Exploration of the Roots of Happiness

Published: 2023-01-11 12:27:05
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University of California, Santa Barbara
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Research paper
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Every person experiences happiness in different forms. Some people believe that achieving great wealth as well as being able to buy everything the ever desired will make them happy. Others believe that having a great relationship with their peers and family will make them joyous while others find their happiness from simple tasks such as listening to music and reading a good book. Some people also find their joy from making other people happy whether it is through actions such as feeding the homeless or randomly complimenting strangers on the road. I believe that the primary goal in life is to achieve happiness. My happiness comes from my family, health, and contentment. I also derive my joy from accomplishments that are achieved after completing a challenging task.

Some people believe that happiness results from their relationships with their family, friends, pets or spouses. The personal relationships help an individual to have a person that they can rely on as family, friends and even pets are available when a person needs them. An individual's relationship with their pet can be a good source of happiness as the presence of the pet, or a domestic animal reduces the chances of a person feeling lonely. For instance in the song "Happier" by Marshmello and Bastille, the parents know that buying a pet dog for their daughter will be a great birthday gift that will make her happy and will keep her company even when they are not around hence the phrase "I want to raise your spirits, I want to see you smile" (line 13-14 ). Pet owners can talk to their pets to get a conducive and friendly ear as well as a warm welcome when they get home from work when they are sick, lonely or even sad. Furthermore, Corinne Sweet explains that having a close connection with a pet can release 'feel good' biochemicals like oxytocins and endorphins that help to relax the owners to the point that they feel happier and calmer while at home (Elsworthy par. 11).

Family, friends, and spouses can also be a source of happiness for an individual. A person much relies on their relationships with their parents, friends, and spouse to be happy. For instance, troubles at home with the family or a spouse may stress an individual in such a way that they are not satisfied. However, good relations make an individual more relaxed, happy and eager to go home after work. Furthermore, good relationships between a person and friends, spouse and family help to build the confidence of an individual as they know they have people that they can rely on for support and they have people who make them happy. People become more thrilled and relieved when they know they have reliable friends and family whom they can rely on during stressful and disappointing situations. Friends are identified as a person's second family, and for some people, they are the first friends. Friends can assist in severe conditions as they can provide solid back up through such cases. Every person wants to have a good friend that they know they can rely on during difficulties or with whom they can share their time. The presence of good friends helps people to have a more profound social life since friends provide an opportunity to meet new friends and share beautiful memories that are worthwhile and further make people happy.

Aside from family, pets, friends, and spouse, religion can also be identified as a source of happiness for some individuals. Though the relationship between religion and happiness is dependent on the societal circumstances, individuals who practice religion record that they are more fulfilled and thus happier. For instance, Viv, after experiencing grief when she won the lottery ticket, joined Jehovah's Witness. She recorded that "I am quite happy with my lot, I am a happy chappy, and I can make any situation happy" (Diener and Biswas-Diener 165). However, the impact of religion on the level of an individual's happiness depends on the living condition of society and the state at large. For instance, individuals experiencing severe living conditions may practice religion as a religion is associated with greater well-being.

The central source of my happiness is my family and friends. The relationship that I have built with my family and friends has helped me get through the toughest times in my life and at the same time, find an honest company that celebrates with me when I am happy. I am proud of my family as they made me be the person that I am through their support, advice and everything they have taught me including manners, household chores, and morals. Generally, parents are expected to provide the most basic form of happiness to their children to a while at the same time inculcating morals and behaviors that the child can use later in life. For instance, Pausch describes that his childhood was magical as their parents instilled the unique culture and the need to know more "If you have a question," my folks would say, "then find the answer" (Pausch 22). My family provides me with necessities, and I consider everything they have done for me as a luxury since I am aware that not everyone gets a similar treatment. My family and friends also provide a sense of security and comfort as I am aware that I am not alone and I have people whom I can share my thoughts, and they would listen without judging me. I enjoy joking around and making fun comments with my family and friends, and that brings a smile on my face.

