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什么令我们真正快乐?

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In recent years, researchers have attempted to use a variety of statistics and surveys to answer a question that's occupied countless generations of philosophers: What makes us truly happy?

近年来,研究人员试图利用各种统计和调查方法去回答一个困扰了无数代哲人的问题:是什么令我们真正感到快乐?

While some evidence suggests that happiness may be linked, in part, to relative wealth--how we're doing compared to those around us--overall the old adage that money doesn't buy happiness seems to hold true.

虽然一些证据表明,快乐也许在某种程度上与相应的财富有关,我们的所作所为与我们周边的事物相比较——总体来说,那句古老的格言“金钱买不来快乐”似乎是正确的。

"We are materially so much better off than we were 50 years ago, but we're not one iota happier," says Chris Peterson, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan.

“我们在物质上比50年前要好上许多倍,但是我们丝毫没有感到更快乐,”密歇根大学的心理学教授克里斯•彼得斯这样评价。

That's no surprise to happiness expert David Myers, who sees happiness as more closely correlated with people rather than things. "We humans have a deep need to belong to connect with others in close, supportive, intimate, caring relationships," he says. "People who have such close relationships are more likely to report themselves 'very happy'."

这对于快乐专家大卫 •梅尔斯来说一点儿也不奇怪,他认为快乐与人本身紧密相连,程度远胜于和事物之间的联系。“我们人类对于归属感有深层的需要——与他人接触时保持紧密的、相互支持的、亲密无间以及相互关怀的关系,”他说,“拥有如此紧密关系的人们更有可能称他们自己是‘非常快乐的’。”

We've compiled a list of seven factors that influence rates of happiness and depression. Many of these factors vary from city to city and region to region. Here's your chance to see how your city compares.

我们汇编了7种对快乐或沮丧程度有影响的要素。许多要素因城市和地区的差异而有所不同。现在你有机会看看你所在的城市对应着多少幸福。

1.Happily Married 幸福的婚姻

Is getting married one of the keys to a happy life? A report from the Pew Research Center suggests so--43 percent of married women and men reported being "very happy", while only 24 percent of unmarried men and women said the same.

结婚是快乐生活的关键之一吗?佩尤研究中心的一份报告暗示了此点——43%的已婚人士表示他们“非常幸福”,而在未婚人士中这一比率仅为24%。

Interestingly enough, the happy halo that shines over married couples isn't the result of having kids--those with children were just as likely to be happy as those without.

十分有趣的是,萦绕在已婚夫妇身上的幸福光环并非是拥有孩子带来的结果——有孩子的夫妇可能与没有孩子的夫妇一样幸福。

Rather, there seems to be something about marriage itself that boosts both men's and women's feelings of well-being in life.

更确切地说,似乎是婚姻本身刺激了男性和女性生活幸福安康的感觉。

"Recent research suggests that people become less depressed and less lonely after they get married," says Linda Waite, a sociology professor at the University of Chicago and author of The Case for Marriage.

“最近的研究暗示,人们在结婚后变得不再忧郁,孤独感也逐渐减少,”芝加哥大学的社会学教授、《结婚问题》的作者琳达•怀特如是说。

After all, it's harder to be lonely when you've got a loved one to come home to every night.

毕竟,当你拥有一位每天晚上都回家的甜蜜爱人时,很难会感到孤独的。

According to Waite, men benefit even more than women from having a life-long companion. "Women will talk to everyone," says Waite, "But most men tend to rely on their wives as their main confidant."

根据怀特的研究,男性从一生的伴侣中受益的程度要远胜于女性。“女性会向所有的人倾诉,”怀特说,“但是大多数男性喜欢向妻子倾诉,把妻子当做主要的知己。”

In addition, women-typically the social planners in a relationship--ensure that the men stay connected to family and friends, another source of happiness.

另外,女性——典型的社交关系设计者——会保证男性与家庭和朋友之间密切相联,而这两者是快乐的另一源泉。

And what about all that nagging that wives are so famous for? Turns out it pays off. Men who are married drink less, smoke less, eat better, get more sleep, and engage in less risky behavior than their unmarried peers. The end result: Married men are healthier, and since health is linked to happiness, they're happier too.

