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The secret to happiness: don't date a neurotic or worry about your career, go to church and stay thin



By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 4:57 PM on 8th October 2010



article-1318909-08C9F3E5000005DC-330_233x390.jpg Secret to happiness: Experts have come up with a simple formula for those in search of inner calm


Forget the self-help books and stay away from chocolate - according to scientists, the true secret to happiness lies elsewhere.

Experts have now come up with a simple formula for those in search of inner calm.

According to their research, people who go to church, stay thin, avoid worrying about their careers and have emotionally stable partners should be well on their way to achieving the sought-after state of mind.

Challenging the theory that an individual's long-term happiness depends on their genes, a group from the University of Melbourne, in Australia, found changes in lifestyle led to significant long-term changes in general satisfaction.

Bruce Headey, an associate professor at the university, questioned people in Germany about their jobs, social lives and religious activities during a 25-year period.

Initially, some 3,000 people responded to their surveys but towards the end of the period, this figure stood at 60,000.

The findings showed one of the biggest influences on a person's well-being was their partner's level of neuroticism.

The research found those with partners who scored highly on tests for neuroticism were more likely to be unhappy - something which tended to last as long as the particular relationship.


A long-term increase in general satisfaction was also observed among those who placed significant weight on family values and altruistic behaviour.

Having strong religious views also played an important role.

'People who attend church regularly seem to be happier than people who are not religious,' Prof Headey said.

However the scientists found those who prioritised their jobs and material success were less content than their peers and experienced a lasting decline in happiness.

Weight was also highlighted as an important factor - particularly among women who reported being significantly less happy when they were obese.

Men were less content when they were underweight than when they were at a healthier levels, the study found.

The group of scientists believe their findings could be applied to other populations, having found similar results - which are as yet unpublished - in the UK and Australia.



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1318909/The-secret-happiness-dont-date-neurotic-worry-career-church-stay-thin.html#ixzz11nDaVmIq

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