Society views an individual's happiness in terms of wealth and status. Though the definition can vary as per personal perceptions of life, the majority of the society sometimes equate happiness to material objects instead of the internal state of a person. The community can also misinterpret the meaning of joy as they make it be something that is available only to the rich or people who live richly or have characteristics of a perfect life as "rich people are happier than their poor counterparts; don't let anyone tell you differently" (164). When most people think about money and happiness, they tend to remember the nice things that money can buy such as a lovely house and car as well as better education. However, most people do not analyze the emotional well-being of wealthy individuals and only focus on the physical aspects of happiness that money provides. The issue on whether money or richness equates to happiness has become one of the most debated on the topic since "the answer to the burning question of money and happiness is more complicated than a simple answer of yes or no. If it were that easy, individuals would not answer the question" (Diener& Biswas-Diener 161).

In today's society, there are more rich people than there were in the past decades since riches are more accessible. Moreover, since happiness is based on the view of different individuals, people cannot be judged on whether they are happy in terms of what is or is not satisfied in their lives. According to Diener and Biswas-Diener, "it is difficult to draw from conclusions about the money-happiness relationships from isolated instances" (165). For some people, money may bring happiness and contentment such as lottery winners who spent their money wisely. However, in most cases, money results in more misery than joy. Nevertheless, this conclusion cannot be complete as every instance, or money-happiness relationship has two sides. For example, according to Diener and Biswas-Diener, money has two effects on Viv Johnson who was a lottery winner "it might be argued that her lottery wins caused her grief, or it might be said that they led her to a place of satisfaction." (165).

The emotional well-being of an individual also has to be considered when analyzing the money-happy relationship. Diener& Biswas-Diener point out that "rich people may sacrifice other types of wealth to get money, and sometimes develop unhappy attitudes on their way to making their fortunes" (160-161). The presence of money or pursuit of cash may result in unhappy individuals who are estranged from their family and friends. For instance, Viv became estranged with her friends as they did not want society to assume that they were friends with her simply because she had money (165). This notion is correct as the majority of the people make a mistake of mixing their friendship with money or materialistic values as they will only serve to ruin the relationship. Furthermore, the prejudice that wealth means high status, responsibility, and greed that prevents the average people from being friends with rich people. Also, the isolation of the rich people from others may also be attributed to the insecurities that are associated with wealth. For instance, rich people are often subjected to cases of burglaries or hijackings in attempt to extract some of their wealth. This factor makes them unhappy, and as a result, they choose to isolate themselves since they are not sure who they should trust. Isolation is not the best option and often results in loneliness, and therefore the individual becomes unhappy.

On a more positive note, some research points out that there is a positive relationship between income and happiness. The conclusion that money cannot buy happiness is wrong since income has a positive relationship with joy (Peterson par. 1). Income enables an individual to afford particular necessities in life such as food, clothes and a beautiful house. Additionally, an individual can also use some of their income to pay for vacations. However, Patterson also points out that "as income increases, its added contribution to life satisfaction reduces" (par. 1). From this notion, it is clear that the most significant impact of additional income is most effective on the people who have little income but does not reduce its significance even after the individual can meet their basic needs. Therefore, even though money is not an essential contributor to the happiness of an individual, I believe that it does matter since it is better to have it than to lack.

The relationship between the work environment and happiness is one that has been under scrutiny for too long. Though it is understandable that an individual needs to work to get an income that will help them to pay the bills, happiness focuses on the state of being that individual experiences while at work. The feeling of satisfaction and joy are considered most when addressing the relationship of an individual's happiness at work. For instance, people who are happy at work are bound to record high performance at their workplace. Happiness at the workplace is essential as it is where an individual spends the majority of their time. Therefore, people need to be careful about the career choices they make sdue to the fact that a job that is not fulfilling may distract an individual from being happy, as they are miserable.

I think that the most crucial aspect of a job is how satisfied I am when doing my job. Having a job that I do not like may make a person develop negative attitudes towards work, and in the end, the person starts to resent his or her life. Even though working hours and compensation packages matter in attaining job satisfaction, the most critical factor is to identify whether the job is fulfilling and if it offers nonmonetary compensations such as paid vacations, health insurance as well as a retirement benefit. According to Parker-Pope "The study, published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, showed that the largest boost in happiness comes from the simple act of planning a vacation. In the study, the effect of vacation anticipation boosted happiness for eight weeks" (par. 3). Even though this is a minor boost in happiness, increasing the chances that individuals can get away serves to boost the levels of joy further. For instance, instead of taking a two or three-week vacation, an individual can choose three different vacati...

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