那么主妇们名声赫赫的唠叨意味着什么呢?总结一句是付出总有回报。已婚男士比起单身贵族喝酒、抽烟都减少了,吃得更好了,睡眠更充分了,做冒险的事也少了。最终的结果是:已婚男士更加健康,而健康与快乐息息相关,于是他们更加快乐了。

2. He Works Hard for His Happiness 为了幸福,努力工作

Does working make you unhappy or happy? The answer: It depends. Toiling away at a job you hate may eat away at your happiness over time. But overall, being unemployed is worse for your state of mind than being employed--at least, that is, if you're a guy.

工作能为你带来幸福还是不幸?答案是:视情况而定。埋头苦干一项你痛恨的工作可能会逐渐侵蚀你的快乐。但是总体来说,失业比不失业更影响一个人的精神状态——至少,换句话说,如果你是个男性的话。

The Pew Research Center found that the percentage of men who said they were "very happy" was significantly lower for unemployed men (16 percent) than for employed men (37 percent). Unemployment had little impact on women's happiness.

佩尤研究中心(Pew Research Center)发现失业男性说他们“非常快乐”的比率(16%)要远低于从业男性(37%)。然而,失业对于女性快乐指数的影响微乎其微。

The Pew researchers speculate that this is because more women than men are unemployed by choice, although the study didn't attempt to tease apart that difference.

佩尤的研究人员推测,那是因为比起男性,更多的女性选择赋闲在家,尽管该研究并不想对这种差别进行嘲讽。

Chris Peterson, a happiness researcher at the University of Michigan, suspects there are other factors at play as well. "Other studies have found that if a man loses his job, it can have both short-term and long-term psychological effects, even if he finds another job with equal salary," he says. "For women it's not unemployment that leads to unhappiness, but divorce."

密歇根大学的快乐问题研究专家克里斯•彼得斯猜想应该还有其他要素在起作用。“其他的研究发现,如果一名男性丢掉了他的工作,即使他找到了相同薪水的另一份工作,都可能给他带来短期和长期的心理影响,”他指出,“对女性来说,导致不快乐的因素并非失业,而是离婚。”

In addition, Peterson stresses that money matters less than you'd think. "The engaged custodian is more likely to be happy than the independently wealthy, unengaged millionaire," he says. "We didn't evolve to be retired and sit on the couch."

此外,彼得斯强调金钱对幸福的影响不像人们想象的那么大。他声称,“忙碌的管理者可能比独立富有的、无所事事的百万富翁更加快乐。我们进化不是为了自己闲下来或躺在沙发上享受。”

3. Time for Family,Friends,and Community 与家人的天伦之乐、与好友的相聚、交往

In the growing field of happiness research, one thing is overwhelmingly clear. People who are socially engaged are more likely to be happy--and less likely to be depressed--than those who aren't.

在不断增长的快乐研究领域里,有一件事情是绝对清楚的。忙碌于社会交往的人们比起那些没有社交的人们多些快乐,少些忧郁。

In fact, Time Magazine poll found that the four most significant sources of happiness—children (77 percent), friendships (76 percent), contributing to the lives of others (75 percent), and spouse/partner (73 percent)—all involved spending meaningful time with other people.

实际上,《时代》杂志民意调查发现了快乐的4个最重要来源——孩子(77%)、友谊(76%)、为他人奉献(75%)以及配偶或伴侣(73%),都涉及与他人共享美好时光这一点。

The problem: "We're so caught up with extraordinary work burdens, we don't have time to enjoy the people we love or contribute to the lives of others," says Post.

问题是:“我们的工作负担如此沉重,我们没有时间与所爱的人享受共度时光的乐趣,也没有时间为他人奉献。” 波斯特说道。

That time crunch is quite real, says John de Graaf, president of the public policy organization Take Back Your Time. "Compared to 30 years ago, the average family now spends an extra 500 hours per year working outside the home."

公共政策组织“找回你的时光”的负责人约翰•德•格拉夫说时间短缺带来的危机是千真万确的,“与30年前相比较,平均每个家庭现在每年多花500个小时在工作上。

We're also spending more time getting to work and back.

