Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Happy (the movie)

Jane and I watched the movie 'Happy' the other night. It is a documentary from 2011 that combines real life stories from all over the world, as well as interviews with leading scientists in 'happiness' research. It is actually quite good. I recommend it as a way to get "happier."

There were several statistics I found quite interesting. A couple I can remember are... They found that there is a marked difference in people's happiness between those making $5,000 and those making $50,000; but there was NO difference in the happiness of people making $50,000 and $50 million. So it is important that our basic life needs are taken care of, but beyond that... it's all about the same.

They also sited the benefits of meditation. My counselor has been telling me this too. They actually said you could see as much improvement in the life of someone who practiced meditation for as little as 2 weeks as in someone who's been practicing it for 20 years.

Another interesting finding is that scientists believe 50% of our happiness is controlled by our genes (we're born that way). However, just 10% of our happiness is based on the circumstances of our lives (status, money, career, etc.). The remaining 40% is believed to be subject to intentional behavior and choices. So, in other words, just like any other skill, happiness can be developed; it is something within our control.

Some things they found that are important to our happiness are:

  • Keeping ourselves active
  • Investing in community and positive social relationships (having friends)
  • Helping others
  • Doing things we enjoy, rather than just trying to "get ahead" or make a lot of money
  • Expressing gratitude (and being thankful)
There were some other things which I can't recall right now, but you get the idea. What I find interesting is how many of these things can be found in the church. Unfortunately, I'm not sure everyone sees them all the time, or they are things we tend to cultivate.

All in all, I found it a really good movie. It's only about 70 minutes long. Jane and I found it for free on our Amazon Prime account and watched it on the Kindle. It was nice.