What is Happiness?
Although critical to a successful existence, happiness was long considered to be an elusive intangible by-product of circumstances. Science studied and documented depression, but rejected the notion that happiness could be studied, let alone be a manageable achievable state of being.
But a new documentary entitled “Happy” concludes that happiness can be learned and practiced. This four year project by Roko Belic studied people and circumstances around the world and concluded that once the basic needs of food and shelter are satisfied, happiness has little do with materialism. The film was originally inspired by a 2005 New York Times article entitled “A New Measure of Well-Being from a Happy Little Kingdom” in which the United States was ranked 23rd on a list of the happiest nations.
Using a combination of scientific fact and compelling human stories from places such as the Louisiana Swamp, Brazil, Japan and India, the film emphasizes the correlation between happiness and one’s overall health. Quite simply happy people live long and have a better chance of recovery from illness.
Moreover, increasing your personal level of happiness is far from selfish, as was once thought; becoming more happy is good for you, everyone around you, and the wellbeing of the planet as a whole. It turns that happiness is infectious and one of the few conditions that humans should want to be exposed to as often as possible.
The key to achieving happiness Belic reveals is simply to look beyond yourself. People who embrace the higher concepts of love, appreciation, gratitude and concern for their fellow man appreciate what they do have, and are happier in general. Conversely, no amount of money, technology or material stuff will make you happier if you cannot appreciate the simple gift of walking this earth.
So next time you are tempted to snarl at that guy in your coffee shop who is always happy, or that skycap, or pool attendant who is bursting with positive energy – stop. Shake the guy by the hand and thank him for reminding you what a great day every day is. And if you have a moment, sit and chat with him for a while; some of the most brilliant people exist in the most unlikely places and they would be honored to share what they know with you.