Hasta la victoria siempre

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Christophe Andre si psihologia fericirii


Christophe Andre este medic psihiatru la spitalul Sainte-Anne din Paris si autor a numeroase carti pe tema bunastarii psihologice.
In lucrarea sa "Cum sa-ti construiesti fericire: psihologia fericirii", tradusa in limba romana la Editura Trei, 2004, Andre atinge si relatia bani/statut social-fericire. Concluziile sale sunt citate mai jos:

Banii conteaza doar pana la depasirea pragului saraciei
"Oamenii de stiinta au cercetat problema : se pare ca, intr-adevar, banii sporesc fericirea celor saraci, pana la un anumit prag, unde apare un efect numit « platou ». Mizeria materiala pune numeroase obstacole in calea fericirii si se pare ca exista echivalentul lunui PMIF (prag minim de inducere a fericirii, mai jos de care lucrurile sunt foarte complicate.)

Atingerea acestui prag nu ofera fericirea, dar a te situa sub o obstructioneaza cel mai adesea. In schimb, dincolo de acest prag cresterea resurselor financiare nu mai are decat un impact limitat asupra sentimentului subiectiv de stare de bine. Studii interesante au aratat ca evidenta crestere a veniturilor medii ale americanilor intre 1960-1990 nu a fost insotita de vreo marire, fie ea cat de mica, a procentului de persoane care se declara fericite.

Un studiu individual efectuat asupra unui nr mare de persoane, pe o durata de 10 ani arata ca fluctuatiile financiare crescatoare sau descrescatoare, nu modifica niuvelul mediu al starii de bine. Este in fond ceea ce constata cu umor scriitorul Jean d’Ormesson : « spre deosebire de ceea ce cred saracii, banii nu aduc fericirea bogatilor. Dar spre deosebire de ceea ce cred bogatii, banii ar aduce fericirea saracilor»."

Iluzia fericirii castigului la loterie
"Au fost realizate multe studii referitoare la cei care au castigat la diverse loterii. Aproape in unanimitate acestea arata ca odata trecuta explozia de bucurie la aflarea vestii, fericirea si starea de bine a acestor « fericiti castigatori » se situeaza de fapt la acelasi nivel ca in cazul celor care n-au castigat. Un an mai tarziu ei se afla la acelasi nivel de fericire ca inainte de a fi castigat. Numerosi sunt cei care semnaleaza o multime de neplaceri provocate de brusca lor imbogatire. Conflicte cu familia, colegii si vecinii, in cazul in care au ramas in acelas context social ; dificultati de adaptare la noul anturaj social daca acesta s-a schimbat. Iar pentru unii chiar mai mult : ruinati fiind, sunt acoperiti de acum de regrete. Caci in materie de bani mai exista o nedreptate : sa fii bogat e un lucru pe care il inveti inca din copilarie."

Statutul social si fericirea
"Nu adunati diploma dupa diploma in speranta de a fi fericit : nu foloseste la nimic. Cat despre apartenenta la o clasa sociala, ea influenteaza fericirea in acelasi fel ca si banii : odata oiesit din mizerie, ascensiunea pe scara sociala nu aduce cu sine mai multa fericire."

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bogatii, nefericiti din cauza banilor

Aici: http://downshiftingromania.blogspot.com/2007/11/banii-loc-codas-in-topul-fericirii.html
scriam de un studiu efectuat de Mustel Group, din care reiesea ca pentru 20% din oamenii trecuti de pragul saraciei, banii reprezinta un motiv de nefericire. Azi vom vedea o data in plus ca, intr-adevar, banii nu pot aduce fericirea nici celor bogati:

"Săracii oameni bogaţi
Una din zece familii britanice poate fi considerată bogată, având un venit anual de circa 120.000 de euro, de trei ori mai mult decât venitul mediu naţional.

Chiar şi aşa, 90% din aceste familii sunt vădit nemulţumite de situaţia lor materială, plângându-se de dificultăţi. Potrivit unui studiu realizat de compania de asigurări Hiscox, preluat de „Daily Mail“, aceste familii bogate, ai căror membri au un loc de muncă, se pot dispensa anual de circa 27.000 de euro, îşi pot permite două vacanţe în străinătate şi locuiesc într-o casă care valorează aproximativ 525.000 de euro. În aceste condiţii, este greu de crezut că li se poate plânge de milă.

De altfel, milioane de britanici pot doar să viseze la o astfel de situaţie materială. Bogătaşii care se plâng de situaţia lor grea consideră că viaţa li s-ar îmbunătăţi semnificativ dacă ar putea să-şi îndeplinească o serie de dorinţe: să câştige cu 80.000 de euro mai mult anual, să aibă mai mult de o proprietate şi să-şi trimită copiii la şcoli private. Cercetarea a arătat că patru din zece familii bogate pleacă anual în mai mult de o vacanţă în străinătate, 29% au în case sisteme tehnologice de lux, iar 23% au economii de peste 34.000 de euro."

Articolul a aparut la 29 ianuarie in Evenimentul Zilei, semnat de Maria Vladescu: http://www.evz.ro/articole/detalii-articol/392562/Saracii-oameni-bogati/

Textul de mai sus a fost inspirat din urmatorul:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/text/article.html?in_article_id=510772&in_page_id=1770&in_main_section=&in_sub_section=&in_chn_id=

"Despre placeri, fericire si costul lor"

La aceasta adresa: http://www.spuse.ro/despre-placeri-fericire-si-pretul-lor/
am gasit un articol bun despre satisfactiile unei existente simple dar implinite comparata cu una "moderna", in care consumismul, intrecerea tip "keeping up with the Joneses" si snobismul erodeaza orice fericire autentica.

"Fericire - Stare de multumire sufleteasca intensa si deplina.
Placere - Sentiment sau senzatie de multumire, de bucurie, provocate de ceva care satisface gustul sau dorinţa noastră.
Echilibru - Proportie justa, raport just intre doua lucruri opuse; stare de armonie care rezulta din aceasta.

Despre placere, fericire si costul lor se pot scrie multe. Eu cred si acum ca cea mai fericita perioada din viata mea a fost in jurul varstei de 12 ani in vacanta de vara petrecuta la bunici. Pe strada bunicilor (ulita) eram in jur de zece copii de varste apropiate. Plecam de dimineata la scaldat si pierdeam acolo toata ziua intr-o fericire maxima. Mancam decat dimineata si seara acasa iar pe timpul zilei mancam fructe, care erau din belsug. La cateva zile mai mergeam si la pescuit la care stateam mai mult prin apa decat cu batul in mana.
O vacanta ca aia ii costa pe parintii mei cat costa acum 2-3 zile din vacanta unui copil, indiferent ca este facuta la oras sau la tara si pot spune ca daca ar fi sa aleg as alege tot vacantele de atunci. Problema cu copii de astazi este ca nu stiu cum a fost atunci si nici nu se mai incearca sa le fie aratat. Copii de astazi sunt facuti pentru consum. Acum scaldatul sau pescuitul este inlocuit cu iPod sau Nokia N95, telefoanele sa fie cat mai scumpe altfel la scoala vor fi izolati de proprii colegi. Inainte aprecierea celorlati copii o castigai printr-un inot cat mai bun, coronita la scoala sau daca jucai bine fotbal, acum aprecierea este in functie de cat de avansat tehnologic este telefonul tau. Problema este ca fericirea copilului cu iPod nu este mult mai mare decat a fost a mea la varsta de 12 ani insa pretul platit este mult mai mare acum.
Cartea Aventurile lui Huckleberry Finn ia costat pe parintii mei un drum la biblioteca iar in zilele de astazi calculatorul copilului trebuie upgradat la cateva luni iar dupa cateva upgade-uri acesta se schimba pentru a tine pasul cu ultimele jocuri aparute insa nu vad copilul din ziua de astazi radiind de fericire mai mult ca mine cand a venit mama acasa cu cartea.

La adulti treaba sta si mai rau. Problema este ca mai toti oamenii simt nevoia sa castige mai mult decat au nevoie. Sunt intr-o permanenta cursa cu ei insisi, dispusi sa renunte din ce in ce mai mult la timpul liber pentru a avea mai mult timp pentru munca, stiind ca astfel isi maresc venitul. Rar mai gasim oameni care sa-si cunoasca dorintele cu adevarat si posibilitatile, sa le puna in balanta si sa hotarasca raportul timp liber/munca.
Multi vor sa isi multumeasca seful sau patronul din ce in ce mai mult si pentru asta ei fac sacrificii peste sacrificii. Putini sunt cei care gandesca la modul ca oricat de mica le este leafa, tot pot muncii mai putin decat sunt platiti.
Cati mai apeleaza la placeri ieftine sau gratuite in viata? Adica o plimbare in parc dupa o ploaie de vara, un somn pe iarba la umbra unui pom, un film sau muzica din anii ‘70, etc. Sunt din ce in ce mai putini, pe zi ce trece devenim si mai mult o societate de consum. Pentru a simtii o placere concediul trebuie facut neaparat in Turcia si nu prin Moldova, masina de 4 ani nu mai este buna si trebuie neaparat sa ne legam 5 ani din viata de o rata la leasing, sa luam o masina noua cu care facem exact acelasi lucru ca si cu cea veche insa ne costa mii de ore de munca sa platim ratele la ea."

