TODAY   |  August 30, 2013

Expert: Intelligence, income don’t bring happiness

Catherine Sanderson, who teaches a course on happiness at New York City’s One Day University, says that even though many people think intelligence and income determine happiness, it’s really age, faith beliefs and personality that have greater impact. Nancy Trent took the course and says a simple smile makes her happy.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> probably looking in the wrong places. in fact you might want to try --

>> thousands of students at new york city 's one day university have studied their way to bliss.

>> here to show you how easy it is to ace this emotion are kathryn sanderson who lectures at one day u and is a professor at amherst college department of psychologist and nancy trent, a full-time working mom who has taken kathryn's course, the science of happiness. hi, ladies.

>> hi.

>> the word happy is basically about circumstances, right? it's not the same as joy. this is a different thing.

>> right. and that's a great question. and one of the challenges is that lots of things we'd intuitively think make us happy really don't. so, for example, having more money. people think if i just had more money, i would --

>> i'd have fewer problems.

>> and what happens?

>> more money, more problems.

>> different problems but still problems.

>> i like the different problems better.

>> but there's also the challenges that as you get more money, that amount of money no longer is enough and then people want more. because the comparison changes.

>> the itch you can't scratch kind of thing. but how much of it -- you took the horse. how mu course. how much of it is a dna thing.

>> some people are naturally happy but the thing is that for anyone who isn't naturally happy, there are things that can make you happy. very simple things .

>> did you go looking for happiness?

>> i was happy but i wanted to find out how to be even happier.

>> what did you learn?

>> first thing is just smiling, like if you feel like, i'm in a mood, just making yourself smile, even if you --

>> i've got something to help with that. those lip things.

>> even if you don't feel happy, that's easy.

>> you talked about how like things like children and family, those things you'd innately think make you happy, don't.

>> that's a really great point. people often think, being married will make me happier.

>> depends on who you marry.

>> that's because you are a woman. for men it doesn't matter. for men, marriage makes them happy, no matter who it is. even a house -- like a shrew?

>> well, having a wife is a pretty good deal. having a wife helps a lot. for women, it matters who you marry. matters who you marry a lot. people with children, not happier than people without children. and one of the challenges is that lots of stuff about children is effort. it's work. it's changing diapers, doing laundry, doing the dishes. it's not innately joyful.

>> let's talk about the things. i didn't believe this at first.

>> i don't agree with this at all. i really don't.

>> shopping, eating, exercise and sex. all things, to me, that seem fleeting. like you do it and as soon as you are done, happiness goes away.

>> temporary fixes.

>> right. so those are things, shopping doesn't even have to be for you.

>> for someone else .

>> have you ever had the experience of buying a fabulous gift for someone that you knew was going to make them so happy?

>> yeah.

>> i love that.

>> but that's helping someone.

>> exactly. and that's helping someone.

>> volunteering.

>> yeah.

>> volunteering makes people happy.

>> i think that's what you are discussing something a little different which is fulfillment. seeing what you can do to impact another human being 's life is a wonderful thing.

>> there's different kinds of happiness. one is a different kind of happiness from accomplishment, from doing really good things. and you may not be smiling because as you know, it is hard to get things important and substantive done. on the other hand, some people, you know, they are shopping, they are eating, they are happy.

>> some people are oblivious to