4 January, 2018
Happiness is a basic human right that many state institutions are paying attention to. It is mentioned in the US Constitution; the Bhutan Kingdom does not measure its gross domestic product but its gross nation’s happiness; in the UAE there is a ministry of happiness; one of the largest states in India - Madhya Pradesh this year also created a Happiness Division for its citizens. The matter of Happiness has begun to spread steadily in our lives - the UN has released its first report on happiness in 2012 and since then every year in March / April we are looking forward to finding out which are the happiest countries. The UN also announced 20 March as World Happiness Day. From everywhere, they bother us with books, articles and videos about the importance in our lives of joy, prosperity and happiness.
Still, many people do not stop wondering - what social or personal happiness are we talking about, as there are so many poor, illiterate people in the world who live in poverty. Every day we witness natural disasters that break down everything and turn people's lives. It is normal to feel that the search for personal happiness is somehow selfish or that we have no right to be happy while we are surrounded by that much suffering.
On the one hand, this is right, but on the other - is completely wrong. Searching for happiness may be selfish and there is indeed a lot of suffering and misery in the world. But we also have several good reasons to look for and discover happiness. Here they are:
1. Happiness is contagious
Have you seen them: those cheerful and joyful people? They enter the room smiling and everything changes for the better. This can be a family member, a friend, a teacher, a colleague, even a pet! They illuminate the room and make us feel more cosy and joyful. It is true that happiness literally infects others. Our well-being has a huge impact on everyone around us. Research shows that the well-being of parents improves children's health, and the happiness of our loved one can help in our treatment. But did you know that our happiness also affects strangers that we will never meet, like the mother of our best friend? A study of researchers at Harvard University and the University of California at San Diego documented how happiness spreads in our social environment. They found that when a person is happy, his close friends have a 25% greater chance of being happy. "The daily relationship we have with other people is definitely contagious in terms of happiness," says Nicholas Christakis, professor at the Harvard Medical Faculty, author of the study. In addition, he says that, surprisingly, this effect extends beyond the people we communicate with. When a person is happy, the effect can spread into his social network to 3 levels - reaching friends of friends.
2. Happiness brings out the best of you
When we say or do something that we later regret, for example, by reacting too nervously, we often use the phrase "Well, I was not myself that day because I was ____ (fill in the empty place: tired / drunk / stressed ... "). But when we are happy, we often feel exemplary, because happiness puts us in our best light.
Why? Because instead of focusing on ourselves, our attention is liberated and we can see others. Barbara Fredrickson of the University of North Carolina finds in her study that when we are disappointed, we think above all about ourselves, worrying and depressed moods lead to an increase in self-centeredness and the closure of the personality. But when we are experiencing positive emotions, our outlook is expanding and we are more easily in touch with others, we connect with them as we look at things in a broader perspective.
Think about it, on a "bloody" day, we can get so angry with ourselves that we do not even notice a friend passing by us. On the contrary, when we feel superior, we are more likely to notice that someone needs help and we can help them. (Ironically, a great way to increase our happiness is to be empathetic and to help others.)
3. Happiness makes us more successful at work.
Happiness is not only productive among friends and family, but also in our working environment. Psychologist Jonathan Hyde and his colleagues are doing business research and found out that when managers are fair and self-serving, their employees are more motivated and kinder with their colleagues. As a result, they are more effective and loyal to the company. In other words, if we are happy leaders, we inspire our people to work better to make the world a better place (and the icing on the cake: They are more loyal to us!).
What does this mean? We create a culture of happiness! Our happiness is not important and useful to us alone, being happy is the most selfless act we can do to improve the environment around us.