我们也花了更多的时间往返于工作和回家的路上。

"Traffic is getting worse and we're not investing in mass transit," says de Graaf. "Most of the data I've seen shows that we've doubled our average commute times in the past generation."

“交通变得越来越糟糕,而我们没有在大众交通上投资,”德•格拉夫说,“我所看到的大多数据显示我们平均每天花在往返上下班的时间比上一代翻了一番。”

Obviously, it depends on where you live--and where you work. Those most impacted: affluent families who chose even larger homes over living closer to work, and younger families who are priced out of homes of any size closer to centers of employment.

显然,这取决于你住在何处,以及你在哪里工作。最受影响的人群:为了住大一些的房子而宁愿离工作地点远一些的富裕家庭,以及被办公中心附近高昂的房价挤到偏远处居住的年轻家庭。

4. How Happy Is Your City? Good Urban Design 你所在的城市有多幸福?良好的城市规划

What does urban design have to do with happiness? More than you might think.

城市规划与幸福有多大关系? 远胜于你所能想到的。

"The data strongly suggests that real community and real friendships are important keys to happiness," says Post. "Some cities make that possible in ways that others don't."

“有数据强烈显示真正的社区和真正的友谊是幸福的关键,”波斯特说,“一些城市做到了,而有些城市并未做到。”

Post explains how urban design can facilitate social interaction--or work against it.

波斯特解释了城市规划能够促进社会交互影响——或者起反作用。

"Forty years ago, neighborhoods had sidewalks, front porches, and parks-geographical opportunities for people to be socially engaged," he says. "In many communities today, we are lacking these things. We don't know our neighbors anymore. We just get into our car pods and never see anyone. We no longer have the opportunity to stumble upon happiness by being good neighbors in our communities."

“40年前,街区附近有人行道、前廊和公园——为人们从事社交提供了地理条件,”他说,“而今在许多社区里,我们缺少这些设施。我们与邻居互不相识。我们只是钻进了车厢里看不见任何人。我们再也没有机会因为在社区中遇到了好邻居而偶遇快乐。”

Good urban design and effective mass transportation can also determine how much time we spend commuting to work, and how much time we spend behind the wheel of a car running errands—both of which ultimately impact the amount of time we have for joyfully engaging with friends, family, and community.

良好的城市规划和高效的大众交通也能够决定我们花在工作往返途中的时间,以及我们办事时花在开车上的时间——两者都将最终影响我们与朋友、家庭和邻里之间共度的快乐时光有多长。

5. Giving for Your Own Good 乐善好施

This may come as a surprise to the "Me Generation," but happiness doesn't come from living in a big house, buying the latest techno-gadget, and getting stamps from exotic locales in your passport.

这也许对“80后(Me Generation)”的人来说是不可思议的,但是快乐并非来自于住大房子,购买最新的科技产品,以及在你的护照上盖上充满异国情调的章。

In fact, a poll by Time Magazine found that helping others was a major source of happiness for 75 percent of Americans.

事实上,《时代》杂志民意调查发现,对于75%的美国人来说,帮助别人是快乐的主要来源。

"Volunteering is an opportunity to be socially engaged and contribute to the lives of others,” says Stephen Post, a professor at Case Western Reserve University who co-authored the book Why Good Things Happen to Good People with Jill Neimark. “It's not material goods that make us happy--it's having purpose and meaning in our lives."

“志愿活动为社会交往和奉献他人提供了机会,”美国凯斯西保留地大学的教授、与吉尔•莱马克合著《好事为何青睐好人》的作者斯蒂芬•波斯特说,“物质财富并不能为我们带来快乐——生活有目的、有意义才使我们快乐。”

In fact, some recent research suggests that we're actually hard-wired for helping. Even thinking about helping others is enough to stimulate the part of our brain associated with feel-good chemicals like oxytocin.

事实上,最近的一些研究表明,我们实际上有帮助别人的本能。即使只是想象着帮助别人就已经足以刺激我们大脑某些部位,那些部位会产生让人感觉良好的化学成分,比如说后叶催产素(脑下垂体后叶荷尔蒙的一种)。

Helping others doesn't just make us happier, there's also evidence it makes us healthier too. "Recent research out of England shows that cities with higher rates of volunteerism had the lower rates of depression and heart disease," says Post.

