5th year of World Happiness Day.
They call it a movement and anyone can join and receive a Happiness Guidebook, Happiness Pack for Kids and World Happiness Report.
The Action for Happiness pledge says
“I WILL TRY TO CREATE MORE HAPPINESS IN THE WORLD AROUND ME”
The Day of Happiness website says the following –
What really makes us Happy?
Advertisers tell us that happiness comes from buying their products.
Celebrities and the media pretend it comes with beauty and fame.
Politicians claim that nothing matters more than growing the economy.
We then get a list of ten keys based on a review of the latest research from psychology and related fields. (1)
Is this the answer?
Is this book the recipe for a happy life?
Is this book going to work for all of us?
Is this book going to create more happiness in our world?
Are those who make the colourfull website very happy?
Are those who write the happy stuff happy happy?
Does science have the answers to happiness?
Do we as individuals have a happy-ometer in life?
In other words, a scale that says happy on one end and unhappy on the other.
WHY are our kids unhappy?
WHY do we have statistics confirming this?
47% of 11 – 16 year olds felt upset and unhappy.
34% felt worried about how they looked.
41% felt anxious.
‘The strongest factor predicting a happy adult life is not children’s qualifications but their emotional health.’
Origins of Happiness: Evidence and Policy Implications, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) (3)
WHY are so many adults unhappy?
WHY are we trying so hard to get a happy life?
WHY does it seem like we are peddling backwards?
WHY is the happy goal in life just not cutting it for us?
WHY do we have different ideas, beliefs, images and pictures about what happy is?
WHY is being happy so hard these days to achieve?
WHY is the happy status so hard to hold onto?
Is anyone really happy in every area of life?
Can we be truly happy when we know what is going on in our world?
The evidence shows that the things that matter most for our happiness and for our misery are our social relationships and our mental and physical health…
In the past, the state has successfully taken on poverty, unemployment, education and physical health. But equally important now are domestic violence, alcoholism, depression and anxiety conditions, alienated youth, exam-mania and much else. These should become centre stage. (3)
People have become no happier in the last 50 years, despite average incomes more than doubling.
Tackling depression and anxiety would be four times as effective as tackling poverty… (4)
Lord Richard Layard, Researcher on Origins of Happiness: Evidence and Policy Implications, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
Can we just stop and re-read this again?
We have evidence. Most of us need evidence before we take notice.
So here we have it – social relationships are the number one thing mentioned.
What is he telling us about our youth being ‘alienated’?
How serious is this when they will be our future adult generation?
Does this mean we as humans need to be around others?
Does this mean we all need connection in some way with other people?
Does this mean that this inter-connectedness affects our mental state?
Does this mean that there is a link between our relationships with society and our health?
What on earth is going on that domestic violence, alcoholism, depression and anxiety conditions are now in the equation?
Is this statement from a Lord going to make us pay attention?
Would it make any difference if the Queen told us we are no happier today?
Is this spelling out to us that money is not going to make us happier?
Is the million dollar question here worth at least considering?
“Tackling depression and anxiety would be four times as effective as tackling poverty.”
Would it be wise to just stop and ask WHY have we got so much depression and anxiety in our world today?
Does it have something to do with the way we are choosing to Live?
Could it be possible that a person with cancer is not interested in happy days?
Could it be possible that when we have depression happy is not on the radar?
Could it be possible that our asthma pump stops us feeling the happy-ometer?
Could it be possible that eating chocolate is not really a happy moment?
Could it be possible that our champagne lifestyle is not making us happy?
Could it be possible that our lemonade money bank account is making us unhappy?
Could it be possible that blaming others changes our happy mood?
Could it be possible that lying about our happy status makes us more miserable?
Could it be possible that our common cold hanging around is affecting our happy state?
Could it be possible that when we get sick we just can’t get happy about anything?
Could it be possible that our careless way of living makes us feel unhappy?
Could it be possible that sitting on the fence doing nothing makes us unhappy inside?
Could it be possible that when our priorities in life are upside down, we are not happy?
Could it be possible that when we forget something we are not a happy bunny?
Could it be possible that when we want a perfect life we seem to get more unhappy?
Could it be possible that no diet seems to make us happy if we are being honest?
Could it be possible that when we demand more from life, we become unhappy?
Could it be possible that when we get glued to the TV things are not happy happy?
Could it be possible that our social media Internet distractions are making us unhappy?
Could it be possible that what is missing is a real Recipe for Life?
