Does Happiness = Acceptance? The Key Question for Today's Physician

Greg A. Hood, MD


December 02, 2015

In This Article

The "U-bend" of Life

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. However, what happens when a larger entity inexorably sharpens itself upon people, even if those people are trained, honed professionals?

Often in discussions with patients and colleagues, I still turn to a very good article in The Economist from 2010,[1] in which the "U-bend of life" is explained. The article goes into detail with regard to a system of calculation in economics that focuses on level of happiness itself, rather than the traditional economic modeling of accumulation of money as a proxy for happiness. The authors reported on the concept of "gross national happiness," which is what it's officially called in at least one country (Bhutan). Through this system, they found that for many people, happiness progresses from a nadir in middle age and continues upwards until one is elderly.

But what if this calculation is today being transformed? What if the pressure upon the "upturn" of the "U" is being exerted so relentlessly that it risks being hammered down to form an "L"?


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