Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Money Creates Happiness When You Give it Away

From The Money Student.
As Christmas season descends upon us like a swarm chattering reindeer, news becomes scarcer and scarcer. Universities close up shop until the new year, so researchers have fewer and fewer studies to release. I've had to scrounge extra hard to find the news today, and I suspect that this trend will continue over the next few weeks. I may have to take a break, simply because I have nothing to post!

That's why today's news is a little bit on the stale side, but what the heck, let's post it anyway:  the Marblehead Reporter reports on a 2008 study by Harvard and the University of British Columbia that shows people are happier when giving money away. This effect happens across all income levels.

The Marblehead goes on to say that, on average, Republicans give more than Democrats, women give more than men, and the Bible belt gives more than other parts of America.

Hmm, that's about it for today's news. I told you it would be skimpy! Maybe in the next few days I can figure out something to post when there's no news. Until then, you can check out my more comprehensive post on the link between generosity and happiness.

Monday, December 13, 2010

SPECIAL REPORT: Underground Screening of HAPPY in Kansas

Mmm, what a great place to watch a movie! From the Lope.
Do you live in a cave? Do you also live in Kansas? Perhaps you're a vampire or ghost? If so, then this is the screening for you! Our friend and colleague Omid Heidari will be presenting the movie in the Kansas Underground Salt Museum on Wednesday, December 15 at 7 p.m. Tickets are FREE, but you have to click here to reserve them now! Director Roko Belic will probably not be attending, but we may be able to work out some kind of video conference.

Children of the night, this is your time to shine!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

SPECIAL REPORT: Paradise Cove Screening

WAAHH, another screening in the same week!?!?@(*!$& Yes, but this time it was a much more private affair for people in the neighborhood. Again it went pretty great! I might as well just copy and paste at this point! I also got a lot of good video footage of the Q & A. I wish I could post it right now, but video needs editing, so I can't just dump it all and walk away--like this:
An artsy shot of the screening room. Foggy day outside.
The fire pit.
Another artsy shot during setup.
Roko hanging the movie screen. We ended up using a screen plus a bed sheet.
The audience sitting down.
Roko introducing the movie.
A shot of the screen.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Religious Happiness Comes from Community Feeling

Here's a church, just in case you've never
seen one before. From the National Center.
Such a busy week! I've barely had time to think, let alone read the news. All right, let me check my calendar. Any more screenings? No. Any big Hollywood meetings? No. Ho hum, I guess it's just a regular old day then. Good! I needed one of those.

Okay, let's see if I still remember how to do the news:  the USA Today reports on a new study that links religious happiness to feelings of community. Researchers have long known that religious people tend to be happier, but whether that happiness comes from the sense of community that places of worship encourage or from the spiritual experience itself was a mystery. This study seems to point to the first option.

Chaeyoon Lim of the University of Wisconsin-Madison studied data taken from the 2006-2007 Faith Matters Study. When comparing people who attend church at similar intervals, yet have different levels of friendship within the church, he found that people with more friends have almost double the happiness as those without any friends within the church. In face, "90% of the correlation between church attendance and life satisfaction can be explained if you have these close interactions," says Lim.

You can read the article for a breakdown of the different friendship groups and their happiness levels. This study gathered data from all major Christian and Jewish denominations, but not other religions because of a small sample size.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Wow, that went pretty well! If I sound like I'm repeating myself, it's because the Sony screening was just as much of a success as the Vallejo one. And like Vallejo, you'll have to wait for video to see the good stuff.

Highlights include a live Q & A with the pregnant (!!!) Sonja Lyubomirsky and motivational speaker Michael Pritchard. Also, the picture quality was absolutely gorgeous, which I would hope for in a projection system tied directly to Sony's computer production. The film played just as well to the movie industry crowd as to the Vallejo crowd, with much laughter and standing ovation a-plenty.

And we sold out of DVDs again!

Kevin and Adrian setting up a video camera
Alex and Roko setting up a water pump
Setting up food tables for the reception
Adrian eating everything and ruining the party. No, I kid, I kid!