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Trei sfaturi pentru fericire

In articolul "How To Buy Happiness. Cheap.", autorul, David Frutelle, ofera trei sfaturi intelepte pentru dobandirea fericirii. Articolul debuteaza cu sugestia specialistului in Bursa si finante, James Montier: Make love, not money.

"Make love, not money. That was the most unusual message of a research note this summer from stock strategist James Montier at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, urging his well-heeled clients to set aside thoughts of stocks for a moment and to focus instead on the things that really make folks happy—namely love, sex, exercise and sleep.

As frivolous as it sounds, this is much better advice than you'll usually hear from Wall Street. For all the energy we spend chasing the green stuff, studies reveal that for most people the old saw is all too true: Money won't buy you happiness."

Trecand, de aceasta data, la sugestiile lui Frutelle, acesta scrie:

"New research in psychology and economics offers practical suggestions on how to increase your consumer satisfaction—without increasing spending.

• IF YOU CAN'T BE WITH THE STUFF YOU LOVE, LOVE THE STUFF YOU'RE WITH. Research by Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at the University of California at Davis, found that people encouraged to keep "gratitude journals" were far more satisfied with their lives than those who weren't encouraged to accentuate the positive. So don't waste your life fretting over what you ain't got. Give thanks for what you have—it can actually do you good.

• SPEND SELECTIVELY. Splurge only on those things that really bring you lasting pleasure; skimp on the rest. If you're a true-blue cinephile with a DVD collection to rival Roger Ebert's, it might make sense to invest in a plasma TV. But for most of us a cheaper alternative is more than good enough.

• DON'T BUY THINGS, BUY FREEDOM. While people easily adjust to bigger houses and cars, stress is stress no matter how rich or poor you are. As Frank notes, commuting through congestion is miserable for most of us, whether we've been doing it for four months or 40 years, and an assortment of studies shows that commutes (even as short as 15 minutes a day) can have serious and measurable effects on health. (There's a reason bus drivers seem so grumpy all the time.) If you're working endless hours to finance a lifestyle that isn't making you happy, consider cutting back your hours and getting by on less. It may not be easy to do, but in the long run it's likely to make you far happier than a new SUV ever could."

Pe scurt:
1. multumeste-te cu lucrurile pe care le ai.
2. nu prefera obiectele luxuoase, eventual cu exceptia celor care tin cu adevarat de o mare pasiune de-a ta.
3. obiectele luxuoase inseamna preturi mai mari de platit, preturile mai mari necesita bani mai multi, iar banii mai multi inseamna munca si stres mai mare.
Asadar, mai putina munca, mai putine cheltuieli, mai mult timp liber, aceasta este sugestia lui David Frutelle pentru apropierea de fericire. Pe scurt, downshift.

Articolul poate fi citit integral la:
http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/moneymag_archive/2004/10/01/8186560/index.htm

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Capitalism si depresie

Aflam din cotidianul Gandul de azi, 24 ianuarie, ca numarul de depresii in Romania creste, iar cauza principala este climatul social otravit de capitalism. Intr-advar, dupa cum am spus si in alte ocazii, munca in exces, nesiguranta slujbei si a zilei de maine, precum si concurenta salbatica, toate specifice capitalismului, au un impact dintre cele mai periculoase asupra oamenilor.

"Un popor bolnav de nervi
Trei milioane de români, loviţi de o boală periculoasă: depresia

O bucureşteancă s-a sinucis, ieri, aruncân­du-se de la etajul şase al Spitalului Floreasca din Bucureşti. Femeia, în vârstă de 54 de ani, fusese internată cu dureri abdominale, dar medicii psihiatri au diagnosticat-o cu depresie. Acum câteva zile, presa a difuzat o altă ştire cumplită.
O femeie de numai 21 de ani s-a aruncat de la etajul cinci al unui bloc din Bucureşti, ţinându-şi în braţe fetiţa de un an. Medicii au pronunţat şi în cazul ei cuvântul depresie.

Dincolo de aceste tragedii intens mediatizate se află o statistică mai puţin cunoscută dar foarte îngrijorătoare: depresia afectează mai mult de trei milioane de români, adică circa 15% din populaţie, iar un procentaj aşa de mare de oameni care au o afecţiune psihică reprezintă o problemă majoră a sănătăţii publice.

În ultimii ani, stilul şi ritmul de viaţă s-au schimbat şi societatea seamănă din ce în ce mai puţin cu ceea ce ştiam. Aproape nimeni nu mai are siguranţa serviciului şi cei mai mulţi oameni lucrează peste program aproape în fiecare zi, în timp ce programul de odihnă este din ce în ce mai scăzut, iar concurenţa în societate este din ce în ce mai puternică.

„Toate aceste lucruri creează o tendinţă de autizare a societăţii în sensul scăderii capacităţii de comunicare dintre oameni iar societatea a devenit anomică.
Cu alte cuvinte, nu mai sunt recunoscute nevoile, preferinţele şi performanţele oamenilor, trecându-se peste personalizarea şi individualitatea oamenilor şi le sunt ignorate dorinţele şi aspiraţiile”, explică psihiatrul prof. univ. dr. Mihai Gheorghe, de la Universitatea de Medicină şi Farmacie „Carol Davila”."

Iata, deci, cum capitalismul afecteaza sanatatea si bunastarea oamenilor, si iata cum un sistem ce declarativ protejeaza individualitate, in realitate nu face decat sa o calce in picioare!
Articolul din care am citat e semnat de Dorina Enciu si poate fi citit integral la adresa:
http://www.gandul.info/actualitatea/trei-milioane-de-romani-loviti-de-o-boala-periculoasa-depresia.html?3927;2347016

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Banii aduc fericirea... cand sunt donati

Descopar ca banii intr-adevar pot aduce fericirea chiar si cand e asigurat un trai decent. Dar nu atunci cand ii cheltuim pentru noi insine, ci cand ii donam in scopuri caritabile, dezinteresate.
Din nou, asadar, mitul conform caruia o societate egalitarista, axata pe cooperare in loc de competitie si rivalitate, nu ar putea functiona din cauza naturii ingust-individualiste umane, este spulberat.

In articolul "Why Giving Makes Us Happy", aparut la 28 decembrie 2007 in The New York Sun, autorul Arthur Brooks, the Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government Policy at Syracuse University's Maxwell School, indica mai multe studii care au dus la concluzia ca altruismul tine de natura umana si sporeste bunastarea inclusiv al donatorului.

"
Americans gave nearly $300 billion away last year, and some charities claim to collect as much as a quarter of their annual contributions in the month of December alone.
But there is one special reason to give, beyond the noble goals of helping your favorite charity and beating back the voracious taxman. It is that your gifts will give you a happier new year. It is a fact that givers are happier people than non-givers. According to the Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey, a survey of 30,000 American households, people who gave money to charity in 2000 were 43% more likely than non-givers to say they were "very happy" about their lives. Similarly, volunteers were 42% more likely to be very happy than non-volunteers. It didn't matter whether gifts of money and time went to churches or symphony orchestras — givers to all types of religious and secular causes were far happier than non-givers. People who give also are less sad and depressed than non-givers. The University of Michigan's Panel Study of Income Dynamics reveals that people who gave money away in 2001 were 34% less likely than non-givers to say that they had felt "so sad that nothing could cheer them up" in the past month. They were also 68% less likely to have felt "hopeless," and 24% less likely to have said that "everything was an effort."
The happiness difference between givers and non-givers is not due to differences in their personal characteristics, such as income or religion. Imagine two people who are identical in terms of income and faith — as well as age, education, politics, sex, and family circumstances — but one donates money and volunteers, while the other does not. The giver will be, on average, 11 percentage points more likely to be very happy than the non-giver. [...]
The National Opinion Research Center's General Social Survey tells us that in 2002, 43% of the American adults who gave blood two to three times during the year said they were very happy versus only 29% of those who did not give blood, but were very happy."

Cum se explica aceste rezultate?

"A number of studies have researched exactly why charity leads to happiness. The surprising conclusion is that giving affects our brain chemistry. For example, people who give often report feelings of euphoria, which psychologists have referred to as the "Helper's High." They believe that charitable activity induces endorphins that produce a very mild version of the sensations people get from drugs like morphine and heroin. Charity also lowers the stress hormones that cause unhappiness.

In one 1998 experiment at Duke University, adults were asked to give massages to babies — the idea being that giving a baby pleasure is a compassionate act with no expectation of a reward, even a "thank you" — in return. After they performed the massages, the seniors were found to have dramatically lower levels of the stress hormones cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine in their brains.

The bottom line from all the research on giving is that it is not just good for your favorite cause; it's good for you, too. For relief from stress and depression, it's probably more cost-effective than whatever your doctor might prescribe. For getting a little high, it's not illegal, and a lot less fattening than booze."Articolul din care am citat poate fi gasit integral la adresa:
http://www.nysun.com/article/68700?page_no=1

O intrebare totusi ramane: in loc sa muncim suplimentar in sistemul capitalist, contribuind astfel suplimentar in favoarea unui sistem cladit pe principiul "bogatii tot mai bogati, saracii tot mai saraci", nu e mai bine sa facem direct acte de caritate, ajutand oamenii prin actiuni de voluntariat, de exemplu?

Ne place sa platim taxe

Un studiu efectuat de o echipa internationala de cercetatori, condusa de profesorul de psihologie Ulrich Mayr, Universitatea din Oregon, a demonstrat ca oamenilor le place sa plateasca taxe si impozite, atunci cand banii astfel colectati ajung la cei care au nevoie de ei. Totodata, s-a demonstrat, folosind scanari cerebrale, ca oamenii resimt o intensa traire de satisfactie cand isi doneaza banii in scopuri caritabile.