Could it be possible that we need to start to Get Real and Get Honest?
Could it be possible that we need a Passport to Get Real?
Could it be possible that we all need a Foundation in Life?
Could it be possible that we all need to make life Simple?
Could it be possible we all need to start asking Questions about this happy stuff?
Could it be possible that saying words like Happy Christmas and Happy New Year are not holding any real meaning or purpose?
Could it be possible our happy days change when we read real stuff about the true state of our world today like –
Female Genital Mutilation
What is the meaning of Happy?
Our reliable Concise Oxford English dictionary says
Feeling or showing pleasure or contentment. (5)
Google tells us – delighted, pleased or glad, as over a particular thing. (6)
Dig a bit deeper and you find that the word Happy comes from the middle English word hap, meaning “good luck.”
Many of the early European words for happy actually referred to good luck, rather than a feeling of joy. On its own happy means an enjoyable or satisfied state of being.
When hyphenated, it can refer to an overwhelming inclination to do something.
Someone who is a clothes-happy person for example, is obsessed with taking trips to the shopping mall. (7)
What if happy is just a word that means something different for everyone?
What if happy is slippery and keeps moving the goal post?
In other words, we cannot sustain a constant state of happiness?
What if we move the goal post on the happy scale?
In other words, we get to achieve something and then it’s not it.
What if we have a picture, an image of a happy life?
In other words, we go after the picture and anything else leaves us un-happy.
What if we have a habit of comparing what happy is with what other people have?
In other words, we just keep seeing others as having more than us.
What if we think happy is all about what we can have – so it is all material stuff?
What if we have got it all wrong and happiness is never going to last in the long-term?
What if there is another way?
What if the early words for Happy meaning good luck confirms it is not constant?
What if the European words for happy were right when they say it is not a feeling of Joy?
What if JOY is a constant and can be possible but it is not from doing anything?
What if JOY is about who we are and not what we can do?
What if real JOY is about living a life knowing who we truly are?
What if JOY is not any ideals and ingrained beliefs we maybe holding?
What if we are so busy trying to get something from this world and it stops the real JOY?
What if we are always trying to make life something wonderful and miss the JOY?
Have we as a society given up on the real value of life and so we seek something on the outside, that brings us a relief of momentary ‘happiness’ but it cannot be lived everyday, so it is not consistent?
Could it be possible we then go up and down on our ‘happy–ometer’ and our mood depends on where we are on that scale?
Is this a true way to live and is this what we have put up with?
Finally, what was Winston Churchill saying to us back then when he said
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
The quote is on the Action for Happiness website, so maybe there is the clue that it is time to take action by what we give and not what we can get. (8)
(1) (n.d). What Really Makes Us Happy? www.dayofhappiness.net. Retrieved March 18, 2017 from
(2) (2017, March 16). Schools Must Do More on Mental Health, Say School Reporters. BBC News. Retrieved March 18, 2017 from
(3) (2016, December 13). Relationships and Good Health the Key to Happiness, Not Income. London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Retrieved March 18, 2017 from
(4) Inman, P. (2016, December 12). Happiness Depends on Health and Friends, Not Money, Says New Study. The Guardian. Retrieved March 18, 2017 from
(5) Concise Oxford English Dictionary – Twelfth Edition. Oxford University Press. 2011
(6) Dictionary.com. Retrieved March 18, 2017 from
(7) Vocabulary.com. Retrieved March 18, 2017 from
(8) (n.d). Why Happiness. Action for Happiness. Retrieved March 18, 2017 from
Great blog Simple Living Global.
Happiness is a buzz word that is much over used in society today – we have happiness at work, happiness in life, happiness surveys and programs, happiness blogs, and happiness research, as well as whole university departments on happiness e.g. a Happiness Research Institute.
Despite this growing happiness ‘industry” in the last decade – if you look at any global illness, disease, mental health or social atrocity statistics, we in our world are not getting any weller, or healthier. If happiness was to be a true marker of health and wellbeing, it is not working in the way it is.
As stated in the blog here – what if there is another way? This is a much needed conversation. As there are millions of dollars spent on happiness –
I would be very curious to know the true outcome of that – are those involved truly vibrant, vital, confident, well, healthy?
Interesting to read Jane about university departments dedicated to the happiness research and as this blog says this happy stuff is slippery and not constant so where is it all going? How far have we got with all this researching and surveys and programs that you mention here in your comment?
