Just want to share with everyone these intriguing research findings that are hot from the stove: Don’t Worry, Be (Moderately) Happy.

In short, the researchers, from the University of Virginia, the University of Illinois and Michigan State University, found out that people at the uppermost end of the happiness scale (i.e. those who report that they are 10s on a 10-point life satisfaction score) are in some measures worse off than their slightly less elated counterparts (those who are 8 or 9 out of 10).

There is a common assumption that happiness generally correlates with all kinds of positive measures. Which means that the happier you are, the more successful you are in terms of money, employment and relationships. But the research team predicted that mildly happy people may be more successful in some realms than those who are very happy, based on the idea that the latter may be less inclined to alter their behavior or adjust to external changes even when such flexibility offers an advantage.

Indeed their research showed that the 10s earned significantly less money than the 8s and 9s. Their educational achievements and political engagement were also significantly lower than their moderately happy and happy-but-not-blissful counterparts.

In the more social realms, however, the 10s were the most successful, engaging more often in volunteer activities and maintaining more stable relationships. They also scored significantly higher on things like gregariousness, close friendships, self-confidence, energy and time spent dating. Reviews of studies linking health and emotions show that for people who have been diagnosed with serious illnesses, being extremely happy doesn’t always improve survival rates. This may be because the elated don’t worry enough about issues that can have profound implications for their ability to survive their illness.

This is very interesting, isn’t it? You must be wondering how happy you should be then. I think as long as you are an 8/9/10, you are doing fine. Don’t worry if you are a 10, cause that doesn’t mean that you will die earlier! In fact if you are a 10, you won’t be worrying about this cause you should be very optimistic and definitely not a worrier! Like what Ed Diener (Illinois psychology professor and author of the study) said:

If you’re worried about success in life, don’t be a 1, 2, 3 or 4 (on the 10-point scale). If you are unhappy or only slightly happy, you may need to seek help or read those self-help books or do something to make yourself happier. But if you’re a 7 or 8, maybe you’re happy enough!

Me? I think I’m an 8.5, so that makes me very rich and healthy in the future! 🙂