Who can answer the question: 'What happiness is?' People may not believe that the feeling of happiness needs a clear definition. In research, is used the term “Subjective well-being” where humans are asked to replay the level of satisfaction in their lives considering the levels of positive and negative emotions. Sonja Lyubomirsky describes happiness as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile”, (GreaterGood, 2021).
"I believe that we learn more when lighting candles than when cursing the darkness." M. Seligman
M. Seligman calls “Positive Psychology” the study of three different happy lives: a. The Pleasant life, which is about the positive emotions, b. The Good life concerning positive traits such as strengths and virtues and particular talents of humans, c. The Meaningful life is related to positive institutions, strong family, independent research (Seligman, 2004). When teaching Positive Psychology, Seligman noticed remarkable positive results in his students' intellectual performance. As a result, he expanded this field of research and teaching to professionals like clinical psychologists, social workers, or life coaches (Seligman, 2004).
In "World Happiness Report 2021", a crucial characteristic is a worldwide situation during the effects of the Covid-19 transmission; a significant issue during pandemic and lockdowns is mental health. For instance, in the UK, a large decline in mental health was noticed, this appeared higher in the groups that had already faced problems such as women, young people, and poor people. After the serious decline, there was an improvement; yet till September 2020, did not go back to where it started. An important characteristic of these facts is that during the pandemic the social awareness about mental health issues was developed.
An aspect of well-being in "World Happiness Report 2021" during the pandemic, is the questioning of emotions. The authors highlight that during the pandemic, lives have changed drastically; their purpose is to measure the ‘subjective well-being’ over the globe. The survey gives results: a. on positive or negative emotion evaluations, b. on how individuals have been affected in various social subgroups, c. on the link between trust and well-being: trust and benevolence support well-being, d. on how different social, political, demographic factors are related to death rates from covid-19.
The year of the pandemic was particular in terms of investigating the levels of happiness, as millions of lives have been lost and billions of others have significantly been affected in multiple ways. The study included a massive part of the population with different income, employment statuses and from various social communities (did not include people in prisons, hospitals, refugee camps, or living in streets). Concerning the emotional state of people; despite an increase in sadness and worry, the overall ranking of top countries did not present significant changes. The top countries had higher levels of trust and lower inequality; trust was found as the key factor for happiness in the pandemic. Furthermore, the countries which tended to control the transmission of the virus to zero showed a greater economic development, which might be a point for higher happiness levels of the population the following year. The confrontation of Covid-19 effects was more difficult for financially disadvantaged countries (Helliwell et al, 2021).
The emotional well-being and levels of happiness contribute to the quality of human life in factors such as health and longevity and are studied to evaluate social progress and public policies as Parker-Pope T. reports in her article, in New York Times. It is important to clarify that each one can take steps to contribute to personal and collective standards of happiness; there are some ideas to practice while going towards this direction. In the article, the control of negative thoughts, the focus on the breath, the body moving habits, the conscious optimism and the creation of an agreeable place to be, are some suggestions to start setting the thought in practice.
Action for Happiness. (2021). https://www.actionforhappiness.org/about-us
A modern movement devoted to building a happier life and society is "Action For Happiness". "Action for happiness" is shaped by leading scientists and experts from fields like psychology, education, economics, social innovation with the intention to see a life, where people care about the happiness of others. They provide knowledge and material to help people transmit the message of happiness in their communities; they welcome people from all social parts. One of the concepts based on psychology and related areas of research, that they present, is the "10 keys to happier living", as a present to support people's journey to a happier life (Action for Happiness, 2021).
Human beings may believe there is no cause to define happiness, saying that happiness is a state of being, one can experience it, feel it. Contemporary science studies the cases of humans living in a good state provides data and methods to improve life. In this frame, happiness is given definitions so that is explained, clarified, and a subject of scientific research. Positive psychology investigation, practice, and teaching offer experience results worth considering. Sustainable Development Solutions Network conducts an annual analysis on the levels of happiness worldwide. Measurable results evaluate social strategies. Last year has been of a distinct interest because of covid-19. One of the good effects was the collective awareness of mental health issues. In addition, it was noticed that people may not travel the globe but got to better bonding in neighborhoods. Happiness can be cultivated personally and in communities. And every human can give a personal answer to the question: 'What is happiness?'. There are organizations training, serving, and connecting people in order to shape happier communities. Through those actions, each one can be a transmitter of happiness, on a way towards a more peaceful world.
Greater Good Magazine, ‘What is happiness’ https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/happiness/definition, retrieved at 1.9.2021
Selinger M. (2004) ‘Can Happiness be taught?’, American Academy of Arts & Sciences, http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/001152604323049424, retrieved at 8.9.2021
Helliwell J., Layard R., Sachs J., De Neve J.-E., (2021), World Happiness Report 2021. New York: Sustainable Development Solutions Network, https://worldhappiness.report/ed/2021/, retrieved at 1.9.2021
Parker-Pope T., ‘How to be happy’, The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/guides/well/how-to-be-happy, retrieved at 8.9.2021
Action for Happiness, About us,https://www.actionforhappiness.org/about-us, retrieved at 8.9.2021
Graphic Design Journal, Eredel (2021), Happiness, https://www.deviantart.com/eredel/art/Happiness-81617343, retrieved at 10.9.2021
Graphic Design Journal, Altingfest (2021), Happiness, https://www.deviantart.com/altingfest/art/happiness-139485311, retrieved at 10.9.2021
Altingfest. (2021). Happiness [Photo]. Graphic Design Journal. https://www.deviantart.com/altingfest/art/happiness-13948531
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