Excerpt Taken from NeSA-R 11th Grade Practice Test:

The Happiness Effect
Happiness may be the primary goal of human existence. Philosophers have
wrestled with the concept of happiness. Legislators create laws to support citizens'
rights to pursue happiness. Television, radio, and print advertisers assure
consumers that various products will guarantee happiness. Interestingly, people
have a tendency to believe they are happier than their neighbors, and they are
optimistic about their happiness in the future. Most people assume that they will be
happier a decade from now than they are today. Clearly, everyone from writers and
philosophers to legislators and the average person on the street thinks a great deal
about happiness. What makes happiness so important to human existence?

Why Be Happy?
Not only does happiness feel good, but it appears to provide a variety of
psychological and physical benefits. Happiness plays a significant role in
enhancing good health, strengthening the immune system, promoting longevity,
improving productivity and performance, and increasing resilience. Happy people
work hard, play hard, have an active social life (and a social on science),
experience good health, and live longer. A happy person lives an average of nine
years longer than a miserable one.

The Opposite of Happiness
When studying happiness, it makes sense that its opposite condition would also be
a topic of examination. Scientists have observed that there are two unfortunate
life events that induce profound unhappiness, perhaps over the course of many
years: the loss of a spouse and the loss of a job.

What Causes Happiness?
However, good news abounds in the study of happiness. F011unately, humans
experience happiness from a wide range of stimuli, from traveling to an exotic
destination to redecorating one's home or from winning a game of soccer to eating
a delicious meal. Simply watching a favorite television show or laughing at a
funny joke can boost a depressed mood. While the happiness produced by such
experiences tends to be Shol1lived, cel1ain conditions do promote a more longlasting
and durable state of happiness as a lifestyle: a wide social network,
believing in a meaningful reason for one's existence, and establishing goals and
working to achieve them.


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