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Psychological Foundations of Happiness - Part III

Mental Health

Various studies have found that happiness relates more strongly to people's mental health than it does to their objective physical health; that is their health as assessed independently by a doctor (Martin, 2006, P. 105).


Recreation can make people happy, and it is very important because recreation contrary to our communications, job and personality is under our own control (Argyle, 2004).


Travel can be a source of great joy, broadening our experience of other lives and cultures, making us more adventurous and empathetic, and allowing us the chance to be caught up in flow activities. According to psychologists, there are seven socio-psychological benefits in travel; they are: 1) Exploration and evaluation of self, 2) Relaxation, 3) Escape from a perceived mundane environment, 4) prestige, 5) Regression to a childlike, Playful state, 6) Enhancement of kind relationships, 7) Facilitation of social interaction (Hoggard, 2005, P. 167).


Argyle (2004), according to the results of different researches, introduces humor as a source of happiness. It can have an important role in increasing social coherence. A laugher is expressing positive emotion. Humor has a causal impart on temper and happiness and it reduces the effect of stressors.

In studies of hundreds of adults, happiness was found to be related to humor. The ability to laugh, whether at life itself or at a good joke, is a source of life satisfaction. Indeed, those who enjoy silly humor are one-third more likely to feel happy. (Solomon1996; cited in Niven, 2000)

Your smile makes other people happy, which in turn makes you happy. (Niven, 2000)

Every day make for yourself some time to enjoy, to be silly, to laugh. (Niven, 2000)

Regularly having fun is one of the five factors in leading a satisfied life. Individuals who spend time just having fun are 20 percent more likely to feel happy and 36 percent more likely to feel comfort with their age and stage in life. (Lepper 1996; cited in Niven, 2000)

Self- efficacy and education

Happy people tend to feel more empowered and more in control of their lives than unhappy people do. They are also more likely to feel that they have the skills, knowledge and motivation to exert that control; a sense that psychologists refer to as self-efficacy. Research shows that young people who report feeling high self-efficacy are happier on average. Education obviously has a major role to play in developing self-efficacy and a sense of control (Martin, 2006, PP. 5556).

Do not write yourself off. If you do not believe in yourself, you will not be able to function. (Niven, 2000)

Across all ages and all groups, a solid belief in one's own abilities increases life satisfaction by about 30 percent, and makes us happier both in our home lives and in our work lives. (Myers and Diener 1995; cited in Niven, 2000)

Believing in yourself means thinking you are a capable person, not that you will never make a mistake. Do not think that because you are a talented person you cannot learn from others or you should never be criticized or that others want to know how highly you think of yourself. (Niven, 2000)

In studies on married couples, a significant connection is found between rigidity in one partner and discord in the relationship. Where one partner is convinced he or she is correct and therefore not open to suggestion, the length of time disagreements continue is about three times as great. (Botwin, Buss, and Shackelford 1997; cited in Niven, 2000)

When things go peppery, we sometimes start a list of ways we failed, ways we caused the problem. This kind of thinking not only can upset us, but it also can keep us away from being able to function. The truth is that any situation is the result of some things that are in your control and some things that are out of your control. Do not delude yourself into thinking a bad situation that is completely of your making. Remember, it makes more sense to deal with outcomes than with faults. (Niven, 2000)

Happiness does not depend on how bad happen to an individual. What is more important is whether an individual tends to make negative conclusions about him or herself when negative events occur. Individuals who think of themselves as the case of negative events are 43 percent less likely to be satisfied than those who do not. (Panos 1997; cited in Niven, 2000)

We need self-reinforcement, a belief in ourselves that is strong and unwavering. Be ready to pick yourself up when you are feeling down. (Niven, 2000)

The tendency to reinforce one's own self-confidence improves life satisfaction by about 20 percent for both men and women. (Seybolt and Wagner 1997; cited in Niven, 2000)

Love of learning

Someone who loves learning for its own sake, and therefore continues to learn throughout his life, is much better equipped to be happy, healthy and successful than someone whose learning, gland withers the day he leaves school. A love of learning remains central to happiness and health throughout the lifespan, including in old age (Martin, 2006. P. 208).

Social and emotional competency

One of the characteristics of happy people is having at least moderate levels of social and emotional competence. To be happy, one needs basic social skills to form and maintain personal relationships, together with the emotional literacy to understand and deal effectively with his or her own feelings and other people's (Martin, 2006, P.30).

Take the time to help, comfort, or just be with those you care about when they are in need. You will feel good about your efforts, and it will bring you an even closer relationship. (Niven, 2000)

The need for support or the number of problems individuals face is a less strong predictor of their happiness than the amount of support available to them. (Jou and Fukada 1997; cited in Niven, 2000)


It can be concluded from this research that according to 'slam. Muslim and non-Muslim, Iranian and non Iranian, ancient and modern philosophers all over the world, whose viewpoints were investigated in this hook, and all psychological researches stated in this research, spirituality and morality cause humans to reach happiness. In more concrete terms, they all believe that moral virtues, righteousness, wisdom and knowledge have a very definite and certain influence in leading human beings to happiness. The Qur'an and the Islamic traditions emphasize the role of faith. righteous deeds, fearing of God, and patience and endurance against hardships in leading man to feel happy.