In acest fel sunt spulberate doua mituri capitalisto-liberale, anume ca taxele si impozite sunt un abuz al statului ce provoaca nemultumire doar prin existenta lor, si ca natura umana nu ar fi inclinata spre altruism si spirit social.

"Paying taxes lights up the brain

EUGENE, Ore.—(June 14, 2007)—Want to light up the pleasure center in your brain? Just pay your taxes, and then give a little extra voluntarily to your local food bank. University of Oregon scientists have found that doing those deeds can give you the same sort of satisfaction you derive from feeding your own hunger pangs.

A three-member team – a cognitive psychologist and two economists – published its results in the June 15 issue of the journal Science. The scientists gave 19 women participants $100 and then scanned their brains with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as they watched their money go to the food bank through mandatory taxation, and as they made choices about whether to give more money voluntarily or keep it for themselves.

The participants lay on their backs in the fMRI scanner for an hour-long session and viewed the financial transfers on a computer screen. The scanner used a super-cooled magnet, carefully tuned radio waves and powerful computers to calculate what parts of the brain were active as subjects saw their money go to the food bank and made yes or no decisions on additional giving.

Researchers found that two evolutionarily ancient regions deep in the brain – the caudate nucleus and the nucleus accumbens – fired when subjects saw the charity get the money. The activation was even larger when people gave the money voluntarily, instead of just paying it as taxes. These brain regions are the same ones that fire when basic needs such as food and pleasures (sweets or social contact) are satisfied.

"The surprising element for us was that in a situation in which your money is simply given to others – where you do not have a free choice – you still get reward-center activity," said Ulrich Mayr, a professor of psychology. "I don't think that most economists would have suspected that. It reinforces the idea that there is true altruism – where it's all about how well the common good is doing. I've heard people claim that they don't mind paying taxes, if it's for a good cause – and here we showed that you can actually see this going on inside the brain, and even measure it."

The study gives economists a novel look inside the brain during taxation, said co-author William T. Harbaugh, a UO professor of economics and member of the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Mass. "To economists, the surprising thing about this paper is that we actually see people getting rewards as they give up money," he said. "Neural firing in this fundamental, primitive part of the brain is larger when your money goes to a non-profit charity to help other people."

"On top of that," Harbaugh added, "people experience more brain activation when they give voluntarily – even though everything here is anonymous. That's a very surprising result – and, to me, an optimistic one."

However, this latter finding, which offers confirmation to the economic theory of "warm-glow" giving, doesn't necessarily mean that taxes should be lowered and charity relied on more heavily, Harbaugh said. In a voluntary environment, he added, lots of people free-ride and donations fall.

The study, Mayr said, reflects the balancing act that every society must face. "What this shows to someone who designs tax policy is that taxes aren't all bad," he said. "Paying taxes can make citizens happy. People are, to varying degrees, pure altruists. On top of that they like that warm glow they get from charitable giving. Until now we couldn't trace that in the brain."

Neural activation from mandatory taxation, the researchers said, helps predict who will give. "We could call the people whose brains light up more when money goes to charity than to themselves altruists," Mayr said. "The others are egoists. Based on what we saw in the experiments, we can use this classification to predict how much people are willing to give when the choice is theirs." [...]

"If a participant moved her head," Burghart added, "we had to start all over. It will be a while before this is built into cell phones."

The National Institute of Aging supported the research."

Acest articol poate fi citit in intregime la adresa:
http://www.uoregon.edu/newsstory.php?a=6.15.07-Charitybrains.html

Studiul in sine, intitulat "Neural responses to taxation and voluntary giving reveal motives for charitable donations", a aparut in vara lui 2007 in Science, 316, 1622-1655 si poate fi citit integral aici:

http://cane.uoregon.edu/

Un rezumat al studiului, realizat de ulrich Mayr, se gaseste aici:

http://www.uoregon.edu/~mayr/altruism.htm


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Romani bogati, faimosi si suicidari

Au bani si sunt faimosi, deci conform unei impresii raspandite, ar trebui sa fie si fericiti. Iata insa o data in plus ca aceasta impresie este gresita, si faptul ca sunt bogati nu ii scuteste de cele mai negre depresii, capabile sa ii aduca in pragul sinuciderii. O dovada in sine ca bogatia are un impact minim spre neglijabil pentru fericire.

"Desi celebritatea le-a asigurat un trai fara griji, se pare ca banii nu aduc fericirea, dupa incercarile de sinucidere ale mai multor vedete din show-bizzul autohton.
Cantareata Monica Anghel a vrut sa-si ia viata cand avea 20 de ani, dupa ce s-a lasat amagita de un chirurg estetician american, relateaza Click, in editia electronica de sambata.
Acesta i-a facut o liposuctie la nivelul abdomenului care a declansat septicemie.
Descurajata si aflata in pragul unei depresii, Monica a vrut sa-si curme singura suferinta. Salvarea a venit de la fostul sot al Monicai, medic si el, care a reusit sa repare ce a distrus doctorul american.
De asemenea, creatoarea de moda Zina Dumitrescu a dorit sa-si puna capat zilelor acum un an si jumatate, cu o zi inainte sa implineasca 70 de ani.
Ea a fost transportata de urgenta la spital, de fiul ei, Catalin Negreanu, dupa ce aceasta inghitise, cu o seara inainte, o supradoza de Xanax.
Zina a fost externata dupa cateva zile, insa motivul acestui gest a ramas necunoscut pana in prezent.
Un numar foarte mare de incercari de sinucidere s-a inregistat si in randul barbatilor. Accidentul nefericit de acum cativa ani, in urma caruia si-a pierdut iubita, l-a afectat peste masura pe Mihai Mitoseru, care a recunoscut ca a vrut sa-si ia viata la acea vreme.
"Oreste m-a salvat in utimul moment, cand voiam sa ma arunc de la balcon, in spital", a declarat Mihai la OTV. Gandurile negre nu-i mai dau insa tarcoale prezentatorului TV de cand si-a gasit jumatatea, pe Noemi, pe care a si cerut-o de nevasta.
Desi pare unul dintre cei mai fericiti si impliniti oameni din Romania, creatorul de moda Catalin Botezatu a avut doua tentative de sinucidere.
Prima data, in anul 1994, pe cand se afla in inchisoare, el a dorit sa inghita somniferele pe care le strangea in fiecare seara, dar l-a salvat un coleg de celula, care le-a inghitit in locul sau.
Cativa ani mai tarziu, afectat de o neimplinire pe plan sentimental, Bote a dorit, din nou, sa-si puna capat zilelor. Dar soarta nu i-a facut jocul nici de aceasta data, iar masina sa, scoasa din viteza si aflata pe marginea prapastiei, a "refuzat" sa cada.
Nu mai putin celebru este cazul omului de afaceri Mihai Erbasu, care a socat opinia publica prin gestul sau din 2004. Desi au trecut patru ani de atunci, impactul nu s-a stins, iar "cazul Erbasu" a ajuns subiect de studiu in facultatile de sociologie si psihologie."

Articolul, aparut la 19 ianuarie in ziarul Click!, este semnat de Dana Enache si Alina Bucsain, si intitulat: "Si bogatii plang! Va vine sa credeti ca ei au vrut sa se sinucida?" Sigur ca ne vine, caci noi stim ca peste pragul saraciei, banii nu sporesc cu nimic fericirea!
http://www.click.ro/Vedete/va-vine-sa-credeti-ca-ei-au-vrut-sa-se-sinucida

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ne putem spori fericirea, dar nu cu bani si bunuri materiale

Intr-un articol de azi, 17 ianuarie, intitulat „Oamenii isi controleaza fericirea”, aparut in ziarul Gandul si semnat deStefan Chivu, aflam ca oamenii isi pot spori cu pana la 40% fericirea, un factor important in acest sens fiind actiunile de socializare, cooperare si benefacere fata de semeni. Totodata, autorul insista ca banii si bunurile materiale au un impact mai mult decat minor asupra fericirii personale:

„Oamenii au un control mult mai mare asupra stării lor de fericire decât se credea anterior, au anunţat cerc­etătorii de la Universitatea din Wisconsin, SUA. (...)
Se pare că 40% din fericirea unui om constă în corectitudinea, din punctul lui de vedere, a deciziilor pe care le ia.
Mai mult, se ştie că oamenii fericiţi sunt cei care fac mai multe acte de caritate, cei care îi ajută pe cei din jur şi fac mai multe fapte bune. Oamenii fac aceste lucruri pentru că este scris în codul genetic uman. S-a demonstrat că 50% din fericire se află în codul genetic şi poate fi urmărită în gene.
După un calcul sumar, se observă că există o parte de 10% din fericire care nu este menţionată. Acest procentaj de fericire este constituit de circumstanţele de viaţă ale individului. Cu alte cuvinte, este vorba de unde ne-am născut, câţi bani avem sau cum ne înţelegem cu persoana iubită.
Deşi este surprinzător faptul că banii şi bunurile materiale contează atât de puţin în cadrul fericirii individuale, cercetătorii spun că totul ţine de natura umană. Atunci când un om face un milion de euro, este fericit pentru puţin timp. Apoi îşi doreşte să facă mai mult, şi mai mult, iar acest lucru îl îndepărtează de starea de fericire pe care şi-o poate oferi zilnic.”