Is it time we ALL got a wake up call, a reality check and look around at the true state of our world today and what is going on.
Is it possible to be happy when we know our fellow brothers are at war, have no basic needs met or are living in utter abuse for whatever reason?
These questions are worth considering now as things really are not great on our planet.
Happiness seems to me to be a fleeting, elevated thing. Not enduring, but experienced in moments of stimulation. Like booking a holiday or buying shoes or eating cake or having a good hair day.
Perhaps many of us see it as the absence of something – the absence of depression or worry, for example.
This blog presents the possibility that there is more, much more. And that we may be missing the woods for the trees – seeking a tantalising state of happiness, but missing the real deal that’s available to all of us: JOY.
Just reflecting on that as a possibility feels huge. That our focus on achieving happiness might be misplaced. That we might be missing something massive.
Another incredible blog from Simple Living Global, calling us to question life as we have accepted it.
I love that you have looked at the origins of the word happy, to establish the real meaning and purpose.
Knowing that it’s Middle English meaning is ‘good luck’ It does make sense to me that the word happy has no substance. When we refer to luck it’s by ‘chance’ that something occurs and so no wonder pursuing happiness is futile.
JOY on the other hand is a constant state and comes from the way that we choose to live our lives and is a feeling within that has nothing to with anything outside of us.
No material wealth, expensive clothes or fancy cars can bring us JOY.
Yes Shevon this luck thing we all know is not a constant state and to think the actual word ‘happy’ comes from that speaks volumes.
When our academics are busy researching and researching this word happiness, it begs the question – what is their radar, their compass, their ideal or belief about that word?
Surely this needs to be considered first as we all seem to have a different interpretation for this word ‘happy’.
I am seeing more and more how important it is to understand the difference between happiness and Joy because if we felt joy and what a life lived with joy was like, we may never settle for its shadow – happiness, again.
All one needs to do to remember what joy is, is to observe young children.
When I lived in Los Angeles I would walk past little yards enclosed in chain link fences. There was nothing but dirt in most of them, no grass, almost no toys… sometimes a ball, but there were children; children laughing and playing and having a blast with each other…
…so yes, I know Joy comes from inside and is in every one of us and so is not dependent upon outer circumstances.
…so if we are on a constant search for happiness, as most of us are, isn’t this a distraction and a way not-to-need-to-get-real about what Joy is, about what is missing that we seek constant fixes from the outside?
Isn’t happiness a distraction from re-learning how to feel joy, bring it out and live life with Joy?
Words came from concepts that already existed. Words did not come first. I have never really thought about the difference between joy and happiness but the two words were created because they mean different things. To me, happiness is something that comes from things outside of you, joy comes from within.
I remember my children opening a christmas present when they were young, and they were more interested in the box and the wrappings than the gift.
Basically life was joyful for them, the outside world was extra. As they grew older they lost this sense of wonder. Things themselves became more important.
How did this happen? I know that it was because of my own attachment to things to make me happy. They could see and feel my need for things.
So how I live my life had a big effect on what my children thought was ok.
I am understanding now that how I live is the most powerful tool I possess to make a difference in my children’s lives.
I have been discarding heaps of emotional and physical things in my life with support from Simple Living Global, and it feels so amazing to let go of them.
I feel by me letting go of all the things that I needed to be happy, I have allowed the joy that has always been inside of me to surface.
Thank you Ken for sharing about where words actually came from.
It makes sense that words came after. So we started walking before the word walking came into existence.
What you say is so true about kids being more interested in the paper and the box instead of the actual gift. This has been the case since day dot and speaks volumes.
We seem to somehow equate happiness with what we get from the outside world and JOY is a state of being from the inside which comes with a living quality of Stillness, Truth and Harmony.
A sort of package all in one that needs ALL the components to keep the constant state.
This means we will not be JOYFULL if we do not live with a quality of stillness and truth in our life and the rhythm of our natural state, which is harmony.
Trust this makes sense.
In the USA the standerd measure of prosperity, or how we measure how well we are doing is the Gross National Product. It is basically the worth of everything that we produce.
Many years ago we had an oil spill in Alaska. It took millions of dollars to clean it up. I remember that many people went there just because of jobs the spill created. Afterwards I remember reading an article that said the spill was a big boost to the Alaskan economy, that it raised the GNP. So was this oil splll a good thing just because it created jobs and stimulated the economy?