Most of philosophers believe that these characteristics have a very high impact on man's happiness. Therefore, we should come to know that it is impossible for us to achieve happiness unless we acquire such properties, which means that other worldly and abject things cannot take man to happiness, although some humans may mistake their superficial and sensory pleasures for original and stable happiness. It can also be deduced that one of the most important aims of man's creation is the getting to happiness. Thus, religion and philosophy have confirmed it as the goal of man's creation, and have specified given methods for taking humans to that goal. In other words, reaching happiness is possible for man but through particular ways and methods.

Happiness is movements in the way that gets to the purpose for which we have been created, that is man's perfection which in itself can cause happiness, and the happiness in turn is of the highest ranks of perfection and elevation.

There is a close relationship between knowledge, beauty, goodness and happiness. The more man reaches to knowledge, beauty and goodness, the happier he will be and the happier he is, the more he will reach to knowledge, beauty, and goodness.

All religion and philosophy can he summarized in knowledge, beauty and goodness. Thus, through a real religiosity in the real sense of the word, one can reach to happiness. In other words, religiosity can take man to happiness which is based on knowledge and philosophy. There are some characteristics which whatever they increase, the happiness will be increased as well, such as moral virtues. goodness and righteousness. However, there are some other things that whatever they increase, man's happiness is not necessarily increased, such as money and wealth that possessing an average of them is sufficient, It can also be deduced from this book that there is nothing more important in leading man to happiness than knowledge and cognition, because if there is a real knowledge in a person, there will be all the good characteristics such as religiosity, morality and spirituality in him as well, i.e. those factors which can definitely cause happiness.

Happiness is the best standard and Criteria in judgment about the individuals' personalities and behaviors. That is, if a person has not yet attained happiness, his personality and behavior are not completely confirmable.

Unconfirmable grief and sorrows are the definite symptoms of spirit and soul illness, i.e. the person has serious problems in those factors which can cause happiness in him, that is, morel virtuous, religiosity, etc. Therefore, he or she soon tries to solve the problems and move on the desirable route.

We can see that happiness is not in searching for the external factors, rather it exists in the internal factors which are mostly in man's ability to acquire them without paying a high price and cost.

When man reaches as position on which he is as he should be, and he behaves as it deserves, and he sees the universe as it is, he well be happy in such a status. So happiness is hidden in gaining a philosophical insight to the being and universe, and is obtained through nurturing different aspects of the individual's personality and nature, and so it is quite consistent with man's nature and personality, and it differs materially with artificial and superficial pleasures. Making other people happy can cause us to be happy or our happiness to be increased, and it is of the signs of a person who has reached happiness that he wishes to make other people happy.

As we should consider the factors which can cause hum being's happiness, we should also pay attention to those factors which can cause the peoples' sorrows and grief and according to the viewpoints of religious text and philosophers, these are: unbelief, sin, wrongdoing.

We should also know this fact that those who can reach happiness that want knowledge, morality, etc, because these things are respectful and important in themselves, not they want to use these thing to as tools for reaching fame, money, etc.

Most of philosophers also believe that: spiritual and intellectual pleasures are much higher than sensory pleasures, humans should live in such a manner that they can reach happiness, no pleasure is comparable to reaching God, human beings reach recognition of God when they are free from flaunting and seeking fame. Recognition of God is the highest happiness. The final happiness for Humans in the hereafter through observing religious teachings, happiness is highest possible thing for human being; happiness is in the perfection of man's speculative and practical powers. This is also all that the results of the most recent psychological researches about happiness show: the improvement of religious, moral and scientific attitude and behavior could have relationship with an increase in happiness or can cause an increase in it. Thus, it is up to all of people not to mistake happiness for superficial pleasures and not to seek happiness from worldly and material affaires. The people of the world should try to avoid differences by trying to seek and reach the real happiness which is the shared aim of all human beings.

Considering the religious and philosophical viewpoints, confirm this fact that knowledge, religiosity, morality and spirituality have a very important role in leading humans to happiness. Therefore, religious, moral and spiritual education, or education in general, play a crucial role in creating and increasing happiness in individuals and society. Thus it is suggested, according to the results of this research, that much more attention to be paid to education if we want to have happier students and finally happier people, i.e. educational goals, teaching evaluation methods, educational contents, educational spaces, communications, etc. to be formulated in such a manner that increase the happiness in students and decrease grief and sorrow in society. It is also suggested to the future researchers to investigate each of these issues, i.e. educational goals, teaching methods, evaluations, contents, spaces, etc. to what extent have had influence on increasing or decreasing happiness in students and it is also suggested to investigate about this fact that what educational things have impact on increasing and decreasing the students' happiness, and have educational goals, contents, etc. be formulated so that the happiness of the students may be increased.

Adapted from the book: "Foundations of Happiness"

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