Articolul poate fi gasit integral la:
http://www.gandul.info/sanatatea/oamenii-isi-controleaza-fericirea.html?3891;2337497

In articolul din care s-a inspirat redactorul de la Gandul, aparut la 11 ianuarie 2008 pe saitul abcnews si intitulat „Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness--New Research Shows That Humans Have More Control Over Their Happiness Than Previously Thought”, se scrie:

Hedonic Adaptation
Surprised that your life circumstances have such little influence on your happiness? Researchers have found that people eventually return to their genetically-determined happiness set points after big changes in life, as seen in lottery winners and newlyweds.
Four years ago, Caroline Johnson volunteered for the ABC show "Extreme Makeover," and received everything from a new nose to new teeth and the requisite breast implants. Did these physical improvements make her happier?
"I think about a year it made a difference," she said. "People are seeing you for the first time and they compliment you all the time. And then once it wears off, it's just normal life again."
"It's a phenomenon called hedonic adaptation," explained Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, University of California-Riverside psychology professor. "We tend to adapt to any kind of positive change …once you make $100,000, now you sort of change your goals. Now your goal is to make even more." (...)

Besides the optimism, commitment to goals, and ability to nurture relationships that might make Johnson happier than her twin, there are many more ways to affect the 40 percent of happiness in your control.
"The happiness activities are not going to surprise anyone," Lyubomirsky said. "I mean, they're things like gratitude, forgiveness, relationships, savoring the present moment, meditation. I try to sort of determine to what extent those things are supported by research."

Articolul de pe saitul absnews e semnat de Michael Mendelsohn si poate fi citit la adresa:
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Story?id=4115033&page=1

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

NU muncii in exces, DA socializarii

Un studiu recent, efectuat de dr. Peter Brown de la Griffith University's Centre for Work, Organisation and Wellbeing, demonstreaza ca munca e printre cele mai neplacute activitati zilnice, pe cand socializarea din timpul liber inseamna fericire si sanatate.
Studiul a fost efectuat pe un lot de 173 de persoane.

„It showed that women feel more positively about their jobs than men, although for both sexes, paid work ran second to child care as the most negative activity of the week.The study further found that working parents were at their happiest when engaged in socialising, community activities, voluntary work or care, education and recreation.”

Coordonatorul studiului, Peter Brown, subliniaza ca timpul petrecut la locul de munca inseamna limitarea drastica a timpului liber al parintilor, ceea ce conduce la o atitudine negativa a acestora fata de proprii copii. O solotie pentru a diminua aceasta atitudine negativa este sporirea timpului liber, destinat relaxarii si csocializarii.

„According to (Peter Brown), the findings suggest that parents should pursue a third dimension to their work/family balancing act, by including more 'me-time' and leisure activities."The fact that much leisure is played out in a social context, the importance of contact with others, that's the stuff that makes us happy and healthy," he said.”

O relatare despre studiul lui Peter Brown poate fi gasita aici:
http://www.newkerala.com/one.php?action=fullnews&id=11963

Monday, January 14, 2008

Inselati de propriile fite

Intr-un articol recent din The Sunday Times, aparut la 13 ianuarie 2008, aflam ca oamenii sunt conditionati sa simta mai multa placere atunci cand consuma un produs scump decat atunci cand acelasi produs e vandut la un pret mai mic. O asemenea anomalie nu poate demonstra decat necunoasterea si ignoranta consumatorilor, care desi nu cunosc proprietatile intrinseci ale unui produs, pornesc de la falsa impresie ca un produs scump e, tocmai datorita pretului mare, mai bun.

High price makes wine taste better
(...)
The researchers discovered that people given two identical red wines to drink said they got much more pleasure from the one they were told had cost more. Brain scans confirmed that their pleasure centres were activated far more by the higher-priced wine.
The findings could help to explain why rich diners are often willing to pay thousands of pounds for a bottle of fine wine. It seems much of the real pleasure is generated by the high price paid rather than by the quality of the vintage.
Evidence that factors unconnected with the intrinsic qualities of a product can be manipulated to make it more attractive have huge implications for all retailers, not just restaurateurs.”

Extrapoland,

„Hugh Johnson, the doyen of wine writers, said: “The same thing happens if people see a designer label. The psychology is the same - it’s not money; it’s reputation. It’s the prestige.”
He believes, however, that wine experts would not be fooled by superficial qualities such as price. He said: “Most people who drink wine regularly know the real retail price and resent the big mark-up in restaurants. I think it spoils it.”
Rupert Wollheim, a master of wine who runs ripegrapes.co.uk, an online wine retailer, said that the response described by Rangel was well known in the wine business.”

O noua dovada a inselatoriei practicate in media capitalista, care induce in unii oameni credinta ca „ce e ieftin nu merita”. Adeptii placerilor ieftine ocolesc insa de multe ori asemenea „tepe”, ghidandu-se dupa calitatile produsului si refuzand astfel sa-i imbogateasca nejustificat pe producatori si vanzatori.

Articolul din Times, semnat de Jonathan Leake si Elizabeth Gibney poate fi citit la:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/food_and_drink/article3177658.ece

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Dezastru adus de virusul capitalist

John F Schumaker, a US-born psychologist currently living in Christchurch, New Zealand/Aotearoa, is the author of "In Search of Happiness: Understanding an endangered state of mind" (Penguin).

Intr-un articol intitulat "The happiness conspiracy: what does it mean to be happy in a modern consumer society?", aparut in numarul din iulie 2006 al revistei New Internationalist, Schumaker exemplifica cu cazul comunitatii himalayene Ladakh cum virusul capitalist, aducator de lacomie, materialism si boli mentale, a distrus un climat social fericit si auto-suficient.

Dupa ce subliniaza imbecilitatea echivalarii fericirii cu consumerismul materialist:

"Our ignorance of happiness is revealed by the question on everyone's lips: 'Does money make us happy?' The head of a US aid agency in Kenya commented recently that volunteers are predictably dumbstruck and confused by the zest and jubilance of the Africans. It's become a cliche for them to say: 'The people are so poor, they have nothing--and yet they have so much joy and seem so happy.'

I never knew how measly my own happiness was until one day in 1978 when I found myself stranded in a remote western Tanzanian village. I saw real happiness for the first time--since then I have learned that it has vastly more to do with cultural factors than genetics or the trendy notion of personal 'choice'.

So it didn't surprise me that an African nation, Nigeria, was found recently to be the world's happiest country. The study of 'happy societies' is awakening us to the importance of social connectedness, spirituality, simplicity, modesty of expectations, gratitude, patience, touch, music, movement, play and 'down time'.",

autorul se refera la cazul Ladakh:

"The small Himalayan nation of Ladakh is one of the best-documented examples of a 'happy society'. As Helena Norberg-Hodge writes in Ancient Futures, Ladakhis were a remarkably joyous and vibrant people who lived in harmony with their harsh environment. Their culture generated mutual respect, community-mindedness, an eagerness to share, reverence for nature, thankfulness and love of life. Their value system bred tenderness, empathy, politeness, spiritual awareness and environmental conservation. Violence, discrimination, avarice and abuse of power were non-existent while depressed, burned-out people were nowhere to be found.

But in 1980 consumer capitalism came knocking with its usual bounty of raised hopes and social diseases. The following year, Ladakh's freshly appointed Development Commissioner announced: 'If Ladakh is ever going to be developed, we have to figure out how to make these people more greedy.' The developers triumphed and a greed economy took root. The issues nowadays are declining mental health, family breakdown, crime, land degradation, unemployment, a widening gap between rich and poor, pollution and sprawl.

Writer Ted Trainer says before 1980 the people of Ladakh were 'notoriously happy'. He sees in their tragic story a sobering lesson about our cherished goals of development, growth and progress. For the most part these are convenient myths that are much better at producing happy economies than happy people."

Concluzia cade inevitabil:

"We usually hitch our emotional wagons to ego, ambition, personal power and the spectacular. But all of these are surprising flops when it comes to happiness. Today's 'success' has become a blueprint for failure.".

Articolul poate fi citit integral la adresa:
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0JQP/is_391/ai_n16619371/pg_3

Friday, January 11, 2008

Si capitalistii isi doresc egalitarism

In numarul din 11 ianuarie din ziarul Gandul, Caterina Nicolae ne informeaza ca "Patronii cer scaderea salariilor".

"Minimul pentru necalificati ar ramane neschimbat, dar pentru titrati ar urma sa scada de la 1.000 la 750 de lei
Cu cat un lucrator este mai calificat, cu atat ar urma sa piarda mai mult

„(...)Patronatele propun diminuarea coeficientilor minimi de ierarhizare astfel: pentru muncitorii calificati - de la 1,2 la 1,1; pentru personalul administrativ cu studii liceale – de la 1,2 la 1,1; pentru personalul administrativ cu studii postliceale – de la 1,25 la 1,15; pentru personalul incadrat in functii pentru care conditia de pregatire este scoala de maistri – de la 1,3 la 1,15; pentru personalul cu studii superioare de scurta durata – de la 1,5 la 1,3; pentru personalul cu studii superioare – de la 2 la 1,5."

http://www.gandul.info/societatea/patronii-cer-scaderea-salariilor.html?3932;2329861

Iata, deci, ca pe capitalisti nu-i deranjeaza deloc tendinta de egalizarea a salariilor. Desigur, insa, ca spre diferenta de egalitarismul socialist, masura propusa de patroni nu transfera banii de la cei cu bani multi spre cei mai amarati, ci doar transfera bani de la muncitorii cu calificare in buzunarul patronatului, adica a celor care deja au suficient de multi bani.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Implicatiile socio-politice ale studiilor asupra fericirii

Geoffrey Miller este evolutionary psychologist at University College London, and author of The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped Human Nature.
In articolul sau "Social Policy Implications of the New Happiness Research", Miller subliniaza implicatiile pe care studiile asupra fericirii umane trebuie sa le aiba asupra societatii si comportamentului individual:

Ce ne invata studiile?
Printre altele, ca evenimentele majore din viata noastra, precum catigarea loteriei sau moartea cuiva apropiat, nu au decat efecte de scurta durata asupra fericirii personale.

