Richard Layard Stated “Happiness Comes from Outside and Within “. Explain This Statement, Drawing from Evidence from Chapters 3 and 5 of the Course.

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Essay ECA
Richard Layard stated “Happiness comes from outside and within “. Explain this statement, drawing from evidence from chapters 3 and 5 of the course.

What is happiness? – The Encarta Dictionary – describes happiness as “feeling or showing pleasure, contentment or joy “. In speaking of “from outside” Layard is referring peoples social identities, roles, group membership and the culture they live in. Whilst, in speaking of “within” Layard is referring to the brain/ biology, peoples thinking and feelings. This essay will attempt to explain some of these influences on happiness and ask whether its nature (biology/genes) or nurture (culture, relationships, past experiences) which has the greatest effect on levels of happiness. It has been found in many studies that optimists are healthier than pessimists – a positive outlook can have great influence on levels of happiness. For example In a study Toshihiko Maruta (2002) Spears et al – took a group of 839 patients and tested them to measure levels of happiness- by the year 2000 – 200 had died – those measured as optimists had a 19% greater longetivity than the pessimists. In another study - Martin Seligman (2005) Spears et al considered the effects of engendering an optimist outlook – in his study asked 577 people to write about a good experience and identify positive personal strengths – then to reflect on it daily for a week. Then he asked them to write down 3 things that went well in the day and reflect why. He found that this daily reflection had a positive effect on happiness levels over a sustained period of time for up to six months after the trial. In modern societies with all the complexities of choices available to people – the choices people make can be a source of stress and unhappiness. Barry Schwartz (2005) Spears et al - describes a group of people he terms as “maximisers” –these are people who obsessed about making the right/best choice every time – he contrasts these people with a...
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