Skip to Navigation

It has been shown that people report the greatest levels of unhappiness in countries where the gap between rich and poor is greatest; the wider the gap, the greater the dissatisfaction.*

It seems that being poor is not what makes people unhappy, but living alongside people who are much richer than you does. There’s a a degree of tolerance and acceptance of different levels of wealth, but beyond a certain point that buffering effect disappears. I’ve simplified this, but it doesn’t seem to be in question that this is phenomenon is reliable and solid.

It’s not just nations that suffer. Findings by The Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen show that when people are constantly reminded about others’ happiness they become unhappier themselves (why is it that we trust Scandinavian findings more than, say, Bosnian or Puerto Rican research?).

Researchers split a selection of Facebook users into two groups. One continued their lives as usual, the other went cold turkey and had not Facebook contact. After only a week the latter group reported that they were 55% less stressed and more satisfied with their lives.

Participants in the study were aged 16 to 76, and although the habits was difficult to break at first, the abstainers became significantly more satisfied with life, and were more focused and productive, and paradoxically LESS lonely than the other group.

 

*It has lots of other socially distressing correlates too, see The Spirit Level; Why Equality is Better for Everyone, by Richard Wilkinson

Research

Can staying off Facebook make you happier?

Facebook Users’ Engagement and Perceived Life Satisfaction

Post: Don’t Compare – Go

What do you think? Share your thoughts...

Latest from the blog

Never Mind What Others Think

what others think

Even though we don’t realise it when we say we know what someone thinks about something, we are guessing. Even mind-reading – in a fairground or on stage – is trickery.

Yet we often allow our own thoughts and behaviour to be goverened by what we claim someone else will think. Maybe it’s time to review what we ‘know’.

Continue reading

One thing better

Getting things done is not half as satisfying as doing things well. This is because we get personal satisfaction from giving something all our attention, doing it to the best of our abilities, being absorbed in it while we are doing it, and looking back with pride at a job well done.
“Enough time” has nothing to do with it, as you’ll see.

Continue reading
%d bloggers like this: