The Key to Happiness

This post concerns the  most vital and universal of human needs: happiness. I find that many people, myself included at times, tend view happiness as something complicated and untenable – it can be elusive, fickle, and difficult to maintain. It may seem crude to say this given how most of us in the modern world have it far better than the majority of our fellow humans.

But the reality is that the developed world, even upon attaining a better quality of life materially speaking, still grapples with the existential and philosophical questions about human satisfaction. No matter how lucky we are to be largely un-tainted by the misery of poverty, disease, and oppression, we can’t seem to find happiness.

I am of course no exception to this, having grappled with bouts of depression and anxiety throughout many periods of my life. Over the years, thought,  I’ve found through both experience and research that being happy requires nothing profound or intangible. On the contrary, it can be attained in some of the cheapest and simplest ways.

Never underestimate the value of a hug, a smile, a compliment, or even just listening to someone’s problems. All these things can make a person’s day, and even science is finding that we indeed become measurably more content and relaxed upon receiving them. We’re social creates by nature, and thus being recipients to positive social interactions – even by indirect means such as through Facebook or text – can make us feel comfortable, secure, and pleased.

Basically, as the saying goes, it’s the little things in life that matter. If someone is done, try to offer an ear, a joke, or – if permitted – a nice warm hug. If you’re down, seek these little things out, and surround yourself with positive and loving people. Obviously, the nature of your discontent – such as immense grief or clinical depression – can render such solutions moot. But it never hurts to try. Why pass up such basic and undemanding solutions to human sadness?

All this reminds me of a wonderful campaign that I’m very tempted to emulate:

From what I’m seeing elsewhere on YouTube, it’s catching on across the world. That’s good – we need more people to understand this.

4 comments on “The Key to Happiness

  1. I believe the main reason for being on earth is not to be happy, but to learn. Being happy is not always accomplished, or lasts only temporarily, which is why I believe is not the reason for being. However, we always learn something, either favorable or unfavorably, but always learning.

    • Thanks for commenting. I agree. To me, learning and being happy are inseparable. The more I learn – be it through personal experience or scholarly study – the more meaning and happiness I derive. I think human interactions and other things that leas to happiness are a part of the learning process of life: the new sounds, sights, feelings, and experiences that make life worth living.

  2. Happiness: That indescribably wonderful incredible feeling of fulfillment, within, that swells up from the heart when we are connected to the power of our breath with a feeling of appreciation and gratitude for the life that we have been given. More commonly known as love. With that feeling, everything is right with the world and our soul is in peace.

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