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Avoiding unnecessary comparisons


There is nothing to brag about but when we earn more than our neighbour or when we get a better pay rise than our colleague, the reward pathways are activating in our brain and produce a dopamine discharge, the “happy” hormone.

“Happiness is winning 500 euros more than our brother-in-law” said an English humourist. However, the reverse effect is also true. Comparing ourselves to people better off than us has a negative impact on our mood. To be happy, it is better to avoid unnecessary comparisons.

Thus, several studies have shown that the level of well-being of inhabitants from a city is proportional to the gap of living standards between the citizens: the bigger the gap, the less satisfied the inhabitants were about their life. A recent study made by the Danish Institute of research on happiness reinforces this analysis.

The Institute followed more than a thousand of volunteers. Half of them were encouraged not to log in on Facebook for the whole week. At the end of the experience, their level of well-being (+7%), their joy of life (+9%), their ability to focus (+15%) were higher than the others. Explanation of the researcher: Facebook would create a logic of permanent comparison, harmful for our self-confidence.

Go further with: “Comment prendre de bonnes decisions”, Nadine Sciacca, published by Marabout (February 2016)

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