What Defines Happiness

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Happiness is like a butterfly;

the more you chase it,

the more it will elude you,

but if you turn your attention

to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.

(Thoreau)

What is happiness? Is it showing or causing a feeling of great pleasure? Or is it having joy, being glad, or being pleased? What is happiness to you? Everyone finds happiness in their own way, whether it’s going to the movies, shopping, eating, or just relaxing in front of the TV. We often seek happiness in the jobs we work, the bacon we make, and the relationships we’ve established. Since America is “Home of the Free,” Americans should ultimately be happy right? Well surprisingly only 69% of Americans are truly happy, and we’re not even rated in the top 5 happiest countries which include: Nigeria, Venezuela, and even Puerto Rico. But we’ve failed to ask ourselves, “Is happiness everything?” What would happen to the world if the only emotion we possessed was happiness? Would the world crumble, or would it be a better place? Would you choose to be happy for the rest of your life, or would you let the opportunity pass you by?

Life is full of disappointments and let downs, and where this leaves 31% of Americans unhappy, it opens the door for depression and anger to swamp the remaining individuals. But is happiness and contentment in material things the answer to our unhappiness? Being happy all the time would really take away from life. If society were always happy, there would be no room to be excited, scared, or even nervous. We would have a bland slate of emotions, grey in personality, and just plain boring people to be around.

I look at happiness like a tool. Some people choose to use it everyday, and others leave it in the toolbox until they feel the need to use it. What not only America is looking for, but the world, is bigger than any emotion, any paycheck, and any relationship. What we must cope with is that happiness is not the answer, and what we’re looking for is life to the lives which we live, and to me that’s bigger than any emotion- including happiness.

Top 5 Sources of Happiness:

  1. Health
  2. Family
  3. Love
  4. Friends
  5. Financial Security

Top 2 Reasons We’re Unhappy:

  1. Discontent
  2. Belief in synthetic happiness
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