Saturday, April 17, 2010

Finding Happiness within a Distressed Economy

According to the former president of the American Psychological Association, Dr. Martin Seligman, “our economy is rapidly changing from a money economy to a satisfaction economy." Well before Seligman's observation, however, the Amish seem to have understood the importance of this emphasis. The Amish lifestyle represents a subculture within American society that is the antithesis of capitalism. Amazingly, it is suggested that their departure from Americana actually contributes to their overall level of happiness. In recent years, author Jonah Lehrer has highlighted the fact that the Amish’s rates of depression are more than ten fold lower than the rest of the American population.

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The Amish appear to place more emphasis upon the depth, quality and nature of their relationships. Within the Amish community, for example, if a neighbor’s roof is damaged in a storm, the community is likely to arrive the next day to volunteer its assistance with the repairs. Sadly, within American society, many people do not even know their neighbors. Perhaps a simple restructuring of priorities can help Americans to find their happiness within a distressed economy.

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