In an article in Yes! Magazine, George Ward writes that "a growing body of work by economists and psychologists can give governments access to the kind of data that can inform the way they think about policy and happiness. In our new book, The Origins of Happiness: The Science of Well-Being Over the Life Course, my colleagues and I provide a systematic account of what makes for a satisfying life.
For The Origins of Happiness, my colleagues and I analyzed a large amount of survey data from around the developed world in order to document what determines life satisfaction over the life course. We found that income plays an important role in determining happiness—but it’s not as significant as people might think or expect. Highly important are social relationships, be they at home, in the workplace, or in the community…
Our research finds that mental illness explains more of the variation in happiness than physical illness. In the U.S., mental health problems, including depression and anxiety, are a major cause of suffering. Yet many can be treated, for example, through evidence-based psychological therapy. Public health spending on mental illness is therefore not a luxury, but a necessity."
Source: "Why Americans Score Lower on Happiness Every Year – and What to Do About It," by George Ward, Yes! Magazine, March 20, 2018
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