"Major life events that we would expect to affect happiness over the long term (e.g. winning the lottery, death of a spouse) only affect it for six months or a year. Each person appears to hover around a happiness "set-point" that is extremely resistant to change."

Fericirea e accesibila tuturor oamenilor, cu exceptia celor care nu au trecut pragul saraciei:

"The "usual suspects" in explaining individual differences in happiness have almost no effect. A person's age, sex, race, income, geographic location, nationality, and education level have only trivial correlations with happiness, typically explaining less than 2% of the variance. An important exception is that hungry, diseased, oppressed people in developing nations tend to be slightly less happy — but once they reach a certain minimum standard of calorie intake and physical security, further increases in material affluence do not increase their happiness very much. "

Studiile ne mai invata ca preocuparea consumerista e o imbecilitate inutila, in cel mai bun caz

"Popular culture is dominated by advertisements that offer the following promise: buy our good or service, and your subjective well-being will increase. The happiness research demonstrates that most such promises are empty. Perhaps all advertisements for non-essential goods should be required to carry the warning: "Caution: scientific research demonstrates that this product will increase your subjective well-being only in the short term, if at all, and will not increase your happiness set-point".
Of course, luxury goods may work very well to signal our wealth and taste to potential sexual partners and social rivals, through the principles of conspicuous consumption that Thorstein Veblen identified. However, the happiness research shows that increases in numbers of sexual partners and social status do not boost overall long-term happiness. There are good evolutionary reasons why we pursue sex and status, but those pursuits are apparently neither causes nor consequences of our happiness level."

Un exemplu de manipulare capitalista
"Some journalists may have realized that the happiness research challenges the consumerist dream-world upon which their advertising revenues depend — their failure to report on the implications of the research for consumerism is probably no accident. They are in the business of selling readers to advertisers, not telling readers that advertising is irrelevant to their subjective well-being."

Implicatiile socio-politice
Miller concluzioneaza ca rezultatele studiilor asupra fericirii din ultimul deceniu arata inutilitatea eforturilor indreptate spre progresul tehnologic si crestere economica, alaturi de rationalitatea redistribuirii averii bogatilor catre cei aflati sub limita saraciei:

"Also, if we take the happiness research seriously, most of the standard rationales for economic growth, technological progress, and improved social policy simply evaporate. In economics for example, people are modelled as agents who try to maximize their "subjective expected utility'. At the scientific level, this assumption is very useful in understanding consumer behavior and markets. But at the ideological level of political economy, the happiness literature shows that "utility" cannot be equated with happiness. That is, people may act as if they are trying to increase their happiness by buying products, but they are not actually achieving that aim. Moreover, increasing GNP per capita, which is a major goal of most governments in the world, will not have any of the promised effects on subjective well-being, once a certain minimum standard of living is in place. None of the standard "social indicators" of economic, political, and social progress are very good at tracking human happiness.

When hot-headed socialists were making this claim 150 years ago, it could be dismissed as contentious rhetoric. Equally, claims by the rich that "money doesn't buy happiness" could be laughed off as self-serving nonsense that perpetuated the oppression of the poor by creating a sort of envy-free pseudo-contentment. But modern science shows both were right: affluence produces rapidly diminishing returns on happiness. This in turn has a stark and uncomfortable message for those of us in the developed world who wallow in material luxuries: every hundred dollars that we spend on ourselves will have no detectable effect on our happiness; but the same money, if given to hungry, ill, oppressed developing-world people, would dramatically increase their happiness. In other words, effective charity donations have a powerful hedonic rationale (if one takes an objective view of the world), whereas runaway consumerism does not. Tor Norretranders (in this Edge Forum) has pointed out that 50 billion dollars a year — one dollar a week from each first world person — could end world hunger, helping each of the 6 billion people in the world to reach their happiness set-point.

The utilitarian argument for the rich giving more of their money to the poor is now scientifically irrefutable, but few journalists have recognized that revolutionary implication. (Of course, equally modest contributions to the welfare of other animals capable of subjective experience would also have a dramatic positive effect on overall mammalian, avian, and reptilian happiness.)".

Articolul integral poate fi citit la:
http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/story/86.html

Despre "binefacerile" competitiei capitaliste

Competitia intre diversii agenti economici si nu numai este o trasatura caracteristica sistemului capitalist, liberal. Desi multi dintre adeptii acestei oranduiri au impresia ca rezultatele acestei competitii sunt pozitive, precum sporirea eficientei, in realitate efectele practice ale intrecerii capitaliste sunt dintre cele mai neplacute. In studiul lor "On Competition and Well-Being. An Experimental Investigation into Rivalry, Social Disposition, and Subjective Well-Being", trei cercetatori, Jordi Brandts, Arno Riedl and Frans van Winden, demonstreaza ca efectele competitiei sunt diminuarea fericirii, incurajarea egoismului si nepasarii fata de ceilalti, fara a creste eficienta economica.

"We find that, in comparison with no competition, the presence of competition does neither increase effciency nor does it yield any gains in earnings for the short side of the exchange relation. Moreover, competition has a clearly negative impact on the disposition towards others and on the experienced well-being of those on the long side. Since subjective well-being improves only for those on the short side competition contributes to larger inequalities in experienced well-being. All in all competition does not show up as a positive force in our environment."

Mai departe,

"It [competition] does have positive effects on the subjective (experienced) well-being of people on the short side. However, competition has hidden costs that are related to people's emotional reaction to lack of control and the possibility of exclusion from trade. Being exposed to the competitive environment lowers subjective well-being and triggers negative emotions for those on the long side."

In incheiere, autorii noteaza:

"One can speculate about potential longer term effects of our findings.The kind of competition we study clearly deteriorates the social relations between interaction partners and considerably depresses the subjective well-being of those on the long side of exchange who are often excluded from interaction. These facts may lead to the obstruction of future cooperation. [...] The interpersonal rivalry implied by competition can hurt the social relations which are necessary for the successful pursuit of material wealth. Our results add to but are different from the criticism of market economies put forward by Lane (1991 and 2000). His point is, in essence, that in market economies people are drawn into striving too much for material things at the expense of companionship.
Our contribution consists in providing evidence of the social and affective costs of competition as such."

Studiul poate fi citit integral la:
http://www.fee.uva.nl/creed/pdffiles/compwellbe.pdf

Iata, deci, o data in plus, irationalitatea capitalismului: nu numai ca acest sistem pune un accent nejustificat de mare pe dobandirea de finante si bunuri materiale, dar nici alte aspecte caracteristice ale sale, precum advertisingul sau competitia, nu par sa aiba vreun aspect pozitiv pentru fericirea umana.
Cooperare si prietenie intre oameni, nu competitie si materialism!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

O confirmare in plus

La 12 februarie 2001, postul de televiziune BBC a difuzat un reportaj intitulat „Money can't buy happiness”. Textul materialului incepe sugestiv cu
„Money can't buy happiness - it's official. A new study by American psychologists has found that cash and popularity do not bring nirvana. Experts say that excessive wealth, particularly for people unaccustomed to it, such as lottery winners, can actually cause unhappiness.”

Materialul se refera la un studiu efectuat de Dr Kennon Sheldon, of the University of Missouri-Columbia, conform caruia autonomia personala, competenta la locul de munca, apropierea de ceilalti si respectul de sine sunt adevaratele valori care sporesc fericirea. Mai multe detalii despre acest studiu pot fi gasite la adresa: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1162153.stm

Mi-a placut insa ultimul fragment al materialului, in care este citata Diana Pidwell, membru in Societatea de Psihologie Britanica:

Money or happiness
Diana Pidwell, a community and clinical psychologist at Blackpool Wyre and Fyde Community NHS Trust and a member of the British Psychological Society, agreed that money cannot buy happiness.
She said: "Many studies have been done on the importance, or otherwise, of money and what seems to be the consensus is that once you have the basic level then after that it does not make any difference to happiness.
"There is evidence that there are very wealthy people who are very unhappy. Particularly people who were not born to wealth like lottery winners. "Happiness is a state of mind
."”

O confirmare in plus, asadar, a ce spuneam si cu alte ocazii: odata pragul saraciei trecut, preocuparea pentru bani si obiecte este irationala.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Andrew Oswald ne da dreptate

Profesorul Andrew Oswald preda economia la Universitatea din Warwick. In articolul sau "The Hippies were Right All Along About Happiness", aparut in Financial Times la 19 ianuarie 2006, Oswald recunoaste ca oamenii prea putin preocupati de aspectul material au intr-adevar mari sanse de a fi ales calea cea buna spre fericire.

