Tuesday, 16 Dec, 2008 Offbeat
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Unhappy People Watch TV Often

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Smile faceAccording to American scientists, unhappy people watch TV more often than happy people do. Those people who are more satisfied with their lives read newspapers more actively, communicate more and have sex more often, reports The Daily Telegraph. Internet, in its turn, makes a person neither happier nor unhappier.

Unhappy people spend 30% more time on TV - this is the result of researches made with 30,000 people by sociologists John Robinson and Steven Martin from state Maryland University, during the time between 1975 and 2006. The report of the works has been published in Social Indicators Research.

These new studies do not contradict the previous ones which said that watching TV was very often the happiest time of the day for some people. "TV can bring a short-time happiness, but this is because of long-time unhappiness", professor Robinson says.

In the same time, scientists don't hurry in making the conclusion that television makes people unhappy. Most probably, it takes the time a person can spend on pleasant activities. Or maybe unhappy people are being tempted by the TV screen, which allows forgetting the feeling of unsatisfaction for a time.

Scientists forestall that chronic lack of happiness influence negatively a person's health state and social activity. In Professor Martin's vision, regular TV watching can be compared to drug abuse, since it brings dependence.

Lately, British scientists have established that the happiest place of their country is Paves in Wells and the unhappiest place is the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh. Besides that, they have also showed that people with not less than 10 friends feel a lot happier. People with 5 friends and less could consider themselves happy only in 40 percent of the cases. The ones with a number of friends from 5 to 10 have a "happiness index" raised up to 50 percent.

In 2006, the problem of happiness was intensely tried to be solved in Hong-Kong: special "happiness terminals" have been installed in undergrounds, where any volunteer could value his level of happiness with numbers from 1 to 10. Once the information was received, the machine gave a special quotation to the passenger, such as: "when you're unhappy, turn to your friends" or "smile, you look great" and "happiness must be shared".

Recently, people all over the world become happier, according to a summer survey of The International Programme of Values’ Studying. The number one country in the Top of "the happiest countries" was named Denmark again. A sudden rising of happiness index was observed in India, Mexico and South Korea. The last country in the list was Zimbabwe.

Americans have occupied the 16th place, they having been outrun by Canada, Switzerland, Salvador and New Zealand, but having outrun, in their turn, such countries, as: Great Britain, Germany, France and Italy. The happiest country in the Middle East was considered South Arabia (the 26th place) and the unhappiest one - Iraq (the 91st place). Europeans in developed countries are generally happier than people in Asia, but they recover harder after failures and feel worse about them.

American scientists, in the meantime, have tried to find "happiness recipes". According to David Lokken from the University of Minnesota, happiness is genetically half-dependent and the rest of it is totally dependent on us. Abraham Lincoln once said: "The majority of people are as happy as they decide to be". Sigmund Freud was of opinion that people are used to consider themselves unhappy, because they spend less energy on it. There are always reasons for complaining, but many people simply don't do anything to make their lives better, psychologists say.

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