Monday, December 6, 2010

SPECIAL REPORT: The Vallejo Screening

Wow, that went pretty well! HAPPY played like gangbusters in yesterday's nearly sold-out screening. The Empress Theatre is a beautiful place to show a movie and has a wonderful staff. Unfortunately, it is rather low light, being a movie theater and all, so I didn't get as many great pictures as I would have liked. I also missed the entire Q & A because I was setting up our DVD and T-shirt store in the lobby, but video is forthcoming!

ALL of these DVDs, plus one or two more boxes full, were sold by the end of the screening!
At the theater. From right:  Roko Belic, Richard Freedman (the man responsible for setting up and publicizing the screening), and Adrian Belic

One of the projectors
Roko doing brightness and contrast adjustments before the show
People lining up outside the theater
Next up, Sony Studios!

Friday, December 3, 2010

SPECIAL REPORT: Screening of HAPPY in Vallejo, California!

The Empress Theatre. From the California State Library.
Yo, wanna see a movie with Roko Belic and me? Then come to Vallejo, California on Sunday! We'll be at the Empress Theatre at 1 p.m. to show HAPPY. Tickets cost $10, plus a $2 preservation fee for the theatre itself, for a total of $12. We prefer that you buy tickets online, so go here to do that.

Roko will answer questions at the screening, or just sit around and talk if you want. We'd like to thank our friend Richard Freedman at the Times-Herald for setting up this whole event. You can read his article about Roko and the movie here.

Don't know where the theatre is? Look at this map:

Google Maps

330 Virginia Street
Vallejo, CA 94590
(707) 552-2400

This looks to be even better than our screening in San Francisco! See you there!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Luxembourg Conducts Its Own Tiny Happiness Survey

From Wikipedia.
Yes, according to 352 Lux Mag, one of the smallest countries in the world now has happiness data. The survey was performed by statisticians CEPS/INSTEAD and focused on the effects of health and money on happiness.

The article is unclear on the details of the study, but apparently 33% of Luxembourgians living in houses without proper facilities are unhappy. Unemployment is also a source of unhappiness, with 25% of the jobless reporting a score of "miserable." The happiest people were those in families with two or more children, reporting 97% happiness, though I don't know if that refers to the parents or the children. Single parents are apparently a dour lot, with only 15% happiness.

These statistics are rather suspect, but maybe the study itself does a better job of explaining them. If you know French, you can read it here. Maybe Luxembourgians just really like kids? I don't know, but I have a hard time believing that 97% of families with two or more children are happy. Most research shows that children DECREASE happiness (though to what degree is in some dispute).

The parts about money seem better founded, though. Most researchers agree that money in an important part of happiness for the impoverished, but in the middle class and beyond, money's effect on longterm happiness decreases significantly (but maybe even that is incorrect). You can read more about positive psychology's on-again, off-again relationship with money in these fabulous blog entries.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Canada May Also Jump On Gross National Happiness Train

Here is the royal Canadian coat of arms,
in case you care about things like coats of arms.
From The Canadian Design Resource.
Tired of Canadian news yet? Good, here's some more:  according to The Globe and Mail, a group of experts in Ottawa has convened to discuss whether Canada should join Britain, France, and trend-setter Bhutan in measuring Gross National Happiness.

Mel Cappe, head of the Institute for Research on Public Policy, says he would welcome Gross National Happiness metrics because GDP numbers reward the production of stuff, which just leads to high volumes of garbage. The idea could still use some tweaking, but British Prime Minister David Cameron's endorsement of GNH has meant a lot. "The fact that Cameron said what he said is really a sea change," says Cappe.

Not everyone is on board, however. Don Drummond, another member of the convention, says that measurement of GDP does not necessarily mean that governments only pursue money. For him, voter happiness is already built into the election process itself, so there's no need for another metric.

These are all interesting points, but we'll have to wait and see what happens. Canadians, it's up to you!