Imbogatirea peste o limita a existentei decente, e inutila

"Politicians mistakenly believe that economic growth makes a nation happier. “Britain is today experiencing the longest period of sustained economic growth since the year 1701 – and we are determined to maintain it” began Gordon Brown, the chancellor of the exchequer, in his 2005 Budget speech. Western politicians think this way because they were taught to do so. But today there is much statistical and laboratory evidence in favour of a heresy: once a country has filled its larders there is no point in that nation becoming richer."

Non-materialistii au dreptate

"The hippies, the Greens, the road protesters, the down-shifters, the slow-food movement – all are having their quiet revenge. Routinely derided, the ideas of these down-to-earth philosophers are being confirmed by new statistical work by psychologists and economists.

First, surveys show that the industrialised nations have not become happier over time. Random samples of UK citizens today report the same degree of psychological wellbeing and satisfaction with their lives as did their (poorer) parents and grandparents. In the US, happiness has fallen over time. White American females are markedly less happy than were their mothers.
Second, using more formal measures of mental health, rates of depression in a country like the UK have increased.
Third, measured levels of stress at work have gone up.
Fourth, suicide statistics paint a picture that is often consistent with such
patterns. In the US, even though real income levels have risen six-fold, the
per-capita suicide rate is the same as in the year 1900. In the UK, more
encouragingly, the suicide rate has fallen in the last century, although among young men it remains far greater than decades ago.
Fifth, global warming means that growth has long-term consequences that
few could have imagined in their undergraduate tutorials."

Intr-adevar, avand in vedere ca desi in tarile vestice precum USA si UK, bogatia s-a triplat, insa nefericirea e in crestere, rata depresiilor a crescut, la fel ca si numarul de sinucideri, a crescut stresul la locul de munca, iar planeta este amentintata din cauza cresterii industriale si consumerismului, a fi interesat de a face mai multi bani decat ai nevoie pentru asigurarea nevoilor de baza este o imbecilitate.

Trei argumente ca banii in exces nu sporesc fericirea
"None of these points is immune from counter-argument. But most commentators who argue against such evidence appear to do so out of intellectual habit or an unshakeable faith in conventional thinking.

Some of the world’s most innovative academics have come up with strong
evidence about why growth does not work. One reason is that humans are
creatures of comparison. Research last year showed that happiness levels
depend inversely on the earnings levels of a person’s neighbours.
Prosperity next door makes you dissatisfied. It is relative income that
matters: when everyone in a society gets wealthier, average well-being stays
the same.

A further reason is habituation. Experiences wear off. A joint intellectual
effort by psychologists and economists has got to the bottom of the way
human beings adapt to good and bad events. Some researchers believe that
after a pay rise people get used to greater income and eventually return to
their original happy or unhappy state. Such hedonic flexibility also works
downwards. Those who become disabled recover 80 per cent of their happiness by three years after an accident. Yet economics textbooks still ignore adaptation.

A final reason is that human beings are bad at forecasting what will make
them happy. In laboratory settings, people systematically choose the wrong
things for themselves."

Astfel, infinitele comparatii cu averea vecinilor si cunoscutilor nostri, obisnuinta cu obiectele materiale si necunoasterea adevaratelor surse de fericire nu pot decat anuleze sau, in cel mai bun caz, minimizeze efectele pozitive pe care le-ar putea avea banii si posesiunile asupra noastra.

Autorul incheie prin a spune:
"Happiness, not economic growth, ought to be the next and more sensible
target for the next and more sensible generation."

Articolul poate fi citit la adresa:
http://www.orlok.com/blog/archive_listserver/mb-hair/2006-January/004606.html

Monday, January 7, 2008

Inegalitati si depresie

Dupa cum am mai spus, egalitarismul, inteles ca impunerea unei limite unice si relativ scazute de castig, are meritul de a taia din radacini impulsul de imbogatire si mania consumerista, descurajand munca suplimentara si incurajandu-i astfel pe oameni sa isi canalizeze eforturile catre sursele demonstrate de fericire, precum ocupatiile din timpul liber.
Este util sa urmarim insa si efectele nocive pe care le are inegalitatea socio-economica, pentru a ne convinge ca egalitarismul de care vorbeam are si alte merite, ceea ce il face cu atat mai atragator.

Pe langa numeroasele exemple date pana acum de efecte nocive ale inegalitatilor, acum ma voi referi la cresterea depresiei.
Astfel, Naoko Muramatsu, doctor in sanatate publica la Universitatea din Illinois arata in articolul sau "County-Level Income Inequality and Depression among Older Americans", aparut in revista academica Health Services research, 2003 December; 38(6 Pt 2): 1863–1884, cum inegalitatile sporesc depresia cetatenilor in varsta. Dupa ce noteaza ca "Researchers have consistently demonstrated a strong association between socioeconomic status (SES) and health at the individual level", Muramatsu isi expune pe scurt continutul lucrarii:

"
Objectives
To examine (1) whether county-level income inequality is associated with depression among Americans aged 70 and older, taking into consideration county-level mean household income and individual-level socioeconomic status (SES), demographic characteristics, and physical health, and (2) whether income inequality effects are stronger among people with lower SES and physical health.

Data Sources
The individual-level data from the first wave of the Assets and Health Dynamics among the Oldest Old survey (1993–1994) were linked with the county-level income inequality and mean household income data from the 1990 Census.

Study Design
Multilevel analysis was conducted to examine the association between income inequality (the Gini coefficient) and depression.

Principal Findings
Income inequality was significantly associated with depression among older Americans. Those living in counties with higher income inequality were more depressed, independent of their demographic characteristics, SES, and physical health. The association was stronger among those with more illnesses."
http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pubmed&pubmedid=14727801

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Un bun rezumat despre nocivitatea inegalitatilor sociale

John Robbins este absolvent al Universitatii din California, Berkely, si-a obtinut masterul la Antioch Colledge, este autorul mai multor best-sellers si membru fondator al proiectului SaveEarth.
In articolul sau "The Health Costs of Wealth Inequality", Robbins explica dinamica existenta in statele bogate dar in care exista inegalitati mari socio-economice in randul populatiei, si care duce in practica la efecte sociale dintre cele mai negative. Printre acestea, Robbins aminteste scaderea nivelului de trai al clasei de mijloc, cresterea numarului de ore de munca, cresterea mortalitatii infantile, deteriorarea sanatatii, cresterea numarului de crime si de acte violente, precum si irelevanta bogatiei absolute pentru bunastarea populatiei.

Clasa muncitoare, sub asediul bogatasilor

"Not that long ago in this country, you could raise a family on a single paycheck. If you were working, you didn’t have to worry about an unexpected medical bill making you homeless. If you were disabled, your basic needs were taken care of, and if you were elderly, you could count on benefits that made your final years restful and safe.
But real wages have been declining since the 1970s, and benefits have been deteriorating. Every year, more working people are losing their pensions and their health insurance. Meanwhile, our wealth distribution has been becoming increasingly disparate.
Today, many corporate executives earn more money in a couple of hours than the average factory worker makes in a year. The wealthiest 1 percent of America’s population owns more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined. And the minimum wage, adjusted for inflation, has fallen by 37 percent since 1968, and become the lowest of any industrialized nation."

Inegalitatile sociale inseamna boala

"What impact is this having on the health of our people?
With 5 percent of the world’s population, the United States accounts for nearly 50 percent of the world’s healthcare spending, yet ranks only 26th in life expectancy, and 28th in infant mortality. Is it a coincidence that not a single one of the 25 countries that have longer life expectancies than the United States, nor a single one of the 27 countries that have better infant mortality rates, has as wide a wealth gap between its richest and poorest citizens? [...]
Last week, the Trust for America’s Health issued a report finding that in the past year, obesity had increased in 31 states, while decreasing in none. The states with the highest rates of obesity are also those with the greatest wealth inequality."

Bogatia unei natiuni conteaza doar la asigurarea nevoilor de baza ale populatiei, dupa care inegalitatile nu fac decat sa dauneze

"I once believed that the wealthier a society, the better would be the health of its people. And it’s true that those nations whose annual per capita income is below $10,000 often suffer from poor sanitation and malnutrition and have the poorest health. But studies have consistently found that above that threshold, the health of nations is no longer a matter of absolute income, but is actually more a matter of the gap between the rich and the poor. Above that point, the more unequally wealth is distributed, the less health will prevail."

Egalitarismul, reteta armoniei sociale

"Why is that? Societies in which the pie gets divided so that everyone gets a decent share are healthier because as well as having their basic needs met, people tend to participate in their community, trust others, and cooperate for mutual benefit. They are more likely to form friendships. They tend to care for one another. Their relationships are often marked by support, trust, and sociability.

History shows that wherever inequality of wealth distribution becomes extreme, however, people tend to become divided against one another, and societies tend to spend less on public health, education, and social safety nets. Large numbers of people feel chronically left out, powerless, anxious, angry, and afraid. In such societies, everyone— whether they are “haves” or “have-nots”—tends to become less trusting of their neighbors and less inclined to help others. The result is higher crime rates, increased violence, and higher rates of heart disease, depression, and many other debilitating and deadly ailments for both rich and poor."