How do we measuring our quality of life? If it makes us happy is it good for us? I remember buying a six pack of beer and it made me happy, but now I know that the alcohol was destroying my life.
I feel that the only true measure of happiness comes from within. Deep down we know whether something is good for us or not. This is something we do not lose. I feel it is time for us to reconnect to this wisdom and use it as new measure of how we are doing.
What a great blog. Happiness seems to be the next best thing to where we are in how we are feeling day to day. Something to be achieved and acquired, bought, purchased, go to for.
My experience of happiness has certainly been a fluctuating one, dependant on mood and emotions, needing something to sustain it, balance it.
Joy on the other hand is a constant within me, something I have chosen to connect to and bring out, that is with me in all I do, but not from what I do or have.
The difference between the two is far greater than I would have expected, happiness kept me seeking, Joy connects me to everyone else and is not just about me but everyone. Without doubt I would choose to live joy every day over trying to be happy.
Joining the happy brigade was my thing in the past and I would go to great lengths to have that ‘happy day’ and I can recall during the day thinking “oh it will be over soon”.
I wanted to be a part of the happy club where others had the same goals but looking back I realise how empty and pointless the whole thing was.
Happy is a scale and we all have our own measure of what we define as happy.
Thank God I know what it is now to live with Joy and what a huge difference it has made in my work and personal life. There is never a dull moment or moments of guilt or regret. It sure is worth being open to another way of living – as our first blog on this website says.
Is happiness something I need to strive for? I was brought up with the idea that I needed to work hard, to make something of myself. To get what I want. So I worked hard to be happy.
When I was a young child I had no concept of happiness or working hard to achieve something. Everything I did was amazing. No judgement about things, good or bad.
So at some point did I lose my natural happiness? No, I feel that at some point I looked around and saw how everybody was living and that became my model of what life was all about. I basically choose to give up myself and what I felt and follow the crowd.
I have avoided feeling the devastation of this choice for a long time.
With support from Simple Living Global and a desire to know the real truth, I am feeling these feelings now, and understanding why I gave up.
This is allowing me to return to the joy that has always been inside of me.
Ken, I couldn’t agree more.
We have been clearing out as a family this Spring – the house, its cupboards, the shed, our dusty corners. It feels like taking responsibility and that feels really good.
Our young kids talk about how free it makes them feel and how much space there is.
They bring a natural playfulness to their work and have zero sense of time.
It’s a joy to work alongside that and know we are all naturally that way.
An OECD survey has found that 15 year olds living in the UK are among the unhappiest in the world, coming 38th out of 48 countries in life satisfaction rankings.
Apparently 1/4 of British teenagers spend more than 6 hours a day on the Internet outside school and this is the biggest contributing factor to their unhappiness.
Thanks, Simple Living Global, for this great blog on the ambiguity of this emotion called ‘Happiness’.
In your blog you say that ‘we cannot sustain a constant state of happiness’ – Why not?
Is it because we only attribute happiness to times when something good happens to us?
Is it possible that we are only happy when we get what we want?
If that is so, then we will always be at the mercy of other people or events to which we have no control over.
A good example of this is the weather. Most of us are happy when the sun is shining but as soon as we have rain, snow or some other adverse condition, we are unhappy.
Now, there will be some people that will be happy when it rains or snows but they will be unhappy about something else which just goes to show that ‘happiness’ is selective, and because it is selective, it can never be a constant in our lives.
But, what if we did feel the same regardless of sun, rain or snow?
What if we felt the same regardless of how our family, friends, work colleagues, the person on the street, in the bus, on the train or in the shops, behaved?
What if we felt the same regardless of what was going on in the world?
How would that look?
Is this what we call true JOY?
Could it be that we have made our lives all about ourselves so happiness is something that will never be consistent?
Could it be possible that the quote, at the end of this blog from Winston Churchill, is what we need to get us on the path to true JOY?
Great questions Tim… is happiness only there if we get what we want or something good happens to us… producing a roller coaster of emotions, the ups when things are going well, the downs when they are not.
It’s interesting how much we pin happiness on, different things throughout the day, a phone call, what we’re going eat, the next purchase, a compliment, it’s like a dependancy on something exterior to ourselves because it is not sustainable, not coming from within.
Guardian newspaper – 3 February 2017
Dopamine dressing – can you dress yourself happy?
Apparently this so called ‘dopamine dressing’ is everywhere this season and it is based on the idea that wearing overtly fun clothes help lift your mood in depressing times and the question this article is asking is – “can wearing ‘happy clothes’ really make us more happy?
