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The international 2017 Happiness Report ranked Israel as the 11th happiest country in the world. According to the Happiness Report, in the pursuit of happiness, the Israelis are not doing bad at all. A few years ago, an Israeli TV show decided to examine the aspects of happiness to find the way to be happy in only six lessons. Here they are (plus Hebrew subtitles):
Lesson #1 – money (כֶּסֶף)
It’s a well-known fact that money can’t buy you love, friends, health or satisfaction. Money does give you some moments of pleasure, but those pleasant moments pass real fast. According to researchers, enough money for food, shelter, clothing and education is enough money in order to be happy [In Israel this amount is around 15,000 NIS a month for an average family of two kids]. Any Shekel more won’t make you happier. Too much money can even ruin the happiness, if one is obsessively thinking about money and profits. In a nutshell – invest in experiences, not in products.
Lesson #2 – job (עֲבוֹדָה)
Studies show that people who work live longer, fall sick less, and feel more satisfied. No wonder 9 out of 10 people who win the lottery keep working. It is passion that wakes them up every morning and sends them out to work. But be aware – overwork increases the chances of heart attack.
Lesson #3 – children (יְלָדׅים)
Raising children is hard work. It requires a lot of money, time, and patience; and when they’re laying down in the middle of the mall screaming, it’s hard to find pleasure in this moment. Nonetheless they are a great source of happiness to their parents, because they provide a sense of meaning to their life. And happiness is the equivalent of little pleasures with great meaning.
Lesson #4 – health (בְּרִיאוּת)
It is possible to be happy even when you’re sick. The secret is to think about the future. The present moment could be painful, but if you’re thinking about the future and setting goals for yourself, you can feel satisfied and capable.
Lesson #5 – love (אַהֲבָה)
Apparently love and marriage are the secret to happiness! Recent studies show that married people are happier. This is especially true for men; married men live longer than unmarried men. Not only love and marriage, but also affection and friendship affect happiness levels. People who spend more time with friends are also happier. People who care about someone – or something: a pet, a plant etc. – live longer. Because the person or object they care about fills their life with meaning.
Want to find love in Israel? Read this post.
Lesson #6 – luck (מַזָּל)
People that believe they have control over their destiny are more likely to succeed in life. We don’t really control everything, but we can act to bring luck into our life. If we believe in our good luck, we increase our chances for good luck to come. For example, create opportunities to meet new people, apply for good jobs, try new experiences, etc. Israelis that believe in נְבוּאָה שֶׁמַּגְשׁׅימָה אֶת עַצְמָהּ (self-fulfilling prophecy) are consistently aware that bad words, weak thoughts and low self-esteem could hurt themselves.
In summary, pleasure and fun are important, but not enough to be happy. Happiness is the sum of pleasure plus meaning. To add meaning to one’s life, one should work for it: find a satisfying job, spend time with loved ones, and believe in yourself.
Happiness = אוֺשֶׁר
Happy = מְאוּשָּׁר
Research, study = מֶחְקָר
According to researches = עַל פּׅי מֶחְקָרׅים
Studies show = מֶחְקָרׅים מַרְאׅים
Self-fulfilling prophecy = נְבוּאָה שֶׁמַּגְשׁׅימָה אֶת עַצְמָהּ
Money = כֶּסֶף
Job = עֲבוֹדָה
Children = יְלָדׅים
Health = בְּרִיאוּת
Love = אַהֲבָה
Luck = מַזָּל
For advance reading in Hebrew about the Israeli happiness level check out this article:
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