20 May Happiness…even the Chairman of the US Federal Reserve is talking about it!
Bernanke on the economics of happiness – from the Examiner
Last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke addressed the graduating class of 2010 at the University of South Carolina. In an effort to be more interesting than financial economics, Bernanke_ã_s specialty, might allow, the Chairman instead spoke on the economics of happiness.
More specifically, Bernanke addressed the question, _ã–If, as your parents always told you, money doesn_ã_t buy happiness, then what factors do contribute to life satisfaction?_ã The implication of this question, that money doesn_ã_t buy happiness, is well supported by economic data. Bernanke responded to his question with four main responses. First, _ã–happy people tend to spend time with friends and family and put emphasis on social and community relationships._ã Second, a feeling called _ãÄflow_ã_, or participating in activities that are so engrossing you totally lose track of time. Third, _ã–happy people feel in control of their own lives,_ã but also _ã–cultivate the flexibility to accept unexpected change with equanimity._ã And finally, _ã–happiness can be promoted by fighting the natural human tendency to become entirely adapted to your circumstances,_ã or by remaining _ã–aware of the fortunate aspects of [our] lives, offsetting the natural human tendency to take those things for granted after a while._ã
These four sources of happiness, relationships, flow, control and gratitude, are also well supported by research data. In turn, Bernanke suggests that individuals can improve their happiness by taking time for family and friends, picking up new hobbies, setting and striving for challenging goals and keeping a gratitude journal.
Policymakers should be mindful of these discovered sources of human happiness in policy creation, in keeping with the Declaration of Independence_ã_s claim of the _ãÄPursuit of Happiness_ã_ as an unalienable right of mankind…