One of the most important inner feelings in a person is happiness, mainly because happiness makes a person feel good and satisfied. Indeed, happiness is one of the emotions that people can find in many things, for example, in relationship with their families. Again, it is always obvious that when people do something good, they automatically tend to become happy.
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People prefer to be happy because happiness provides them with many good results. To begin with, when one is happy, his or her health will improve, and this positive effect on health will probably lead to prolonged life. Happiness also provides protection against some serious diseases, for example, those who are always happy are less likely to suffer from diseases like heart attack or depression. Lastly, when someone is happy, it is always easy for him/her to make new friends, since happiness makes people look very attractive (Helliwell, 2008).
Besides, it is always true that those who are happy can easily help others, mainly because happiness brings satisfaction to people. Various factors make one to become happy. In most cases, people always consider money as one of the things that will provide happiness; however, this is not always the case.
In the subsequent sections, this paper will provide discussion on how gender, education level and the number of children influence happiness. Therefore, the paper will try to establish whether happiness is directly related to gender or education level and whether the number of children an individual has can influence the degree of his or her happiness.
Most of the recent studies have shown that there is great influence of gender on happiness (Simon, 2008). Happiness is a state of mind that many researchers always argue about – that anybody can be happy. Contrary to this statement, researchers have found that females nowadays are less happy than males (Helliwell, 2008).
In addition, studies have shown that married men tend to be happier than married women are (Easterlin, 2008). This is attributed to the fact that nowadays, the expectations put on women have increased, mainly due to the extensive and numerous empowerment programs accorded to women.
In the past, women were happy compared to men, but this has changed currently especially due to various marital conflicts facing women and men. Another factor that makes women less happy than men is the responsibility of taking care of children, which has always been reserved for women; this role increases stress in women, especially those whose jobs or careers are very demanding.
One of the arguments is that women have more intensive workload due to their empowerment; as a result, today’s women tend to work extra hard and extra hours, leading to no or limited time for others and their families, and consequently bringing less happiness to them.
According to Helliwell (2008), suicides, depressions, and self-destructive behaviors have risen among females recently, mainly due to the stressful life they tend to live. The argument is that as they play double roles of professional engagement and caring for family, they become very stressed and unhappy; indeed, those living in single parenthood are even more unhappy, as they do not have anyone to share family responsibility with.
Most researchers have found that there is direct link between education and happiness. According to Roberts (2013), high level of education results to good living environment in terms of income, status, and even wealth which brings happiness. High level of education allows one to attain significant status in the society, leading to respect and happiness, which in turn leads to enjoyment of societal goods and resources.
In addition, those who have high level of education have more knowledge and they are more aware of their surroundings, thereby tending to enjoy most of the available resources. Besides, high education leads to possibilities of good employment and income, thereby making those who can afford education to be happier than those who are less educated (Verducci, 2013).
Overall, high level of education leads to higher income, which allows an individual to access most of things he or she desires, thus increasing happiness. Education level again has direct impact on the degree of happiness, mainly because high education is highly valued in the society, leading to self-confidence, and consequently raising the status of those who have high learning status (Verducci, 2013).
The Number of Children
Different scholars have done research on the relationship between happiness and the number of children in different families. According to Easterlin (2008), the number of children a family has is inversely proportional to the level of happiness the family will enjoy; this shows that the higher the number of children, the less happy the family will be.
However, the birth of the first child always has a strong and positive effect on females’ happiness (Luis, 2010). On the male counterparts, the degree of happiness does not vary so much with the number of children unless they are helping the females to take care of the children.
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Again, according to Gobbo & Raccanello (2007), the degree of happiness always reduces during development stages of a child up to the time the child reaches around 10 years. After teenage age, the degree of happiness increases steadily again in the family when the children have grown up.
It is also found out that the increase in number of children leads to lack of love in the family and later leads to decline in the degree of happiness (Luis, 2010). In some cases, having many children gives the parents, especially the female ones, emotional benefits, leading to increased happiness. Nevertheless, it is clear that increase in number of children lowers the degree of happiness, especially on the side of females (Gobbo & Raccanello, 2007).
Overall, it is important to note that the first child normally brings joy to the family, but subsequent children increase the level of stress in parents, leading to reduced happiness. According to Gobbo & Raccanello (2007), there is always a direct link between happiness and the physical health of an individual.
There are three hypotheses that need to be examined. The first hypothesis is that females especially women are less happy than their male counterparts are, because happiness is an emotional feeling and females are more likely to be emotional most of the times compared to males. This always affects their happiness and with marital conflicts and childcare issues being their predominant roles, women are always likely to face more problems and challenges than men are (Helliwell, 2008).
The second hypothesis is that the level of education has direct effect on the degree of happiness. Those who have higher level of education are more likely to be happier than those who have lower level of education.
The last hypothesis is that increase in number of children is more likely to reduce happiness in people, because many children come with extra cost that must be paid, for example, school fees, clothes and foodstuff. This generally causes the affected families to have reduced happiness as they spend most of the time figuring out how to provide for the extended number of children (Easterlin, 2008).
As discussed above, happiness is an inner feeling and it depends on various factors. Although gender, education level, and number of children contribute to some degree of happiness, it is important to realize that thoughts and other feelings enhance peace of mind, leading to happiness (Luis, 2010).
Again, it is important to understand that wealth and money do not guarantee happiness, as one may have a lot of wealth, but live a stressful life due to social and emotional factors. Moreover, although the above factors (gender, education and children) tend to influence the level of happiness, one thing is for sure, that happiness is an individual choice and since it provides good health and well-being, it is critical that people be taught on better ways to find happiness (Easterlin, 2008).
Happiness requires making the right choices; for women, it is important that they lower their degree of expectations as well as change their thinking and attitudes in order to be happy. Males on the other hand should try to change their attitudes and thoughts on the values and ideas that bring about happiness, as this will enable them to become happy (Easterlin, 2008).
Easterlin, R. A. (2008). Life cycle happiness and its sources: Capabilities and happiness. New York: Oxford University Press.
Gobbo, C., & Raccanello, D. (2007). How children narrate happy and sad events: does affective state count? Applied Cognitive Psychology, 21(9), 1173-1190.
Helliwell, J. F. (2008). Combining individual and national variables to explain subjective well-being. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Luis, A. (2010). Children and Life Satisfaction. Journal of Happiness Studies, 11(4), 523-538
Roberts, P. (2013). Happiness, Despair and Education. Studies in Philosophy & Education, 32(5), 53-475.
Simon, R. (2008, June). Who are Happier: Men or Women? Gender Issues, 25 (2), 141-143
Verducci, S. (2013). Happiness and Education: Tilting at windmills? Educational Philosophy & Theory, 45(5), 498-501.