What is the one thing that all 7.9 billion people in the world are chasing? The one thing you want in life is Happiness, we all crave it. There was a time and it was a spiritual experience, today happiness is an industry worth over $4.2 trillion dollar. Everyone is selling it and in the last three years alone 3.4 million people have enrolled themselves for online course of happiness. There are 151 million Instagram posts with #happiness, 1 million posts with #happinessisachoice, a fairy tale promise happily ever after, there is merchandise selling happiness with big bold letters, notebook covers remind you to choose happiness. Honestly who wouldn’t like to be happy.
What exactly is happiness? Where do we find it?
Hindu scriptures say humans can only temporarily secure happiness on Earth, this is by pursuing the Purusharthas, the four chief purposes of human life- Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha. The permanent happiness according to Hinduism is only in the highest heaven and for that we must update liberation. Islam says happiness is a life-long process that includes peace of mind, tranquility of heart, contentment in the world and everlasting bliss hereafter. The followers of Moses dreamt happiness as the ultimate goal of man, they say the pursuit of happiness is a moral duty. ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ is also mentioned in the US declaration of Independence. Today atleast two hundred universities including the University of Cambridge have researched institutes dedicated to study ‘Happiness’ and yet happiness remains one of the least understood unsubjected terms.
A good cup of coffee is happiness, a good weather is happiness, evening well-spent is happiness, a good movie is happiness, the end of pandemic is happiness. It is actually that simple and attainable and yet it’s complicated and seemingly hard to get, that we need books, videos, music, podcasts to help us find happiness. Finland is the world’s happiest country, people living there spend more time in the nature, the people love swimming, reading and eating well. In Japan, happiness is linked to the idea as good luck and social harmony, in US, happiness is linked to freedom and personal achievement but in China, there is certain aversion to happiness too. It is believed that relentless pursuit of happiness or too much happiness can bring unhappiness.
Can happiness be measured? No. We use comparison to measure happiness but that’s not how research works. Scientists working on happiness have developed scales to measure it. For example, The Steen Happiness index which includes twenty items. We are expected to read them and select the ones that describe as best. There is Subjective Happiness scale, The Happiness scale by Fordyce. There is a myth- a lot of us think that money and travel equals to happiness, we maybe wrong. Science says that we can buy happiness, money becomes big factor in long-term happiness only if you are struggling to attain your needs, otherwise money has very little to do with sustainable happiness. Costa Rica has only one-fifth of the wealth of America and yet it is the 16th happiest country in the world. Costa Rica spends approximately 8 percent of GDP on education and the country’s top university is funded by the government. Science says it is not possible for people to be constantly happy all the time, it is only normal to feel sad all the time, it is also unhealthy to seek a happily ever-after. We wouldn’t grow unless we experience all of them.