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How to be happy

By Steve Korver Thursday, August 15, 2013 - 21:44
Everyone has the urge to be happy. It explains the popularity of articles promising 10 easy steps to fulfilment. But who’s got time for exercise or volunteer work? Especially now that there’s a 7-minute quick fix. These news flashes and more in this week's ‘Sex in the Press’.

Happy Ending versus Happily-Ever-After

The definition of happiness differs from person to person – and depends on what sex you are, according to the book A Billion Wicked Thoughts – What the Internet Tells Us About Sexual Relationships.

Men are like the cartoon character Elmer Fudd: trying to shoot that darn wabbit, usually failing, but still happily willing to try and try again. This near-sightedness helps explain men’s love for porn. Women are more like the detective Miss Marple: watchful, patient and emotionally attuned. This long-game approach helps explain women’s love for romance novels.

“In the world of male fantasy—and male desire—the goal is orgasm. The story ends with a man’s climax, what masseuses call a ‘happy ending’. In romance, the happy ending (known as HEA or Happily-Ever-After) is usually a long-term monogamous relationship, usually marriage.”

But aren’t we all just looking to fuse the happy ending with the HEA?

Money = happiness?

Money did not buy any form of happiness for the man behind the story ‘Sex atop huge pile of money plan goes awry’.

“The victim believed he was meeting for a romantic encounter with a woman named ‘Geraldine’ he found on Badoo.com. As for the pile of cash, they came to an agreement it'd be $2,000."

Geraldine turned out to be two guys with a knife.

“To cap off the 22-year-old man's tale of woe, he had appropriated the $2,000 from the San Jose-area restaurant where he worked—and does no longer.”

The power of positive relationships

While money may not buy you happiness, surrounding yourself with healthy relationships may make you more money, according to ‘What are the Secrets to a Happy Life?.

The Harvard Grant Study has been following 268 men for the last 75 years to find out what are the key factors that make for a happy and healthy life. Conclusion: “happiness is love”.

Forget IQ or socio-economic background, it’s “one’s history of warm intimate relationships—and the ability to foster them in maturity—that predicted flourishing in all aspects of these men’s lives.”

“The 58 men with the best scores for warm relationships made an average of $243,000 a year; in contrast, the 31 men with the worst scores for relationships earned an average maximum salary of $102,000 a year.”

Rescue your relationship in just seven minutes

Sadly, the quality of long-term relationships tends to decrease over time. Passion fades. Bickering increases. We become less happy. But now there’s a quick-fix, according to ‘The 7-minute relationship rescuer’.

Researchers asked married people to take seven minutes to write in detail about the largest disagreement they had with their partner in the last four months. The subjects were told to look at the conflict from the perspective of a neutral third party.

“One of the most maddening things about fights with our partners is that it is very hard (sometimes impossible?!) to see the fight from any perspective other than our own self-absorbed point of view. […] This is why a fight with your partner often feelings like a psychological trap from which there's no escape.”

The results of the exercise was profound: “Couples who engaged in just 21 minutes of this conflict reappraisal writing showed less of a decline in marital quality over the second year of the study. The researchers also showed that people who did the writing were less distressed by their subsequent conflicts with their spouse, and this fact maintained their marital quality at a stable level over time.”

But yes, finding another 7-minutes to try a new sexual position may also help.

What are your secrets for happiness – or for a long and fulfilling relationship? Leave a comment below or join the discussion on Facebook.

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