“I’m okay.”, this is our usual response every time someone asks how we are doing. A primary reflex that most of us have used to avoid being faced with the thought of our own happiness. People have subjective definitions on what is happiness and where we derive it from. Happiness could be a good job, complete family, perfect health or it could simply be delicious food. As the world celebrates International Day of Happiness today, we are again faced with the question: “Are you truly happy?”
Happiness and Reality
At an age of anthropocentricism, where human beings are considered the central or most significant species on the planet, all of our actions greatly affect everything else. While a small percent of the world are worrying over “first world problems” such as having WIFI connection or the latest Iphone, the rest are fighting just to live another day with dignity and basic needs. We are now facing a depressing reality that as society is getting richer and more technologically advanced it is not making the world happier. In fact, never have we experienced such great inequality and suffering. We witness wars, hunger and natural calamities. We start forgetting our connection and start thinking that we can exist as islands focusing on ourselves and no one else, thinking that another person’s misery will not affect us, but it does and there is no escaping it.
Formula for Happiness
Action for Happiness has developed the 10 Keys to Happier Living based on a review of the latest scientific research on happiness.
The research suggests these Ten Keys consistently tend to have a positive impact on people’s overall happiness and well-being. The first five (GREAT) relate to how we interact with the outside world in our daily activities*. The second five (DREAM) come more from inside us and depend on our attitude to life.
G IVING Do things for others
R ELATING Connect with people
E XERCISING Take care of your body
A PPRECIATING Notice the world around
T RYING OUT Keep learning new things
D IRECTION Have goals to look forward to
R ESILIENCE Find ways to bounce back
E MOTION Take a positive approach
A CCEPTANCE Be comfortable with who you are
M EANING Be part of something bigger
For us to realize our own happiness, we must ask ourselves these questions:
- What do you do to help others?
- Who matters most to you?
- How do you stay active and healthy?
- When do you stop and take notice?
- What new things have you tried recently?
- What are your most important goals?
- How do you bounce back in tough times?
- What are you feeling good about?
- What is the real you like?
- What gives your life meaning?
Happiness is quite complex if we keep on postponing it, yet simple if we take the time to answer the questions honestly.
Happy People Means Better World
It is important that we take the time to check if we are happy with our lives. Several research have shown that happiness doesn’t just feel good, it has a lot of benefits for our performance, health, relationships and society. An extensive study in the British Medical Journal followed people over 20 years and found that their happiness affected others in their networks across “three degrees of separation”. Happiness is contagious, making yourself happy means making your friend’s friend happy too. Countries with happy citizens have better GDP’s and standards of living. It is your obligation not only to you and your loved ones but to the world in general.