from Is Happiness Relative? by Ruut Veenhoven
The theory can be summarized in three basic postulates and four inferences:
Postulates Happiness results from comparison. The evaluation of life is a more or less conscious mental process and involves assessment of the degree to which perceptions of life-as-it-is meet the individual’s standards of what-life-should-be. The better the fit, the happier the person.
Standards of comparison adjust. Standards follow perception of reality. If living conditions are seen to improve, standards rise. If conditions are seen to get worse, standards are lowered. Adjustment follows with some delay. Standards of comparison are arbitrary.
Standards of comparison are individual mental constructs which do not necessarily fit any real requirements for a good life. People may want things that are actually bad for them and fail to want that they in fact need. This is especially likely if propaganda and fashion seduce them to reach out for the wrong things.
Inferences Happiness is insensitive to actual quality of life. Because standards of comparison are arbitrary, the judgements based on them are arbitrary as well. Hence people can be subjectively happy in objectively bad condition, or feel unhappy in good ones.Happiness is a coinage of the brain.
Happiness cannot be raised enduringly. Because standards adjust, changes to the better or worse have only a shortlived effect on happiness. In the long run any improvements are overhauled by a raise of standards.
Happiness builds on hardship. Because standards of comparison anchor in earlier experience, people tend to be happier after hard times. The worse life was earlier, the lower ones standards and the more favour able the judgement of present life.
Happiness tends to the neutral Because standard adjust continually, people are typically ‘neutral’ about their life, rather than ‘positive’ or ‘negative’. Over their lifetime happy periods balance unhappy periods.
Several ancient cultures, including the Egyptians and Chinese, practiced chromotherapy, or using colors to heal. Chromotherapy is sometimes referred to as light therapy or colourology and is still used today as a holistic or alternative treatment.
In this treatment:
Most psychologists view color therapy with skepticism and point out that the supposed effects of color have been exaggerated. Colors also have different meanings in different cultures. Research has demonstrated in many cases that the mood-altering effects of color may only be temporary. A blue room may initially cause feelings of calm, but the effect dissipates after a short period of time.