Well of course the fashion industry are trying to convince us that this can be done and according to a fashion psychologist ‘go with a critical friend when you are buying something, particularly if it is something you have never worn’.
So let’s put our reality check hat on with a dose of common sense.
If we are feeling depressed and need a mood change, how supportive in truth would a ‘critical friend’ be for us?
Reading this blog – could it be possible that lifting our mood or changing how we feel is not long lasting and we get back to ground zero as the underlying feelings of feeling unhappy remain under the colourful happy tones or positive slogans this article mentions?
Would it be wise once and for all to deal with our buried issues, the hurt we have been carrying which feels so deep and old, the misery, the exhaustion, the agony and anxiety we live with every single day?
Would that be the real way to change our mood and get past happy on the road to TRUE JOY?
All I know is JOY has no mood change as it is constant.
When I look in the mirror I see what I feel and that speaks volumes.
Gone are the days of dressing for others to notice, or perk me up from my daily misery that I tried to hide from the world.
In a busy street yesterday I noticed a baby in a pram, it’s mother catching up with a friend. The baby had no attention from anyone yet it had a big smile on it’s face, kicking it’s legs and waving it’s arm, the joy was undeniable and emanating from this baby. What a lovely example of being in joy, no happiness needed.
10 years ago I saw that the island country of Vanuatu was on a ‘top 10 happiest countries list’. I had never heard of Vanuatue, I was intrigued. I wanted to know what they based this happiness on and what a happy country looked like. Amazingly, I ended up spending 2 weeks there just one year later…
I spoke with everyone I met, I asked lots of questions. I helped women out in the kitchens and made friends with the taxi man, the cook and trail guides. I was invited to attend a 100 day death ceremony where the entire village mourned a mans death. I helped the women prepare food…
I saw some areas that seemed tranquil but I also saw a lot of unhappiness.
Society still holds that women are valued beneath pigs and they have little to no say in who they marry! (Excuse me but who did this ‘happy’ survey anyway?)
One woman told me her boyfriend hits her. The women do most of the work, from fishing to cooking while there is a large issue of alcohol abuse and kava use which numerous women I spoke with expressed miserably how it makes the men lethargic, non-functional and totally unsupportive…
What did feel ‘happy’ (though a far cry from joyful) to me was that there was still a genuine openness in the people who still lived outside of town, growing and selling their own food. There was an innocence there too; many adults would light up when meeting new people like little children do.
There was also more of a sense of accepting the life they were living than I find in first world countries… but sometimes this seemed to be based on compromising on what they obviously could feel was not true, like the gay woman who was destined to marry a man…
Medical News Today published article on 3 July 2017
A recent study led by researchers at Indiana University explored the so-called friendship paradox experienced by users of social media. The friendship paradox finds that on average most people are less popular than their friends on social media, which may lead to reduced happiness.
This study suggest that happiness is correlated with popularity and also that the majority of people on social networks are not as happy as their friends due to this correlation between friendship and popularity.
What is all this craze about being popular and our ‘happy-ometer’ going up or down?
Is having likes and this constant checking really helping our state of mind?
Where is all this social media stuff taking us on the happy scale long term?
Is a digital detox really the answer, like we do a food detox or is this a mere solution?
Is it high time we asked WHY on earth do we allow the outside world to dictate what we feel inside us, in other words dominate our thoughts?
As a non-user of social media, I was today watching a friend going through stuff and showing me on the laptop. I asked them to stop as I got a headache with reams and reams of photos and a bit of nonsensical chat. It felt like there was simply no purpose and a lot of comparison, which I am certain would bring up jealousy for many.
I asked myself what sort of future do I want and is this ‘hooking in’ to social media a real way to live and evolve, when it is generally used NOT to inspire and inform us, but to bring us down, feed us even more ugly thoughts and divide us as a human race?
Finally, this article also says that many studies have observed that more time spent on social media is associated with an increased risk of loneliness and depression – so the question asked is are unhappy people using social media? OR does social media use affect happiness?
Could it be possible that most people who use social media feel dis-connected from their innate essence and the void they feel is conveniently filled with a drug of choice and in this case it’s checking and posting consistently on social media?
In other words it gives a connection albeit a false one and this is the unhappiness that is then felt? Possible?
An article in the Daily Mail, 29 April 2017, asks: “What makes us happy?”
