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Dazzle Your Alumni

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The path to true happiness can be found in two places: the movie Dead Poets Society and this topic. After reading a bunch of "happiness research" (start with an online search - it's interesting), we're really happy (ha ha ha!) to share our findings with you.


To start, we all have a highly resilient "baseline" happiness level. People who suffer great losses (e.g., blindness) or great gains (for instance, the lottery) quickly return to their baseline level.

With that said, what makes people happy? Make your guesses before you read past the bold print.

Staying busy?

Yep, staying busy helps. When you're engaged in an activity, rather than passively watching Grey's Anatomy (maybe a bad example for those rabid fans), you tend to be more happy.

Religion?

Yep. No single religion claims the happiness trophy, but "religious" people tend to be happier.

Children?

Nope. Surprisingly, there's little correlation of happiness to parenthood. Statistically speaking, kids might make you feel more comfortable about speaking about toilet training in public, but they won't make you more happy.

Money?

Maybe. If you're so poor that you're worried about food and shelter, more money will make you happy. But, once your basic needs are met, more money will typically only make small, temporary increases in happiness.

Healthy relationships?

Ding! Across almost every study, the best predictor of happiness is healthy relationships with family and friends, particularly satisfying marriages.

Stuff?

Nope. Focus on doing, rather than buying. If the choice is between a vacation or a fancy piece of jewelry, take the vacation and enjoy the emotional imprint of the experience for years to come.

Comparisons?

Yes, when we compare ourselves to others less fortunate, our happiness increases. So tell all of your loser friends, "Thanks for making me so happy." But the opposite is also true, so turn off MTV Cribs.


Story Time

Bert is a horror movie fanatic. He makes a habit of recording everything with the word "Dead" in the title, which is how he came to watch Dead Poets Society.

While waiting for zombie poets to jump out from the forest, Bert found himself oddly captivated. Would he be food for worms? Carpe what? The movie changed him. He now likes to go by the name Nuwanda and lives a happy life full of inspired action.