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I've always thought it was a combination.  Some people are just happy or unhappy and it doesn't seem much related to their situation.  I've noticed with myself that I seem to have an inexplicably cheery disposition.  Even when things are going to hell in a handbasket, I find myself having fun of some sort and then have to sort of reign myself in with "okay, this is serious now..."

But one thing that bothers me is people always bring up that money doesn't buy happiness.  Now, I know this to be true, but they usually use it to refute arguments that are saying the opposite -- the lack of money (or the resources to provide for yourself or family) certainly does cause unhappiness or downright misery.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 26th, 2006 at 04:05:16 PM EST
When I'm in work or dealing with other people in general I tend to be cheerful, smiley and generally good humoured.  I build up a great relationship with clients and their staff which really makes my day to day work more enjoyable (I'm an accountant).  I know that if I give them a call and am pleasant and they know they can be themselves with me that it in some way cheers them up and also makes me smile when I get off the phone...seratonin levels boosted on both sides I guess!  One colleague actually claims that I 'flirt' with one of the bank managers when I'm speaking to him on the phone.  All I do is chat while working through the more mundane tasks and if we have a laugh in there...all the better.  

I've always been a fairly cheerful person...but sometimes I can feel very down and feel like nothing can improve, that I'll never get past certain goals...and at the same time I know it's not true...and then there are times when I can be in such a great mood that I have to watch what I say because I know that my 'giddy' mood will probably let me say something I wouldn't normally say and I'll regret it...thankfully this does not happen when talking to clients!

I can see where the levels of seratonin etc could be a hereditary factor...but the experiences of life play a huge part in our levels of happiness.  Like a lot of other things in life I'd say it's a mix of everything that makes us who we are.

I agree...money doesn't buy happiness...but it certainly improves people's moods.  Just look at people before and after payday...specially in January. Our payday was yesterday...there were lots of special lunch treats and people meeting up with friends this evening and over the coming weekend...all conducive to creating happiness somewhere for some or all of them.

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. Oscar Wilde

by Sam on Thu Jan 26th, 2006 at 05:34:35 PM EST
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You're right -- laughter and happiness are contagious.  And it sounds like you and I should neve attend a serious seminar together! :-)

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 26th, 2006 at 06:13:27 PM EST
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I think it was Jerome who put it like this: laugher and friendly behaviour are karma. What you give, you receive in return. I think this was backed up by more psychological research, but perhaps whataboutbob or others could pitch in.
by Nomad (Bjinse) on Fri Jan 27th, 2006 at 08:38:52 AM EST
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I think you may be referring to "Smile!" or The virtue circle of positive feedback attitudes, a diary by Agnes...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 27th, 2006 at 08:43:23 AM EST
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Thanks for the link! (And sorry to Agnes... My head tends to clutter easily.)
by Nomad (Bjinse) on Fri Jan 27th, 2006 at 09:39:29 AM EST
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Not everything good coming from the aParis clan is by Jerome, you know?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 27th, 2006 at 09:41:32 AM EST
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