Research recently published offered a touching answer: 60 % of us say we’re happy with our lot and more specifically, the number-one source of happiness is cuddling up on the sofa with a partner.
This shows that deep down we’re actually quite simple creatures: all we really want from life is to feel secure, loved and content.
It also says so much about how so many of us have got it wrong, from our fixation with the latest gadget or designer item, to the way we allow social media to dominate our lives and sap our time.
Yet when it comes down to it, the most pleasurable aspect of our entire lives is also one of the most basic and simple – human intimacy.
Happiness is subjective and we make our lives very complicated trying to maintain what keeps us happy…A football fan will be ecstatic when his or her team wins but will be miserable, sad or angry if they lose.
This article hits the nail on the head…people are most happy when something so basic and simple is involved, something that brings intimacy with another human being – true connection.
True connection doesn’t have to necessarily be cuddles on the sofa, it can be as simple as going for a walk together, or washing up together.
Is it possible that if we had true connection with others we wouldn’t feel the need for the latest gadgets, designer items, social media, sports or anything else that distracts us?
Is it possible that if we had true connection with others we would have something that is far greater than happiness and something that could be maintained without complication?
Is it possible that that something is JOY?
News story in The Week – Issue 1142
16 September 2017
The most successful pop star, solo act in history suffers from depression, anxiety and agoraphobia and thinks the fame has made his mental health worse.
With drugs, alcohol and sex addictions in the past, he now says his vice is food and has a sleep walking and eating problem that happens every night.
He wants to be a ‘skinny rock god’ but says he tends to look like ‘an out of shape doorman’ and that he is either thin and depressed or fat and ashamed, claiming there is no middle ground.
The first thing I got was, what a huge price to pay for fame, but is there more here to consider and why do so many of us jump on the bandwagon to want to be like our famous celebrities?
Is this case only being highlighted because it is the most famous solo act in history?
Could it be possible others in this industry are also suffering with similar issues?
What is going on really and is this person something we truly want to be?
Have we lost the plot or are we choosing to see the fame and what comes with it as more important than the human who is clearly battling with life in general?
Would it be true to say there is not an ounce of happiness or contentment because all these struggles underpin everything and it does not change anything inside the mind and body?
Do we bother to stop and consider that the fame days are now over and all those demons that this man was fighting are now his reality?
Could we agree this man is not a happy bunny?
Could we agree that the fame did not bring an ounce of happiness and this news story confirms this?
10 September 2017
The pursuit of pleasure is a modern-day addiction
says Professor Robert Lustig, University of California, San Francisco.
A very interesting news story and here are some highlights –
Addiction is up.
Depression is up.
Death rates are up in US, UK, China and Germany.
Suicide rates have reached an all time high.
SSRI – (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) prescriptions quintupled since their introduction in 1987.
108% increase in NHS antidepressant prescriptions in last 10 years.
6% increase in 2016.
Unhappiness itself does not kill BUT the aberrant behaviours that unhappy people perform to “get happy” – Tobacco, Alcohol, Sugar does kill.
The Million Women Study
Mobile phone use and sleep deprivation have also been implicated in addiction and depression in teenagers and young adults, even leading to death.
Despite what we are told from TV and Social Media, pleasure and happiness are not the same thing.
Too many of our ‘simple pleasures’ have morphed into something else – a 6.5 ounce soda became a 30 OUNCE BIG SODA DRINK.
An afternoon with friends is now 1000 friendings on our famous social media platform.
Each of these momentary pleasures are just that – momentary.
But chronic dopamine from our favourite “fix” reduces serotonin and happiness.
Our ever available temptations of sugar, tobacco, alcohol, drugs, social media, porn COMBINED with constant stress – work, money, home, school, cyberbullying, Internet with the end result of an unprecedented epidemic of addiction, anxiety, depression and chronic disease.
Thus the more pleasure you seek, the more unhappy you get and the more likelihood you will slide into addiction or depression.
Our ability to perceive happiness has been sabotaged by our modern incessant quest for pleasure, which our consumer culture has made all too easy to satisfy.
So here we have a professor telling us some much needed information for us all to consider the choices we make in daily life. He tells us that we can pick our drug or device or poison of choice, as our brain cannot tell the difference BUT there are serious consequences.
Our world is full of temptations and our brain cannot discern what choices are right and which ones are wrong. This is for us to discern and the answer could be quite simple.
Could it be possible that if we truly connected to our body, we would be able to feel what is true and what is not true?
