Tuesday, 06 Mar, 2007 Science

Happiness Might Appear Before Fortunate Events Occur, Study Says


A recent study on human happiness reveals that our adaptation to major life events is not the only factor to influence our well-being. Those who will have their life run in a more balanced way are predominantly inclined to feel happy long before the fortunate occurrence in their life.

Latest psychological studies have found that the feeling of happiness is not related to outside circumstances or turning points of one's life. This means that prosperity, marriage or health do not determine our subjective well being.

This theory has proved to be basically true, but only for some changes concerning the character of the event. Though most people can adapt to variety of negative and disturbing circumstances like death of a close person or significant changes in marital status, and return to a normal level of well being, individual differences still matter. After a revision of the studies, where the most important factor proved to be the adaptation to life events, new discoveries were made to prove the counter evidence.

First of all, it was proved that the level of happiness is not a standstill state only perturbed by negative and positive events. Some major disturbances may affect your happiness to greater extend than others.

Researches conducted by Richard E. Lucas of Michigan State University and the German Institute for Economic Research in Germany and Great Britain collected the data on the level of happiness before and after significant life events.

According to the study, people can adapt to such events like marriage or death of a spouse, but are mostly unable to return to the previous level of well-being after divorce, serious illness and unemployment.

But what became really surprising during the research was the fact that individual factor cannot be underestimated. It was found that those individuals who had quite harmonious long-lasting marriage are disposed to feel happy long before the marriage occurred. Otherwise, this evidence was not observed among those who got divorced, for instance.

Thus the study shows that not only our flexibility to life's ups and downs plays an important role for our subjective feeling of happiness. The innate individual differences are claimed to overpower personal ability to adaptation.

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