帮助别人并非仅仅让我们更加快乐,有迹象显示,它还能让我们更加健康。“最近英格兰的一项研究显示,那些志愿者比率较高的城市抑郁症和心脏病的发病率较低。” 波斯特说。

Don't have a lot of free time? No worries. People who volunteer just two hours per week (100 hours per year) enjoy lower rates of depression and better physical health.

没有许多空余时间?别担心。参加志愿活动的人们每周只须花费2个小时的时间(每年100个小时),就可以免抑郁症的困扰,并且拥有更健康的身体。

6. As Long As You Have Your Health 只要拥有健康

Perhaps it comes as no surprise to find that healthier people are happier than those who aren't as healthy. In fact, a report published by the Pew Research Center found that 48 percent of people who rated their health as "excellent" described themselves as "very happy", while only 15 percent of those who rated their health as "poor" said the same.

当你发现健康的人们比那些失去健康的人们更加快乐时,你也许一点都不觉得奇怪。事实上,佩尤研究中心发行的一份报告发现,说自己健康状况“很好”的人们中有48%的人描述自己“很快乐”,而在那些说自己健康状况“很差”的人们中这一比例只有15%。

After all, it's harder to be happy when living with chronic pain or illness or when faced with a potentially life-threatening condition.

毕竟,当人们长期受到病痛的折磨时,或者面临着潜在的危及生命的状态时,是很难快乐起来的。

While health is strongly tied to happiness, lack of health is even more strongly correlated with lack of happiness. Of those who rated their health as "poor", a whopping 55 percent described themselves as "not too happy", while only 6 percent of those in "excellent" health said the same.

虽然健康与快乐的联系紧密,但是缺少健康与失去快乐的联系或许更加紧密。对于那些说自己的健康状况“很差”的人们,称自己“不太快乐”的人的比例多达55%,而那些“非常”健康的人们中这一比例只有6%。

According to the Pew Research Center, health--along with religion and marriage--were among the strongest predictors of happiness, even when adjusting for a variety of other variables.

根据佩尤研究中心的调查,健康,连同宗教和婚姻——是快乐的最佳预言者,即便是有其他可变因素在起作用。

7. Let the Sunshine In 让阳光进来

The region of the country you live in can impact your risk of suffering from depression--at least from November through April.

你所居住的国家和地区可能会给你带来抑郁的痛苦——至少从头年的11月到来年的4月。

That's because those living in the northern part of the country are more at risk of suffering from seasonal affective disorder, a form of clinical depression brought on in the winter months by the shortening of the days and the later sunrise.

这是因为居住在北方的人们更可能受季节影响造成情绪紊乱,临床上表现为一种抑郁症,是由冬日里白天较短、日照较晚而带来的病症。

"In the United States, SAD is about five times more prevalent in the northern tier of states than in the far south," says Dr. Michael Terman, Director of the Center for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms at the Columbia University Medical Center.

哥伦比亚大学医疗研究中心光照治疗和生物节律中心的主任,指出:“在美国,SAD(季节性情绪紊乱)在北部各州发生的比例是最南部各州的5倍。”

But SAD is just the tip of the iceberg, explains Terman. "Less severe 'winter doldrums' occur at least three times more frequently than winter depression. Even more people experience one or more symptoms of winter depression--such as overeating or oversleeping--even though their mood stays under control."

但是SAD(季节性情绪紊乱)只是冰山一角,特曼解释说。“稍逊严重的‘冬季消沉'比冬季抑郁发生的频率至少多3倍。然而更多的人经历了一次或多次的冬季抑郁症状——譬如吃得过多或睡得过多——尽管他们的情绪处于控制之中。”

Whatever the degree of impairment, symptoms tend to resolve in the spring. "Certainly there is no lack of happiness up north for the six months from May to October," Terman says.

无论受伤害的程度有多深,到了春季,各种症状就逐渐消失了。“当然对于北部的人们来说,5~10月的6个月里是不缺少快乐的。”特曼说道。

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