Could it be possible that if we are deeply connected then the contentment factor is there and the pursuit and chasing for happy moments is not needed?
Could it be that simple?
This blog, this website, every comment on this website and this news article are telling us something is not right and it is up to each and every one of us to take the Responsibility that is needed to make real lasting lifestyle changes.
What if we don’t need a happy moment ever because we have replaced it with a commitment to life https://simplelivingglobal.com/commitment-to-life-part-1/
a connection to purpose and a willingness to develop a deeply self caring way of living?
Last year (2017) the BBC reported that Norway was the happiest place on Earth according to the World Happiness report.
I have been wondering about this for a while and whilst the news article above states that factors that mean happiness include: a country’s economic strength, social support, life expectancy, freedom of choice, generosity and perceived corruption, I like to talk to people directly to hear what they have to say and so I spoke with someone who lived in Norway for a long time.
What he explained to me is that Norway is a very comfortable country with very green and lush open spaces. Picture perfect.
I used to live a comfortable life, but I would not say that I was truly happy. Things were ticking over, but there was no zest, or vitality or joy for living, just a sense of feeling safe as everything was OK, but there was no growth.
What if our current measures of happiness are not true and are not something we should be settling or striving for if we want true wellness?
What if the material things we have around us have nothing to do with our measure of true happiness, but that it is about the richness we feel inside and what we can offer the world?
The questions that the author of this blog by Simple Living Global asks about Joy are most definitely questions worth considering.
‘What if JOY is a constant and can be possible but it is not from doing anything?’
Quote from Simple Living Global – International Day of Happiness – March 2017
I can honestly say that I am experiencing more and more JOY these days.
What has changed?
I feel that my commitment to life has increased so I am more committed to work, more open in my relationships and I am more committed to taking care of and honouring me.
With that comes so much revitalised energy as I am less emotional, less holding onto things and more and more appreciative of who I am and what I bring to the world. There is a quality of beauty inside of me and I am making choices to honour and value that, rather than dim it down or try and hide it away by being emotional.
A colleague asked me yesterday how my day was and I could genuinely say that I really enjoyed it.
I am having more and more days like that where nothing feels in my way.
“Good relationships keep us happier and healthier….
People who are socially connected with friends and family live longer and are healthier too.
People that are more socially isolated than they want to be are:
Their health declines earlier in mid-life
Their brain functioning declines sooner and
They live shorter lives than people who are not lonely.”
Robert Waldinger, a director of a recent 80 year research study and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School (TED TALK)
The above are some of the key messages from the study that was started in 1938.
Waldinger is also quoted as saying in this article –
“Loneliness kills. It’s as powerful as smoking and alcoholism.”
I have to say I was not surprised reading any of this as I know that by me choosing to stay open to others and forming close relationships it has had a huge impact on my health and well-being.
My life is much richer, I feel Joy daily and I am much more confident and knowing of who I am and the value that I bring to the world as a result.
Building close relationships where we can be honest and open is definitely a key for true happiness.
I love your comment Alexandre. I know for sure that I could never settle for happiness ever again. I live with a daily Joy in my body and my life is so rich. Others may not think so if they were to look at the material things that I have, but when I say that life is rich there is just an absolute Joy in my heart to wake up in the morning everyday, knowing who I am. There is a rich inner connection that just fuels me and provides the vitality levels needed to do my job and more.
I have so much fun everyday and a colleague even said to me last week that they missed my smile when I was off for a few days and that even in difficult times the smile is still there.
I have no plans in life and cannot tell you of any life goals, but what I can say is that I will only continue to deepen in this Joy, knowing that there is so much more to be expressed with everyone that I meet. For someone who used to have regular suicidal thoughts this really is a miracle. If it is possible for me it is possible for anyone.
However none of this has come without hard work and commitment. A commitment to drop the things including behaviours that were harming me and others and to lock in a new way of living that was supportive. I started with going to bed earlier on a regular basis, letting go of alcohol and not eating gluten and dairy and then other things have been dropped like saying more what I feel, being honest with myself and others, sharing my love for people and not holding it back, letting go of hurts realising there was something inside of me to let out (Joy) that was bigger than any hurt and the list goes on.
The Guardian – 4th January 2020
Focusing on Happiness Could Leave You More Depressed
According to research, having your heart set on happiness could leave you down in the dumps – at least if you come from the western world.
