[MUSIC] So one of the questions that comes up when we teach the classes, is it really a good idea to become happier? What we've seen so far is that yes, being happier can allow you to do nice things for other people and yes, being happier is possible. But there's a question of like, what kinds of benefits do we actually get from becoming happier? Are there benefits to being happier? Beyond the obvious benefit which is like you get happier, which kind of feels good to be happier, right? And what the evidence suggests is that happiness tends to be correlated with all kinds of positive life outcomes that we don't expect. This is pretty important because there's certain things that we want to solve from both kind of economic perspective and a public health perspective. We want people to be employed, we want people to have enough money, we want people to be healthy. And we often assume that if people got those things, then they would be happier. But what we don't realize is the causal arrow goes backwards too. There's lots of evidence that individuals who are happier, wind up having all those good things I've just talked about. Again, it's unexpected but it's what the data really show. What do I mean by this? Well there's evidence for example that if you want to improve unemployment, you might want to focus on people's happiness level. One study looked at this by studying cheerfulness in 18- year- olds, so around your age give you a measure of cheerfulness from zero, not very cheerful to 10, pretty cheerful. And I'd look at whether or not that correlates not with whether or not you have a job now, because you're probably not earning that much as a teenager, no offense. But whether you have a job when you're 27, and when you're 37. And what the scientists have found is that in fact your cheerfulness level right now ish seems to predict whether or not you're going to have employment in your twenties and thirties. But it also predicts whether or not you're going to like your job, your happiness level seems to predict something about your job status and what you're doing. Your happiness level right now also seems to predict something about the money that you might be earning in your twenties and thirties. We often think that money leads to happiness like if you get more money will feel happier. But the evidence to just just the opposite individuals who are happier, wind up earning more money in their job, they wind up having higher salaries. And you could ask like, why is that, what's going on? Well, it turns out that happiness effects our decision making. There's lots of evidence that if you want a good innovative thinker, you might want to put them in a good mood. One study looked at this in doctors where they brought doctors into the lab and gave doctors like a hard medical problem. One of these things on these like health tv shows where it's like I can't figure out like what the diseases or something? So some hard problem for doctors, but they put some doctors in a good mood ahead of time. What do they find the doctors who watch a silly, funny cat video who happen to be in a better mood, they wind up coming up with the right solution to this innovative problem. So just putting yourself in a good mood can probably get you through some tough homework assignment that you don't find because we think better. We think more innovatively and more big picture when we're happier. So it's affecting our job performance, it's affecting our salary, it's also affecting our relationships. People who are happier, wind up being in happier marriages and happier relationships, having happier friendships, right? And you can imagine why like if you're happier, you're just a better friend, a better partner and so on. But happiness also seems to affect our immune system. There's evidence for example that if people are exposed to a rhinovirus. These days when we're chatting we're all talking about coronavirus is but Rhinovirus are the viruses that cause the common cold. So you bring subjects into the lab, everybody gets a little syringe up their nose of rhinovirus. So everybody's exposed, the question is who gets sick? And we measure people's positive style. Do you tend to have like a kind of optimistic positive style, you're happy upbeat person or do you kind of low positive style? What you find is that individuals who have the higher positive style gets significantly less colds? Something about being optimistic and upbeat is going to protect your immune system. We don't understand the mechanism yet, but we know it really helps. And if that wasn't good enough, happiness seems to affect literally how long you seem to live, how long your life will be people's longevity. How do we know this? Well, we know this from a very famous study of nuns, you might be asking why did researchers study nuns? Well, Danner and colleagues who did this study had a pretty good reason. They wanted to look at whether happiness was correlated with longevity, but they needed a group of subjects who had kind of like uniform and pretty low risk lives, right? And I think the stereotype of nuns is that they're not out like bungee jumping and motorcycle riding and doing like they're kind of like live there sort of uniform life, right? So they're kind of a population that on average might live a long time, but we can look at how happiness affects it. And the way they studied this was again to look at what the happiness level that these nuns showed, not late in life. But relatively early in life when these nuns first joined the nunnery turns out at least in this one order of nuns. They actually wrote these long memoirs when they first decided to become a nun that these researchers could analyze. And so they analyzed these memoirs to see do these nuns talk about positive things? Do they seem like they're happy, and they're kind of private journals and diaries, right? And just to get a sense of how they analyze this. Here's an example of one of the diaries that they talk about in their study was born September 26th I was the oldest of seven children. I intend to do my best for the order, it's fine, but it's not effusively positive, right? If you have to score and might not be that like super emotive, right? Versus something like this, God started my life off well he bestowed me in grace of inestimable value. All these years have been a happy one, I have all this that none is we're going to score her a little higher, probably, right? And so we score all these things and then you come back and you look at which nuns make it to age 85. And what you find is if you look at the top quarter nuns who are the happiest set of nuns, you kind of cleave off the data, 90% of them make it to age 85. But if you cleave off the bottom quarter of nuns, only 34% of them make it, this is incredible, right? because we're looking at these nuns like journals when they're about your age. It's like I pull your journal now, and I try to see if that's going to predict whether or not you're going to last till age 85, right? But not just till age 85, you see the same effect when you look even later. 54% of the top quartile of happy nuns seem to make it to age 94, but only around 11% of the bottom quartile of nuns, right? What does this mean? This means that happiness matters, right? It matters for the things that we care about from a public health perspective. It matters how you're going to respond to, if you get exposed to a virus, it matters how you're going to perform on the job. And what the kind of money that you're going to make based on your contribution? Happiness is going to matter a lot more than we think.