ARE YOU HAPPY? By D. B. Mauldin
Happiness is a ‘fuzzy concept’ meaning different things to different people. Happiness is often described as an emotional or mental state of well-being. It is characterized by pleasant or positive emotion ranging from contentment to joy. Happiness is of such importance to the human condition that it was deemed to be an unalienable right by the United States Declaration of Independence; “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. Happiness is considered a virtue.
Biological, philosophical, psychological, and religious thinkers define happiness, not as an emotion, but in terms of living a good life or flourishing.
Some research groups apply the scientific method to answer the question, “What is happiness?” Economics simply measure public happiness. Emotional reports distinguish a positive or a negative affect, but many regard positive and negative affects to carry different information and needs to be measured and analyzed separately.
The ‘2012 World Happiness Report’ stated subjective well-being measures and primary distinctions are between cognitive life evaluations and emotional reports. Happiness is used in life evaluations, (How happy are you with your life?), and emotional reports, (How happy are you?).
Happiness and positive emotions benefit long-term health. Well-being was found to produce an overall lower cortisol level, lower plasma fibrinogen levels, and lower heart rates. Happy people live 14% longer, increasing longevity 7.5 to 10 years.
Are you happy? Don’t answer too quickly. Sit with this question for a long time and you’ll be introduced to brand new dimensions of who you are and of what matters in your life.
“It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.”
– Agnes Repplier
“Happiness comes only when we push our brains and hearts to the farthest reaches of which we are capable.”
– Leo C. Rosten