而最新一期Journal of Family Psychology上發表的一篇長期研究論文再次肯定了這種觀點：要讓自己更幸福，最好的辦法是加強親情，而不是多掙錢。
這 項研究對274位已婚人士進行了10年的跟蹤調查，關注他們在各個時期的幸福感，研究發現，“家庭社會支持”的改善能夠讓研究對象覺得自己的生活更幸福， 而加薪則起不到這樣的效果。如果家庭成員互相幫助，相親相愛，經常交談，坦誠相對，很少吵架，那麼家庭的社會支持度就很高。研究對象的薪資變化並沒有影響 長時間的幸福感。（當然，研究表明，以固定的時間點衡量，這個大多由中產階層組成的研究對象群體中收入較高者總體來說幸福感略強，不過幸福的家庭生活的效 應更強。該研究由得克薩斯大學奧斯汀分校(University of Texas, Austin)的研究人員牽頭進行。）
這項研究從 長期角度出發，這一點不同尋常。通過將家庭生活與工作進行對比，反映出了這些方面常常在日常生活中互相沖突的方式。而研究結果對我來說很真實。雖然加薪或 事業上的成功對於我也是很愉快的調劑，但我覺得真正有意義、讓我覺得滿足的是我與自己的孩子、兄弟姐妹以及侄子侄女們的親情。
當 然，幸福是個復雜的話題。另外一些專家──其中最著名的就是心理學家、著有《學會樂觀》(Learned Optimism)和《真實的快樂》(Authentic Happiness)的馬丁﹒塞利格曼(Martin Seligman)──認為，幸福的基石更多地關乎人的內心，在很大程度上是基於一個人發掘、關注和表達正面情緒的能力。這些專家說，產生快樂和幸福感的 心態是可以習得的，這種心態可以防止沮喪和覺得人生無味的情緒產生。
WSJ The Juggle: The Key to Happiness: Money, Family, or Positive Thinking?
Yet a new long-term study, published in the latest edition of the Journal of Family Psychology (subscription required) affirms that thinking: Fortifying family ties, not making more money, is the best way to become a happier person.
The research, based on a 10-year look at 274 married people's happiness over time, found that improvement in 'family social support' had the power to make people happier over the life of the study, while increases in income did not. Families were rated high in social support if members were helpful and compassionate with each other, talked often and honestly, and fought infrequently. A change in income over the life of the study didn't change subjects' reported happiness over time. (To be sure, when measured at any fixed point in time, higher-income people in this mostly middle-class sample tended to be slightly happier in general, says the study, led by researchers at the University of Texas, Austin; a happier family life had an even bigger effect, however.)
The study is unusual in taking a long-term perspective. By pitting family against work, it mirrors the way these priorities often compete in daily life. And the findings ring true for me. While increases in income or career success have been pleasant distractions for me, I derive fundamental meaning and contentment largely from my relationships with my children, my brother and sister and my nieces and nephews.
Of course, happiness is a complex topic. Other experts - most notably psychologist Martin Seligman, author of the bestselling books 'Learned Optimism' and 'Authentic Happiness' - say the underpinnings of happiness are more internal, based largely on the individual's ability to cultivate, focus on and express positive emotion. The mind-set that produces happiness and well-being can be learned, serving as an antidote to depression and meaninglessness, these experts say.
Readers, do you think your personal happiness derives from external factors such as family support, or internal emotions? What role, if any, do money and career success play?