Articolul intreg poate fi citit la adresa: http://www.ucimc.org/node/36

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Cum corporatiile distrug comunitatile locale

Multi adepti ai capitalismului tin sa sublinieze binele pe care marile corporatii le fac societatii, oferind slujbe si aducand produse in cantitati mari si diversificate comunitatilor locale.
In realitate insa, conform unui studiu efectuat de Stephan Goetz, Professor of Agricultural and Regional Economics at The Pennsylvania State University, si publicat in numarul din iunie 2006 a revistei academice Social Science Quarterly, corporatiile precum Wal-Mart nu fac decat sa sporeasca saracia, sa ofere slujbe prost platite, sa falimenteze afacerile locale de familie si sa minimizeze initiativele locale.

"Study: Wal-Mart equals higher poverty rates
A study published in the latest issue of Social Science Quarterly is the first to examine the effect of Wal-Mart stores on poverty rates. The study found that nationwide an estimated 20,000 families have fallen below the official poverty line as a result of the chain's expansion. During the last decade, dependence on the food stamp program nationwide increased by 8 percent while in counties with Wal-Mart stores, the increase was almost twice as large at15.3 percent. "After controlling for other factors determining changes in the poverty rate over time, we find that both counties with more initial Wal-Mart stores and with more additions of stores between 1987 and 1998 experienced greater increases (or smaller decreases) in family poverty rates during the 1990's economic boom period," Stephan Goetz a Professor of Agricultural and Regional Economics at The Pennsylvania State University states. Although Wal-Mart employs many people living in its communities, for most, the hours worked and the wages paid do not help these families transition out of poverty.

Another effect is that the closing of "mom and pop" stores following the appearance of a store leads to the closing of local businesses that previously supplied those stores including: wholesalers, transporters, logistics providers, accountants, lawyers and others. The authors state that "by displacing the local class of entrepreneurs, the Wal-Mart chain also destroys local leadership capacity." They encourage community leaders to think about programs and policies in anticipation of helping those displaced by the arrival of the chain."
http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/study-wal-mart-equals-higher-poverty-rates-10614.html

Vezi si aici:
http://www.infozine.com/news/stories/op/storiesView/sid/15110/

Friday, January 4, 2008

Placeri temporare, placeri de durata

Luis Rayo este profesor de economie la Universitatea din Chicago. Intr-un articol din Washington Post, publicat la 10 februarie 2007 si semnat de Katherine Salant, Luis Rayo distinge intre placerile temporare, care ofera un oarecare plus de satisfactie numai pe termen scurt si cele de durata. In categoria primelor, Rayo include satisfactiile datorate realizarilor si achizitionarilor materiale, de bunuri, iar in clasa placerilor de durata, chiar permanente, pe cele datorate relatiilor de prietenie si de familie, precum si exercitiile fizice facute cu regularitate.

Satisfactiile materiale, costisitoare si de scurta durata
"The choices that make people happy are all over the map, but when you examine the data carefully, similar patterns emerge, Rayo said. In that respect, buying a new house is not so different from buying a car or choosing a restaurant.

When you start to think about buying a new and bigger house, your initial comparison and reference point is size, Rayo said. When you start to look at the big, new houses that are for sale, however, you discover that size is only one of many comparisons. Size, price, location and floor plans soon loom large and become new reference points. Rayo characterized them as "moving targets, which constantly change."

Eventually, you pick a builder and a model, build and move in. The change is dramatic. Nonetheless, you quickly become accustomed to your new surroundings. These become your new benchmark against which you now make new comparisons, such as how your house stacks up against the others in your neighborhood or what you could have done with the money instead.

You start shopping for furniture to put in those empty rooms in your bigger house. At the furniture store, you find they have 20 oversize sofas on the floor -- more comparisons! You select several pieces for your family room and quickly move on to considering an outdoor deck for summer. You keep expecting that you will finally become sated with all things related to the new house, but the considerations are endless. The deck project leads to discussions about possible decking materials, as well as outdoor grills. . . .

Meanwhile, you discover several unpleasant aspects to your new place. A house that's twice as big requires twice as long to clean, and the commuting time to your office is now two hours a day instead of 30 minutes. Though it's easy to become accustomed to a positive change and move on, you never get used to activities that are painful and irritating such as a long commute, Rayo said.

This unending cycle of serial interests and constant impulse to compare what we have now with what we might have in the future is wired into our brains, and there's an evolutionary reason for it, Rayo explained. Fifty thousand years ago, when we were hunter-gatherers, it served us well. To elude predators, our eyes developed the ability to judge moving objects and colors by comparing them with the background landscape. To ensure there would be enough food and water for everyone, our brains developed the ability to continually look ahead and press on to find new food sources.

In today's world, this strategy does not always serve us well, Rayo pointed out."

Intrecerea legata de avere, o cale sigura spre nefericire

"How does this square with choosing a house that will make us happy? Rayo suggests a house with enough space to meet your needs while accommodating a practical, relaxing lifestyle. Everyone's situation is different, but as you make the decision, he said, be honest about your motivation.

Will the added square feet in the big, new house make you more comfortable?

If the goal is to impress your peers and friends, "You'll lose the race of winning and you'll be stressed," he said. Is your kitchen a place to hang out and be comfortable or will it be, as Rayo put it, a "slick intimidation statement about my wealth?" Will the $50,000 array of solar panels on your new roof that will generate all your household electricity needs "bring a sense of personal satisfaction or give you bragging rights?"

The latter are "not a sustainable source of happiness," Rayo said. "When consumption extends beyond your needs and the goal is to impress others, you should be suspicious; it will not lead to happiness."

Lucrurile non-materiale, surse de placeri de durata

"More important, he went on to say, the psychology literature and surveys clearly show that not all happiness is ephemeral and geared to endlessly moving targets. With nonmaterial things, the target does not move.

"Exercise will absolutely make you feel better. Your social network, family and friends can bring permanent happiness. Longtime relationships can bring long-term satisfaction."

One reason for this, Rayo said, is that our relationships with friends and families do not have a lot of "status differentiation." Though you may think that this sounds ridiculous, Rayo said that brain scans and hormone fluctuations in our bloodstream show that our brains are designed to know where we fit into the pecking order, and we're uncomfortable when we're not among equals. Our brains are also very sensitive to material success and who has more or less than we do." [...]

"What is the scientific proof that a modest lifestyle is the path to happiness? Rayo said one example is Buddhist monks. They eat the same food and wear the same clothes every day. With years of meditation they lose interest in the "next new thing and the moving target," he said. "And their brain scans show that they are happier than most people in a scientifically measurable way.""

Articolul din care am citat se intituleaza "Monks, Not McMansions, May Hold the Key to Happiness" si poate fi citit la:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/09/AR2007020900963.html

Inegalitati criminale

In publicatia academica American Journal of Public Health, 2006 Dec;96(12):2145-53, cercetatoarea Marilyn Winkleby de la Universitatea din Stanford, alaturi de alti doi colegi, publica rezultatele unui studiu asupra efectelor inegalitatilor socio-economice.
Articolul, intitulat „Effect of cross-level interaction between individual and neighborhood socioeconomic status on adult mortality rates”, urmareste efectul pe care il are asupra sanatatii si longevitatii vecinatatea, mediul local (neighborhood) asupra vietii individuale.
Rezultatele nu ne surprind: femeile cu un nivel scazut socio-economic care traiesc in zone bogate prezinta un nivel ridicat al mortalitatii. Acest nivel este mai scazut in cazul femeilor ce locuiesc in zone moderat-avute, si cel mai scazut in cazul femilor cu un nivel scazut socio-economic care traiesc in zone la fel de scazute din punct de vedere social si economic.
Rezultatele, desi mai scazute, mentin acelasi trend si in cazul barbatilor.

OBJECTIVE: We examined whether the influence of neighborhood-level socioeconomic status (SES) on mortality differed by individual-level SES.
METHODS: We used a population-based, mortality follow-up study of 4476 women and 3721 men, who were predominately non-HIspanic White and aged 25-74 years at baseline, from 82 neighborhoods in 4 California cities. Participants were surveyed between 1979 and 1990, and were followed until December 31, 2002 (1148 deaths; mean follow-up time 17.4 years). Neighborhood SES was defined by 5 census variables and was divided into 3 levels. Individual SES was defined by a composite of educational level and household income and was divided into tertiles.
RESULTS: Death rates among women of low SES were highest in high-SES neighborhoods (1907/100000 person-years), lower in moderate-SES neighborhoods (1323), and lowest in low-SES neighborhoods (1128). Similar to women, rates among men of low SES were 1928, 1646, and 1590 in high-, moderate-, and low-SES neighborhoods, respectively. Differences were not explained by individual-level baseline risk factors.

CONCLUSION: The disparities in mortality by neighborhood of residence among women and men of low SES demonstrate that they do not benefit from the higher quality of resources and knowledge generally associated with neighborhoods that have higher SES.”
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17077398?dopt=Abstract

Intr-un interviu acordat pentru postul de televiziune abcNews, Marilyn Winkleby, coordonatoarea studiului, explica rezultatele:

„The researchers, led by Professor Marilyn Winkleby of the Stanford Prevention Research Center, were themselves surprised by their results. "We tend to assume that people living in a high socioeconomic status neighborhood are well off," but "every way we looked at the data, we found the same result." The data included 8,200 men and women living in 82 neighborhoods in Monterey, Modesto, Salinas and San Luis Obispo, California. The effect was particularly pronounced among women. The death rate was 19 per 1000 women of low socioeconomic status living in rich neighborhoods over the 17 years of the study compared with 11 per 1000 such women from poor neighborhoods.

