This week in positive psychology: What makes the young and the old happy

happiness research

Happy at any age – A study out of the Queensland University of Technology is looking at the factors that affect happiness in nursing homes. So far, researchers have found that happier residents tend to be the ones who have a positive attitude, have structure and things to look forward to, connect with residents and staff, feel safe and comfortable, and have privacy and independence.

Wait for it – Extending the finding that experiences make us happier than material things, researchers have found that waiting to buy experiences is more pleasurable than waiting to buy things. Anticipation can be positive, but it depends on what you’re waiting for.

Outside academia:

Unhappy childhood – The Children’s Society ranked 39 countries based on children’s well-being and found that the US, Canada, and the UK fell below average (see page 30). In the UK, this was due to poor body image.

Fun in the sun – A Nielsen study found that people who commit to vacations at least once a year tend to be happier and healthier, and have better relationships. Yet half of respondents don’t take all their vacation days, leaving an average of 7+ days unused.

I’m happier than you – A study out of the Korea Development Institute found that people who tend to compare themselves to others are less satisfied with life. Competitiveness was measured from 1-5 and happiness from 1-10, and 1 point more competitiveness correlated with 0.237 points less happiness.

Photo by Flickr user Patrick Q