Chris Lau - Seeking Alpha

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Happiness: Part 2

Jeffrey D. Saut, Raymond James & Associates, compared the positive performance of major markets last month to that of happiness. This introduction is worth repeating (ed: addition of paragraphs).

"Don’t Worry, Be Happy"
“Happiness is contagious, spreading among friends, neighbors, siblings, and spouses like the flu, according to a large study that for the first time shows how emotions can ripple through clusters of people who might not even know each other.

The study of more than 4,700 people, who were followed over 20 years, found that people who are happy, or become happy, boost the chances that someone they know will be happy. The power of happiness, moreover, can span another degree of separation, elevating the mood of that person’s husband, wife, brother, sister, friend or next-door neighbor. Your emotional state also depends on the choices and actions and experiences of other people, including people to whom you are not directly connected.

Happiness is contagious.

One person’s happiness can affect another’s for up to a year, the researchers found,and while unhappiness can also spread from person to person, the ‘infectiousness‘ of that emotion appears to be far weaker. Laughter can trigger guffaws in others; seeing someone smile can momentarily lift one’s sprits.

But the new study is the first to find that happiness can spread across groups for an extended period of time. The findings provide striking new evidence of the power of social networks, which should have implications for public policy.

Happy people tend to be better off in myriad of ways, being more creative, productive and healthier. Some experts praised the study as a landmark in the growing body of evidence documenting the influence of personal connections and the importance of positive emotions. ‘It’s a pathfinding article,’ said
Martin E. P. Seligman, a University of Pennsylvania psychologist. ‘It’s totally original and the findings are
. . . James Dines, The Dine’s Letter

“Happiness” . . . what a novel concept! As the brilliant strategist James Montier writes:
“If you are after specific investment advice, stop reading now.” He goes on to note:

“Don’t equate happiness with money. People adapt to income shifts relatively quickly; the long lasting
benefits are essentially zero.”

“Exercise regularly.

“Have sex (preferably with someone you love). Sex is consistently rated as amongst the highest generator of happiness.”

“Devote time and effort to close relationships.
Close relationships require work and effort, but pay vast
rewards in terms of happiness.”

“Pause for reflection, meditate on the good things in life.
Simple reflection on the good aspects of life helps prevent hedonic adaptation.”

“Give your body the sleep it needs.”

“Don’t pursue happiness for its own sake, enjoy the moment.
Faulty perceptions of what makes you happy, may lead to the wrong pursuits. Additionally, activities may become a means to an end, rather than something to be enjoyed, defeating the purpose in the first place.”

“Take control of your life, set yourself achievable goals.”

“Remember to follow ALL of the (above) rules!”