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Happiness means different things for different people. This notwithstanding, every person is concerned about being happy. Drawing from a study by Radwan (1), defining what happiness is a very difficult task. For certain people, happiness is as a result of being content. It is a unique reaction by a person who feels that everything is going the way he or she desires. To some, it is a feeling that one experiences after attaining set goals.
According to Carlin and Capps (185), most people tend to describe happiness in ways that are quite vivid than definitions of happiness. Despite the fact that people have no problem identifying an expression of happiness when they come across one, no agreement on definitions of happiness exists. This view is also supported by Selin and Davey (294), who argued that defining happiness has been complicated by the fact that no common measurement parameters exist.
Personal View about Happiness
A major challenge when it comes to defining happiness has to do with the fact that it has many different faces (Lawrence and Lawrence 6). Despite the huge interest expressed by people in happiness and how to define it, it is very rare that most people will spend time thinking about the concept. Personally, I believe that happiness should be defined as that experience that causes an individual to feel alive. Despite the fact that defining happiness is complicated, there are certain things that can be said about happiness.
First, happiness depends on an individual’s way of looking at things. By and large, what makes one person happy may not trigger happiness in another person. For instance, while money will bring happiness to some people, it may not create happiness for others. Secondly, happiness may be realized by a person who gets what meets a need in his or her life. An individual who is financially insecure may experience happiness when he or she finally gets a job with a stable income. I am also of the opinion that happiness just occurs as people go about their businesses.
I strongly believe that true happiness always comes from within a person. It is a feeling of self assurance. While some people are of the opinion that individuals are the best judges of their own happiness, others are convinced that outsiders are better placed when it comes to judging happiness. Unlike the happiness that is from within, happiness due to external factors is bound to disappear after sometime. For example, any happiness that is as a result of one having all the money he or she desires to have fades away when the money gets depleted. While some people will be happy because they have money and everything else they may require, others are not bothered with material wealth and will be happy with or without money.
Suggestions on How to be Happy
In order to maximize happiness, nations and communities should put a number of things into consideration when formulating public policies. Among other things, policy makers should come up with plans to ensure that individuals can get rid of all negative emotions that often lead to unhappiness. It is also imperative for policy makers to see to it that public policies include a training component about happiness. Without a doubt, it is necessary to train everyone about happiness and how to go about getting happiness. As has already been explained, one approach of creating happiness in an individual is to ensure that all bad feelings are done away with. Through training, individuals may also be advised on the best way possible to determine what creates happiness for them.
Another requirement for an individual’s happiness is the ability for one to think positively. It is therefore important for policy makers to figure out how to encourage people to be positive thinkers even in the face of serious challenges. As pointed out by Radwan (1), being positive opens an avenue for an individual to be hopeful and this in turn leads to a feeling of happiness. For an individual to increase his or her level of happiness, it is necessary to be aware of the things that make him or her happy. Nations and communities can take advantage of this fact to help people to be happy. Policy makers should be tasked with the responsibility of coming up with policies that lead to the creation of an environment that leads to the availability of those things that make people happy.
A number of factors have been identified as having an impact on the happiness of individuals (Selin and Davey 297). They include income, security, democracy, freedom, culture, and values. Although the actual connection between income and happiness is not very clear, research undertaken by some research professionals indicate that the level of an individual’s income has a huge effect on his or her happiness. According to McEachern (180), happiness is a basic human right that cannot be taken away from an individual and improving the economy is one strategy that a nation or a community can adopt to create happiness. Arguably, the same can also be said about democracy and happiness. In addition, culture plays a very important role in determining a person’s level of happiness. For this reason, it is imperative for policy makers to think about integrating these factors in the formulation of policies that are meant to promote happiness in people’s lives. Security is equally important when considering happiness and state governments must see to it that people live in a secure environment. According to Biswas-Diener (76), every development should be geared towards promoting happiness in the society.
Without a doubt, happiness is a very important need for every human being. For this reason, efforts must be made to come up with policies that will create a healthy environment for happiness to be realized. State governments are therefore expected to do everything possible to create an environment where individuals can be free to pursue happiness. Security also plays a critical role in promoting happiness.
Biswas-Diener, Robert. Positive Psychology as Social Change. Amherst, MA: Springer Science & Business Media, 2011. Print.
Carlin, Nathan and Donald Capps. 100 Years of Happiness: Insights and Findings from the Experts. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2012. Print.
Lawrence, Denis And Anne Lawrence. Happiness Makes You Healthy: Research and Practice. USA, Lulu, 2013. Print.
McEachern, William. Macroeconomics: A Contemporary Approach. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.
Radwan, Farouk. Definition of Happiness and How to be Happy in Life. 2014. Web.
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Selin, Helaine and Gareth Davey. Happiness across Cultures: Views of Happiness and Quality of Life in Non-Western Cultures, Amherst, MA: Springer Science & Business Media, 2012. Print.