The Mayo Clinic released the following announcement:

Who’s Happy and Why

Happiness can be measured — but not bought, according to the December
issue of Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource. Those are two observations
made by researchers as they studied well-being from the scientific
perspective — sociological, biological, genetic and psychological.

Age, genetics and a sense of purpose are significant factors in
happiness. Money? Not so much. Poverty is not conducive to happiness,
but once basic needs are met, income levels don’t change life
satisfaction much.

Among other highlights of the happiness research:

Midlife crisis: This plunge is real, no matter where you live or what
your circumstances. According to a study of about 2 million people in
nearly 80 countries, mental distress peaks at midlife. In the United
States, this typically happens for women at around age 40 and for men at
around age 50.

Golden years glow: Contentment swings up later in life. People in their
60s and 70s tend to be as satisfied as younger people. No one knows for
sure what causes the upswing. It could be acceptance of weakness, more
maturity or more appreciation for life as friends and loved ones die.
And, happier people may live longer, affecting the data.

Genetics: Numerous studies have shown that genetics accounts for up to
half of individual differences in both well-being and positive
personality traits, which are closely linked. And women tend to be
slightly happier than men.

Life circumstances: Regardless of genetics, people respond to life
events, and long-term levels of happiness may change after major life
events such as marriage, divorce or the death of a loved one.

Higher levels of education boost happiness. Social connectedness also
increases happiness. This factor may explain why women are happier (and
commit suicide less) than men, who are more likely to be socially
isolated, especially after they retire.

Health: People in excellent health are almost twice as likely to be
happier than those in merely good health. Poor health makes 70 percent
less likely to be happy, compared with those in good health. And, a
sense of well-being is linked to greater longevity and less risk of disease.

A happiness boost: Some researchers suggest focusing on intentional
activities, the ones you choose to engage in mindfully and actively, as
a good way to boost long-term happiness.

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