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GracePansze

SaraPrice
HappinessProject
ThePursuitofHappiness

Happiness.Asimplewordthatmeanssomuchtosomanypeople.Humanscravethis
ideaofsatisfaction,innerpeace,purpose,contentmentwhateveritmaybe,peoplestriveto
obtainitstranscendentpower.Amultitudeofindividualsliveconstantlysearchingfortheirslice
ofhappiness,onlytorealizethathappinessisntanobject,itsamindset,awayofthinking,and
itsinsideusall.HermannHesseoncesaid,
Happinessisahownotawhat.Atalent,notan
object.(Hesse)
Youdontneedareasontobehappy,itsjustsomethingyoudo.Through
transcendenceandmeaning,optimism,andgivingback,theworldwillbecomeahappierplace.
Whenhappinessisobtained,therearethreestagesaccordingtoDr.MartinSeligmanin
TheNewEraofPositivePsychology
.ThefirstisThePleasantLife.Peoplewholiveapleasant
lifevaluesimplepleasures,positivity,andlivefastpacedlives.Seligmanstates,ThePleasant
Lifeisrealisedifwelearntosavourandappreciatesuchbasicpleasuresascompanionship,the
naturalenvironmentandourbodilyneeds.ThenextstageisTheGoodLife,whichisachieved
throughtherealizationofuniqueness,individualimportanceandusingthesetalentstoenhance
theirlife.ThethirdandfinalstageisTheMeaningfulLife,wheretranscendenceisachieved.
Seligmanobserveshumansthroughtwoconflictingaspects:individualisticandaltruistic
approachestolife.PeoplewholiveTheMeaningfulLifearealtruistic,focusingmostoftheir
energyonothersandsacrificingtheirindividualityforthebenefitofthegreatergood.These
peopleoftenexperiencetranscendent(exceptional),biggerthanselffeelingsandlivemore
meaningfullivesthanpeopleinthefirsttwostages.Themoremeaningfulthelifeis,thehappier
theperson.Thisisbecausebehavingselflesslycanleadtoacceptancewithinthegroupand
feelingsofbeingirreplaceable,needed,andimportantforthesurvivalandhappinessofothers.
Individualistichumansfocustheirenergiesonimprovingthemselves.(Seligman)Thereisno
harminbeingselfishbutindividualisticliveshavelesssatisfactionandmeaningthanaltruistic
lives.Thesepeoplecanstillbehappy,happinesswithoutmeaningisstillrealhappiness.
However,meaningfulhappinessleadstolifesatisfactionandtranscendencewhereasmaterial
happinessisonlytemporary.Themoremeaningfulthelifeis,thehappiertheperson.
Toincreaselifesatisfactionandhappinesstheaveragehumanshouldconsiderbecoming
moreoptimisticandaccepting.Happinessisfoundmorefromwithinourselvesthanwithin
materialpossessions,happinessisnotareason,moreofahow.In
Happy
,afilmaboutfinding
authentichappinessinourlivesandwhy,abrazilianmansaidthathislife,maynotbethebest,
butIlivewell.Thisquotestuckoutamongsttheothersquotesbecause,growingupina
consumeristsociety,wehavebeentaughtthatmoreisbetter,andthemorewehave,thehappier
wewillbe.Withtheseconflictingideologiesexposed,questioningthetrendofconsumerismis
notuncommon.TomShadyak,thedirectorofthefilm
IAm
,shareshisexperienceofhowhe

