Friday, June 7, 2013

Freakonomics & Happiness

Husband & I @ College Graduation

Over the last 6 months or so, I've become a pretty hardcore podcast listener. A while ago, I listened to one done by the Freakonomics Podcast called Women are Not Men and - being the feminist that I am - it really struck a chord with me. It was in no way sexist (in my opinion), it simply looked into the ways men and women are different. One part in particular left me wanting more - beginning at around the 26 minute mark - exploring women's happiness.

They looked at two studies - one done 40 years ago and one now - looking at reported levels of happiness of men and of women.

What they found was surprising...

In 1970, women reported higher levels of life satisfaction than men, and today men report higher levels of life satisfaction than women. 


So then we ask ourselves what has changed. A lot, right? Like whoa, a lot. 
Women's lives, options, abilities have changed a ton in our social structure over the last 40 years.

Previous studies have shown a correlation between higher levels of income and happiness, so then, one question they ask is,"why, when women are making more money than ever, are they less happy?" We don't have a concrete answer - only speculation.

There are other questions that arise after this, and I am more of an asker than an answerer. Are women really less happy? Does it maybe just look like we're less happy because men are more happy? Do we have higher expectations now than 40 years ago? If yes, does this lead to greater disappointment, and therein, less happiness/life satisfaction?

On my drive home the other day, I got to thinking about where I am in life, the women I'm surrounding myself with - particularly in the blogging community (hey, behappy-ers!) -, how they're an inspiration to me, and how we are all seeking one thing above all else; Happiness.

One of the things they touched on in the podcast was that in order for women to become happier (again?), maybe we should try to figure out whats really important to us and let other things slide.

While I'm not necessarily a fan of letting anything slide - Hi, my name is Alyssa and I'm a control freak - one of the things I've learned in yoga is letting go of the outcome. Plus, I've been thinking a lot about the sacrosanctal yoga perspective, which basically allows us to accept life as it is in its completion in the present and appreciate love and beauty in all things. It can be very positive and empowering. The flip side of that is - if our expectations are raised - why is it not okay to want more?

I feel like I sort of fell down the rabbit hole in this post. There is so much pondering still left to do, but the most important thing remains;

I am happy, and I will continue to seek happiness everyday through whatever means I see fit - play, exercise, meditation, or otherwise - and I hope you will too. 

This is a linkup. Check out these amazing and inspiring ladies on their own happiness journeys.

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