Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Great report.  Lots of quotable parts.

Boosting happiness or life satisfaction is not easy. Psychologists,
philosophers, economists and many others have explored this
question intensively over recent years. According to Lyubomirsky et
al. (2005) a part of happiness appears to be genetically determined
(around 50%), another part determined by happiness-relevant activities
(40%) and the remainder by circumstances (income, climate,
environment, stable democracy etc.).

"50% of happiness is genetically determined"...Half of my (possibility for) happiness is reliant on genes?  (Is that a misreading?)  I don't know what that means or implies.  (It sounds a lot.)


Start a new exercise program
Be kind to others
Foster intimate relationships
Count your blessings
See things in a positive light
Set yourself meaningful goals
Work in a challenging job
Add variety to your life
Develop your personality

Table 15
shows how much individuals value certain activities and how much
time they spend on them: socialising after work, for example, has a
net average value of 4.12 (on a scale of 0 to 6) and people spend
more than one hour daily on it. Commuting to work and working
itself rank at the bottom of this list

(My emphasis.)

At the end we get:

Some of the policy conclusions drawn by researchers in the happiness
field differ significantly from those in standard economics.

1. Measure well-being. To know what is important and to be able
to influence it, societies have to measure well-being, happiness
and their components.
2. Reduce unemployment. Unemployment has a major negative
effect on well-being both for those directly affected and for all
other citizens.
3. Foster happiness-boosting use of time. People tend to work
too much because they overestimate the impact of income on
happiness. Taxing income improves work-life balances, although
it is unlikely that the optimal tax rate lies above those in continental
4. Strengthen civil society and active citizenship, participation
and engagement. Foster interaction among friends and family;
contain geographic relocation, which hurts social interaction with
friends and neighbours.
5. Limit materialistic advertisement. Research shows that people
who watch a lot of TV feel poorer. Comparison with the pretty,
successful and happy but artificial individuals in commercials
makes one's own weaknesses visible - especially for children
and teenagers. Sweden has banned advertisements targeted at
children below 12 years of age.
6. Focus the health sector on complete health. The WHO defines
health as "a state of complete physical, mental and social
well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity".
This includes a stronger focus on mental illness and on longevity.

Could anyone from Sweden report back on number 5?  Have studies been undertaken?  

(I wonder if Sweden has seen a drop in the sale of certain types of toys and food products?  I'm thinking of plastic toys, sweets, and fizzy pop.)

Great find, Jerome.  Thanks.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Sep 20th, 2006 at 09:33:09 AM EST

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