stumbledupontheideallife,butstillfeltseverelyunsatisfied,evenwhenhehadeverything
moneycouldbuy.(Shadyak)Tobecomehappierpeople,weneedtolookwithinandfindthe
gratitude,acceptance,andpositivitytoacquireinnerpeace.Thefilm
Happy
describesmost
peopleshappinessisdependentonastablesocialenvironmentsupportivefriendsandfamily
members.In2002,EdDienerandMartinSeligmanconductedastudyattheUniversityof
Illinoisonpersonalhappiness.Theyfoundthatthetop10%ofscorerswhowereveryhappyhad
strongtiestofriendsandfamilyandcommitmenttospendingtimewiththem.(TheNew
ScienceofHappiness,ClaudiaWallis,
TimeMagazine
).Toincreasepersonalhappiness,one
mustactivelystrivetoimproverelationshipswithfriendsandfamily.Anotherwaytowork
towardshappinessistoincreaseselfexpression,change,physicalactivities,andgeneral
quirkiness.Alloftheseactivitieshaveonethingincommonachemicalreleaseinthehuman
brainthatstimulateshappiness,calleddopamine.AccordingtoChristopherBergland,authorof
TheAthletesWay
,dopamineisresponsibleforrewarddrivenbehaviorandpleasureseeking.
Everytypeofrewardseekingbehaviorthathasbeenstudiedincreasesthelevelofdopamine
transmissioninthebrain.Ifyouwanttogetahitofdopamine,setagoalandachieveit.The
higherthelevelsofdopamineorthebrainssensitivitytodopamine,themoreincentiveaperson
has.Andoftentimestheseincentivesleadtorewardsthatstimulatehappinessandmeaning.
(Bergland)"Whenourdopaminesystemisactivated,wearemorepositive,excitedandeagerto
goaftergoals.saidRichardDepue,professorofhumandevelopmentandfamilystudiesand
directoroftheLaboratoryofNeurobiologyofPersonalityandEmotionatCornell.Byactivating
thebrainsdopaminesystem,strengtheninginterpersonalrelationships,andmaintainingan
optimisticattitude,peopleareboundtobecomehappier.
ThroughouttheUnitedStatespeopleareveryunhappy11millionpeoplehaveeating
disorders(Wordpress),oneintenpeoplewillconsistentlytakeantidepressants(NewYork
Times),andonlyoneinthreeAmericansaretrulyhappy(HuffingtonPost).Wehavebeen
conditionedtobelievethattheUnitedStatesisthe
best
countryintheworld.Countrieslike
Norway,Denmark,andSwitzerlandarerankedwithinthetoptenhappiestcountries.TheUnited
Statesisranked15th.TheUSAisrankedsopoorlybecauseofthetaintedvalueswepossess.
AccordingtoastudybyL.RobertKohlsatClaremontMckennaCollege,theaverageAmerican
valuespersonalcontrol,timeanditscontrol,privacyandindividualrights,selfhelpcontrol,
action/workstimulation,efficiency,materialism,competition,andfutureorientation.Eachof
thesevaluesisindividualistic,basedonimprovingthyselfwithmaterialpossessions,reputations,
andprogress,ratherthanmorecompassionatealtruisticvalues.Tobehonest,thesevaluesare
overwhelming,withsuchhighstandardsaswell,itsawfullystressful.Whenwearesofocused
onourselves,howcanwethinkofothers?We
want
somuch.Wantmoreaccolades,money,cars,
clothes,justmore
stuff
.(Kohls)Wetakeandtakeandtake,butnevergiveback,hencelosinga
senseofmeaningandcommunity.PartofwhatmakesNorway,Denmark,andSwitzerlandhappy
countries,isbecausetheyvaluecommunity,culture,collaboration,whereastheUnitedStates
valuesconsumerism.AsAmericansweseemtohavelittleregardforthosesufferingaroundus,

havingtheonemanaboveallgoalinmind.Ifyouaintfirst,yourlast.Tomakeamerican
citizenshappier,theyhavetorisetogetherasopposedtoalone,bydoingthistheywillbehelping
thecommunity,givingback,andbecomemorecompassionatepeople.Peoplemustbeginto
thinkmorealtruisticallyandworktogethertoimproveeachotherslives.Citizensneedtostop
labelingandoppressingpeopletheydisapproveof.Mostofall,Americansneedtorefrainfrom
usingtermslikegoodorbad,theyneedtosimplyacceptthatyoucanbeneutral,justexist
withouttheselabels.Therearebillionsofdifferentpeopleintheworld,alldifferenttypes,and
oneisnotbetterorworsethananyoftheothers.Weneedtoceaseresistancetochange,and
beginacceptingnewthingstobecomeahappierculture.
Ifauthentichappinesswastheonlygoalinsociety,corevalueswouldbeenvironmental
consciousness,tobeadventurous,unique,andopenminded,pursuegrowthandlearning,
diversityandequality,compassionanddoingthingsforothers,fun,andcommunication.To
createaworldofauthentichappiness,peopleneedtoworktogethertohelptheenvironment,a
taskthatbondspeopleandhelpsthecommunity.Doingsomethingwithanimpactonpeople
increasesmeaningandtranscendence,maintainsapositiveandoptimisticmindset,andcreatesa
morecompatible,happierhumanrace.