The study, which was carried out among students living in the UK, found that those that said they valued happiness extremely highly tended to show greater signs of depression.
The researchers say a similar link between excessively valuing happiness and signs of depression had been found in the US, but it was not clear if it would also hold true in the UK.
A doctor and co-author of this paper from the University of Reading said: “When you value happiness too much, you become too attentive to your emotions, and you also struggle with regulating them in a good way. I just found this fascinating – that people who want to be happy are actually the ones that are not happy.”
The results, published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, revealed that those who valued happiness more had higher scores for symptoms of depression.
The link appears, at least in part, to be down to individuals becoming distracted by their feelings or emotional situations, and a lower ability to reframe thoughts or experiences.
The link between valuing satisfaction and moments of depression was also in part down to bottling up emotions.
It is said that happiness is a state of mind. If that is the case, it means happiness lies within our control to increase or decrease it.
But is it possible then, that happiness becomes too subjective?
What makes one person find happiness, another will think it’s their worst nightmare.
Is it possible that we attribute happiness to something that is outside of ourselves?
This means, do we see happiness as material gains like a job promotion, having financial security, a new relationship, a big holiday, a fancy new car, going to the cinema or theatre, having a great meal, vegging out in front of the TV, etc?
Is it possible that if we value happiness highly and we get depressed more, it is because we have pictures of what we want or expect, and those pictures don’t manifest themselves in the way we want?
It makes sense that we become depressed if we value happiness highly simply because we look to the outside to give us that happiness or satisfaction.
What if, instead of looking outside of ourselves for our happiness or satisfaction, we choose to look deeper inside of ourselves?
Is it possible then, we would become joyful with what we have, valuing and appreciate all that we have and we wouldn’t feel the need to have any level of happiness or satisfaction and instead, walk with that contentment in our lives?
Could it be possible that because happiness is subjective, it cannot be sustained.
Business Insider – 21st January 2020
Psychedelic Drugs Study Show Health Benefits
Researchers went to festivals to study psychedelic drugs and found they left people feeling happy and connected hours after the high wore off.
• 1,200 Americans and Brits self reported feelings of positivity and increased social connectedness while on psychedelics
• The study took place over a series of music festivals, where participants said they had transformative experiences.
• This is part of a resurgence in research on psychedelics and their possible health benefits.
As psychedelics are being embraced as a potential treatment for mental health conditions, new research suggests that mind-altering substances like ‘magic’ mushrooms leave people feeling positive and socially connected hours after the high wears off.
The study by Yale University, surveying 1,200 Brits and Americans at six music festivals, provided evidence to support lab-based research that psychedelic drugs can boost wellbeing.
Each person was asked whether they’d had a transformative experience at the festival – defined as “an experience that changes you so profoundly that you come out of the experience radically different than you were before the experience” – and, if so, whether they enjoyed it.
The researchers found that the results were strongest in people who’d taken the drugs in the last 24 hours, though most seemed to be experiencing an “after glow” hours after the effects should have worn off. They found people who had taken psychedelics were more likely to feel positive, and some even experienced a shift in their moral values.
The team of researchers could not verify which drug each person was taking, how much of it and whether it was mixed with other substances, but even their general findings were useful, echoing results in previous controlled laboratory studies that found psychedelics make us feel socially connected.
“Psychedelics are being embraced as a potential treatment for mental health conditions”.
Let’s say we give someone that has mental health issues a psychedelic drug. They will feel happy while the high is there but, when the high wears off, is it possible that their mental health issues have now been buried further into their bodies?
And do we keep giving them these drugs to keep them ‘happy’?
Is it possible that those that attend these festivals are already in a good frame of ‘positivity and connectedness’?
Is it possible that any results from these studies are going to show the benefits of psychedelics due to the very nature of these drugs?
Is it possible that these psychedelic drugs are simply doing what they are supposed to do – to chill you out – to stop you from worrying/stressing over life?
Is it possible that the reason these drugs will “make us feel socially connected” is because the drugs have allowed us to drop all of our prejudices and judgements?
Hello – Is it possible that these studies are a complete waste of time?
Do we have to wonder and ask questions about who is funding this type of research?
Yes, of course, if we take these psychedelic drugs, they are going to give us a high and make us feel happy, which may give the appearance of having health benefits – but at what cost to our bodies?
Any drug we put into our bodies is going to take us away from our natural state and with all drugs, there are side effects.
What possible, TRUE, health benefits can be gained from a substance that takes us away from our natural state?