One possible explanation offered by Winkleby is economic. The cost of living in rich neighborhoods might have left poor people with little money to spend on good food and health care. Or maybe services offered in poor neighborhoods were lacking in rich ones.
Another way to account for the results is psychological. As Winkleby noted, "You look out every day and you're at the bottom of the social ladder." Such status issues may induce or exacerbate stress-related conditions. An awareness of the latter possibility is one reason some people opt to retire to poorer communities or countries.”
Articolul in care se gaseste interviu se numeste „Who's Counting: Health, Wealth and Happiness”, a aparut pe saitul absNews la 31.12.2006 si a fost scris de John Paulos.
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/Story?id=2759812&page=1

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Virtutile saraciei

Cititorii acestui blog nu trebuie sa se mire cand afla ca saracia, produsa de o criza economica, poate avea si urmari dintre cele mai pozitive. Pentru ca ii indeparteaza pe oameni de bani si consumerism, lux si abundenta, dovedite nu doar ca nu soresc fericirea dincolo de un prag modest, ba chiar pot cauza nefericire prin fenomene precum incapacitatea de a alege dintr-o multitudine de produse ori sindromul corvoadei averii.
Astfel, cubanezii, in timpul crizei economice din intervalul 1989-1994 au devenit mai sanatosi tocmai datorita lipsei de bani, care a insemnat reducerea portiilor de mancare si a numarului de automobile:

"Cubans were less prone to heart disease and diabetes during the 1990s when their country went through a prolonged economic crisis, a new study by the University of Michigan shows.

As in other nations, many people in Cuba have excess weight and live a sedentary lifestyle, both risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. In 1989, Cuba entered a prolonged economic crisis that worsened continuously over the next five years with dramatically reduced imports and shortages in the food-rationing system and public transportation. These conditions led to Cubans walking or riding a bike more often, eating less and smoking fewer cigarettes, the study shows.

"The findings were surprising because, during the economic crisis, Cubans' health conditions dramatically improved and the mortality rates declined," said José A. Tapia Granados, the study's co-author and an adjunct assistant professor in the U-M School of Social Work.

Researchers examined Cuban vital statistics and data from population surveys from 1980 to 2005 to determine the evolution of mortality during the severe economic crisis in 1991 to 1995 and the years before and immediately following.

The crisis reduced the daily per capita energy intake to 1,863 calories from nearly 2,900 calories. The lack of public transportation in Cuba meant residents had to find other means of travel. The prevalence of physical exercise, which is defined as at least 30 minutes of moderate or intense activity at least five days per week, jumped 30 percent to 67 percent, the research shows.

Food scarcity and increased energy expenditure from exercise made Cubans thinner, Tapia Granados said. The combined effect of reduced dietary energy intake and higher levels of physical activity helped many people who were obese or overweight to lose weight.

The Cuban population reached more healthy levels of body mass index, he said, and the prevalence of obesity declined from 14 percent to 7 percent. The annual per capita use of cigarettes also dropped, continuing a trend from 2,200 in 1980 to 1,200 in 1997.

When tracking the results from 1997 to 2002, there were declines in deaths attributed to diabetes (51 percent), coronary heart disease (35 percent), stroke (20 percent) and all causes (18 percent).

An outbreak of neuropathy—an acute eye disease, possibly caused by lack of micronutrients—and a slight increase in infant and elderly mortality show that the crisis also had negative consequences for health, Tapia Granados said.

The findings appear in the recent issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology. Manuel Franco and several researchers at John Hopkins University, Loyola University and the Hospital Universitario of Cienfuegos in Cuba also wrote the study."

http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/lack-cars-food-made-post-revolution-cubans-healthy-14453.html

Sa ne bucuram de copii, prieteni si animale!

Daca tot l-am amintit in postarea anterioara pe Dr. Tomothy Sharp, merita sa scriu si despre rezultatele unui studiu interesant efectuat de domnia sa, dat publicitatii cu cateva luni in urma.
Astfel, conform prestigioasei agentii de stiri Reuters, copii, urmati de prieteni si animale sunt factorii capabili sa aduca un zambet pe fata oamenilor, nu banii si averea:

"Babies, not money, bring smiles to Aussie faces: study

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Money can't buy you love, The Beatles sang, and a new Australian study confirms that it can't buy happiness either.

Ninety-four percent of people in a recent online survey of almost 1,500 Australians didn't rate wealth or money as top on their list of things that make them smile the most. Instead, children and babies were found most likely to bring a smile to their faces, with 33 percent of the vote, followed by family and friends at 28 percent, and then pets and animals with 22 percent.

Based on the idea that a smile is the universal symbol for happiness, the study found that people gain more happiness from their experiences than their purchases.

"We know that money doesn't make people happy -- it doesn't make them unhappy, but the benefits of buying something or getting cash out can only be short lived, it doesn't last that long," said Timothy Sharp from the Sydney-based Happiness Institute.

The study, conducted by marketing research body AC Nielsen over three days, asked respondents to choose the factor that made them smile most from a list of five different categories, including money and wealth, and beautiful scenery or nature.

"The findings support my theory that happy people have more and better quality relationships than those who don't smile, because it is an important non-verbal sign we give to others as a way of sharing and eliciting positive emotions," Sharp said. But the simple act of smiling could make you feel happier too, because it increases the level of serotonin, a hormone that plays an important role in regulating moods in the brain, Sharp told Reuters on Tuesday. "One of the myths about happiness is that its this spontaneous thing that falls on your lap if you're lucky," he said. "If people engage in happy behavior, you increase your chances of being happy." "

Articolul a fost scris de Jane Lee la data de 3 iulie 2007.
http://www.reuters.com/article/lifestyleMolt/idUSSYD22653520070703

Iata, asadar, adevaratele surse ale fericirii, la care rezonam in mod reflex, care aduc armonie si veselie. Sa terminam deci cu naroada manie materialista, indusa artificial, si sa ne concentram pe adevaratele surse ale bunastarii.

Dr. Timothy Sharp despre fericire

Timothy Sharp este doctor in psihologie, colaborator al Universitatilor din Sydney si New South Wales, precum si fondator al Happiness Institute.
Cu siguranta, concluziile sale despre fericire merita luate in calcul si nu trebuie sa ne miram cand vom observa ca in privinte cheie, afirmatiile sale sunt in acord cu al celorlalti cercetatori in domeniu. Dr. Sharp recunoste ca odata pragul saraciei trecut, fericirea nu sporeste si ca aceasta nu rezida nici in achizitionarea bunurilor luxoase:

"Q: What do people think will make them happy, as compared to what actually makes them happy?
A: One of the biggest mistakes many people make is to think they’ll find
happiness in “external” things such as money and/or material possessions.
Although these things aren’t “bad” we know from the research, and from our considerable experience in this area, that the positive feelings we get from “stuff” is only short lived, it’s only temporary and relatively superficial.
In contrast, what really contributes to real and meaningful happiness are
variables such as good quality relationships, optimistic thinking, compassion for others, the ability to identify and utilise strengths and the practice of strategies such as appreciation and gratitude.
In fact, at The Happiness Institute we believe happiness is something you choose. [...]

Q: Does money make us happier?
A: The simple answer is that money does not lead to happiness, except where or when someone is living under extreme hardships such as living below the poverty line. If someone is struggling to eat, or if they don’t have a permanent place to sleep or live, then there’s no doubt that some money (and/or financial stability) will increase their happiness.
But above this point, increasing amounts of money have relatively little impact on happiness. This is not to say that money leads to unhappiness but that more happiness is more likely to come from other endeavours such as building positive relationships and finding purpose and meaning in life."
http://www.thehappinessinstitute.com/freeproducts/docs/Happiness%20FAQs.pdf

In alta parte, Dr. Timothy Sharp scrie:

"Why is happiness so hard for us in this day and age that many of us have to take lessons on how to be happy?

Happiness is hard for many people to achieve because they focus on the wrong variables or they’ve not been taught the right things to do!
Despite what many newspapers, glossy magazines, Hollywood movies and TV shows would have us believe, happiness does NOT come from wealth or
income, or even material possessions such as fast cars or large, plasma TV screens.
Nor is happiness directly associated with physical attractiveness or even intelligence. And believe it or not, happiness does not depend on the type of cola you drink, the type of jeans you were or even the model of mobile phone you use!"

Ce ne sfatuieste Timothy Sharp sa facem pentru a ne spori fericirea? Printre altele, sa traim in prezent, putin preocupati de trecut si nu foarte preocupati de viitor, axandu-ne mai mult pe ce avem decat pe ce ne lipseste:

"So how do I become happier?
(g) Live in the moment. Happiness is not something you’ll ever achieve in the future. It won’t come when you have more, or when you’ve reached a goal, or when you’re older, wiser, richer etc. Happiness can only ever be experienced at one point in time – and that’s now.
Happy people spend less time dwelling on the past, and worrying about the future, and more time living in the here and now.

(h) Enjoy the moment. Slightly different to the point above, happiness is not just living in the moment but also, enjoying the moment. Happy people are more grateful. They appreciate what they have, and think
less about what they don’t have. Often times they appreciate small things other people don’t even notice. Some times they’re happy just because!"
http://www.thehappinessinstitute.com/freeproducts/docs/The%207%20Most%20Commonly%20Asked%20Questions%20About%20Happiness%20and%20Answers%20from%20Dr.%20Happy..pdf