How hard is it to stay happy

Become and stay happy - from income, work-life balance and the happiest country in the world

How do I get happy

Luck in the game, luck in drawing the lottery numbers, or just being able to step on the brakes - luck and bliss are very versatile and are just as frequently used in everyday language. According to Aristotle, happiness is a state that everyone can achieve if they act consciously and virtuously. For him it is the ultimate, universal goal. Since he is naturally positive about people, it is normal for them to do good. Every action has certain goals, but luck comes at the end. That sounds easy at first glance, but it isn't always. To know which actions lead to the ultimate goal. B. Achieving your maximum happiness in a job or whether this is only a partial goal can often only be answered in retrospect. More than 2,000 years later the world is a different one and Aristotle's definition of happiness alone is no longer enough today. More modern research shows how people today become happy. While the definition of happiness depends on individual factors, it can be quite clear, e.g. B. in relation to income or general ideas of happiness of people around the world.

Can you buy happiness?

You can't buy anything that will make you feel happy over the long term. In modern society, however, it is also impossible to be happy without money. A well-paid job, in which only the monthly paycheck is a motivation and the drive does not come from the joy of the job, does not really make you happy. According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, human needs in terms of security, social belonging, physical and mental health, individual goals and the realization of one's own person are fundamentally important in order to feel good.

Material happiness: how happy do objects make you?

Buying things only makes you happy for a short time. When we buy new furnishings, electrical appliances or furniture, the reward system is stimulated, but after a short time we get used to the property. The new acquisition becomes normal and is no longer associated with a feeling of happiness. If we look back on our lives, we don't think about when we bought a new washing machine or a large smart TV, but we have experiences in our heads that changed our lives or gave us joy. Above all, experiences that we share with others ensure joy and happiness in the long term.

Limit of happiness at $ 75,000

While Princeton University announced in 2006 that the connection between income and happiness is an illusion, it probably did not think of the more than half a million homeless people in the United States who are neither can afford accommodation, regular meals or a visit to the doctor. Four years later, attitudes changed when a university study showed that up to an income of $ 75,000 a year, or $ 6,250 a month, happiness increases. That corresponds to around 5,500 euros per month.

According to the results, a certain degree of prosperity and security is beneficial, but from a certain level of income people in comparable living conditions (similar health and marital status, etc.) no longer assess their condition as better (here is the study on Download). People with certain illnesses rate their happiness worse than healthy ones on average. And even a look at the happiest country in the world shows that happiness cannot be bought.

Finland - the land of happy people

"Onni" means luck in Finland. In the World Happines Report 2019, the country in northern Europe took the top spot ahead of Denmark, Norway and Iceland. With a median income of around EUR 3,500 per month, 53.2 metal bands per 100,000 inhabitants, 5.5 million people and around 3 million saunas, the people in the Land of a Thousand Lakes said they were the happiest in 2019 (this is the entire Happiness Report from 2019 as PDF).

If you take a look at everyday life, it's surprising. Finns are not the most talkative and often try to avoid contact with strangers. So you wait a few meters away from the other person for the bus and don't leave the apartment when you hear that a neighbor is in the stairwell. If you accidentally jostle someone slightly in public, you often don't apologize: you have bothered the person enough already. The unemployment rate is 7.4 percent. The sale of hard alcoholic beverages is - for reasons - highly taxed and subject to strict regulations, and years ago the suicide rate was still high. What does that have to do with happiness?

Finland has a very good social system. It is the only European country that has steadily fewer homeless people, everyone is entitled to see a doctor, the infrastructure is good, the cities are clean, there are many forests, lake landscapes and 40 national parks. The quiet Finns, along with the other countries at the top of the happiest countries, are the sign that peace, social prosperity, security and nature are important for happiness. But the question "What makes me happy" cannot yet be answered completely. A look at the lower ranks of the happiness ranking shows that there is poverty in the most unhappy countries, there is great fear of war and violence, and people's circumstances and future prospects are uncertain. So general circumstances seem to be more important than individual wealth in the search for happiness.

Combine happiness and work

In Germany we are fortunate that we live very safely. The health and social system prevent us from having to fear for our existence in complicated and bad life situations. The risk of losing your home or going hungry is low. As a result, factors of individual happiness come to the fore.

With good social security, it is more important for individuals that they enjoy a good income in a job that they enjoy and that they can also develop individually in their free time. A survey by the London School of Economics and Politics found that workers around the world are happier when there is enough energy to spend free time after a job. In this context, higher salaries are seen as positive. Incidentally, according to the survey, workers from Austria were the most satisfied employees. And workers who did heavy physical activity, on the other hand, were the most dissatisfied.

Long-term goals also make you happy at work

The opportunity to have a career was also rated positively in the survey. Becoming happy in your job - this also succeeds if opportunities for further education and training open up good long-term prospects. It is interesting to note that 85 percent of those who have completed further training to become a specialist stated that the qualification had a positive impact on their private life. The arc to Aristotle is thus closed again: Long-term goals make us happiest when we successfully tick off small tasks every day with an alert mind and virtuous (good) action that meet medium-term and long-term goals. The promotion or salary increase is an external motivation and makes us happier as a sign that others are happy with our work.

Or do you prefer horses and rainbows?

Although equestrianism requires a certain wealth and can also make you happy to look after animals, a horse is probably not the recipe for happiness for everyone. From Finnish vodka to the new television or the sports car, it becomes clear that the hedonistic way of life is focused on short-term enjoyments that quickly fade. Comparing the successful ways to be happy is only better than chasing the end of the rainbow. Objects can serve as a short-term means of motivation and some swear by buying new shoes after a hard week. But in general it can safely be said that health, long-term planning, social contacts, hobbies and opportunities to realize oneself and individual needs are guarantees of lasting happiness with a certain material prosperity.