Recent research shows the importance of nationalism, including in minority groups, who find greater happiness in having a racial identity than in being assimilated:
“This is the first empirical study we know of that shows a relationship between racial identity and happiness,” said Stevie C.Y. Yap, doctoral candidate in psychology at MSU and lead researcher on the project.
Previous research has found a relationship between racial identity and favorable outcomes such as self-esteem, Yap said, but none has made the link with happiness.
For the study, the researchers surveyed black adults in Michigan. The results suggest the more the participants identified with being black — or the more being black was an important part of who they are — the more happy they were with life as a whole, Yap said.
Happiness is not regulated by material things, although want of material things can damage happiness. It comes from thinking that one is doing roughly the best one could do with what one is given, and that one is going in roughly the correct direction with life. With these existential contentments in place, people can enjoy the content of life, no longer being worried about its external form.