Bhutan appear to be far happier than people living elsewhere.