Opinion | How liberals can be happier


This view is further supported by happiness research. A study by Pew Research, for example, links the achievement of the happiness advantage of the Republicans over the Democrats in part with more marriages, greater family satisfaction and a higher religious presence.

In a separate study on the conservative-liberal happiness gradient, the psychologists Barry R. Schlenker, John Chambers and Bonnie Le examine the liberal detachment from family and belief. They note, “Liberals have become less happy in the past few decades, but this decline has been linked to increasingly secular attitudes and actions (e.g.

In our survey, we found a modest difference between Conservatives and Liberals ages 18-55 when it came to being “very happy” – 22 percent of Conservatives said they were “very happy” compared to 17 percent of Liberals (Conservatives are also a little more likely.) say they are “pretty happy”). This loophole is not explained by socio-economic differences in income, race, age and sex between the two groups. But once we control marriage, parenting, family satisfaction, religious affiliation, and community satisfaction, the ideological void in happiness disappears.

On Thanksgiving, a holiday so many of us spend with loved ones, we emphasize that of all of these social factors, the greatest factor that predicts general happiness is satisfaction with family life. Certainly, this doesn’t determine the direction of causation, but the results suggest that support and social connections – especially at home – are important to happiness.

As part of our research, we spoke to a number of Americans about family. The case of Katie, a 38-year-old married mother of two from Virginia, illustrates this. This right-wing woman has noticed a difference between her life before and after her marriage and having children. Although she has less time to herself, she prefers her new status as a married mother a lot. She is less lonely and finds more “meaning and purpose in everyday life and exciting times when my children reach certain milestones”.

She reported “fuller happiness now” as a wife and mother, in part because it is shared with her husband, children, and other family members – as well as friends who also raise families with whom she, she said, often “a Similarities that one can talk about. “

The link between social ties and happiness applies to the left as well. Julie, a 46-year-old self-proclaimed progressive mother of four in Salt Lake City, has been married and volunteered for more than two decades. She is also active in her local church. She works full-time and carries out a dizzying range of tasks. However, it is in her personal life that she finds “the greatest joys” and “the greatest fights”. But every engagement, she said, “offers an opportunity to connect with people around me.”

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