British philosopher John Locke accurately defines goodness as that which creates happiness, and evil as that which creates unhappiness. The thing is….happiness means different things to different people, so it can be difficult to clearly state why some things make some people happy and others it do not. But being happy is so important that there are clear constellations between happiness and a person general over all well-being.
With happiness being so important we wonder why it eludes so many? Unhappiness is found in a much higher percentage in developed nations than in less developed nations where there’s no crippling poverty rate, political turmoils, and other elements to interfere with the basic necessities of life. I am not implying those living in distressful poverty are happy because they are not. Physical comfort is a universal need in order to be happy.
Some may say there are far more significant things to worry about in highly developed nations than in lesser developed nations. That’s true. Therefore carefully chose your battles in which things are important and which you can live without.
Gender and other factors also plays a role in happiness in where one lives. Nations where women and minorities have little status or restricted status suffers a much higher percentage of unhappiness than nations that have a well-balanced status of its citizens. They have less depressions and less work days loss due to illness. We have all heard the phrase; “Don’t worry be happy.” But realistically, this isn’t optional for everyone, everywhere or the world would be a perfect place.
Humans are social beings and rely on each other for contributions to our social and mental health. Isolated people are far less happy than those around others they enjoy and suffers far more health ailments. That’s why it is important to surround yourself with encouraging, uplifting people. This doesn’t mean people who are afraid to point out a fault and encourage you to do your best. This mean avoiding people who are negative and their sole goal is to tear down your esteem. Some aren’t aware they are doing it, they have been negative so long it comes naturally to them.
1- Feel Good
Happiness is fun and it feels good. That is a worthwhile reason why happiness is important all by itself.
2- Live Longer
Many studies have shown that happy people live longer. One study followed nuns who wrote a short biographical sketch before taking their vows. At the age of 85, 90% of the nuns with cheerful biographies (top 25%) was still alive, compared to just 54% of the least cheerful. At 94 years of age, 54% of the most cheerful quarter were alive compared to only 11% of the least cheerful. Many other studies have shown similar results. I know that most people have far more stress in their lives than nuns but we can eliminate that by eliminating things and even people in our lives who makes us unhappy. Because in short, unhappiness and depression kills.
3- Have Better Health
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! Another reason why happiness is important is that the link between stress and illness is very well known and well documented, as is the reverse. Happy, positive feelings change the chemical make up of our bodies, producing chemicals that enhance immunity, cell repair, and building strength. Happiness is the opposite of stress. See the article, Three Research Findings on the Link Between Happiness and Health, for more ways being happy is good for your health.
4- Bounce Back Faster
Happiness and optimism go together. Optimistic people see bad things as temporary and good things as permanent. Their positive expectation of good things helps them see and act on options and opportunities faster. There is a saying, you get what you look for. Optimists look for opportunities for a good outcome. Again, I’m not talking about extremely devastating situations. I’m speaking moderate situations. This mode of thinking can not be applied to every single incident in life. For example: It far easier to bounce back from losing a job or material things than to bounce back from losing a loved one.
5- Are More Likely to Be Romantically Involved
Happy people are more likely to be romantically involved. Study after study shows that happy people are more likely to be married, romantically involved and have multiple close friendships. Scientists have struggled with whether being happy makes you more attractive or more likely to get married or getting married makes you happier. It seems both may be true. Happier people are more attractive and being happier makes you more likely to be attracted to someone else. Happy people smile more and have more confident in themselves.
6- Solve Problems Better and Faster
Many studies have shown that people who are in a positive or happy mood solve problems better and faster. Their solutions are more inventive and they concentrate better. Happiness also improves people’s ability to learn and remember things. Better problem solving is another reason why happiness is important.
7- Look for the Win-Win
Scientists theorize that our positive emotions, like happiness, serve an evolutionary purpose. Where negative emotions spur us to fight or flight by generating chemicals in our bodies, positive emotions spur us to learn, explore and grow the same way. In short, positive emotions create a completely different way of thinking in our bodies.
8- Are Not Violent
When you hear about the last few days of a killer’s life people they never say, he seemed so happy. A few have been said to show happiness but that was a sign they were seriously deranged. Happy people want to make love more than they want to make war. They are less argumentative. The physiological state caused by happiness helps happy people see the win-win solutions and be drawn to avoid conflict.
9- Are More Likely to Help Others
There is a strong link between feeling good and doing good. Not only does doing good help us feel good, but studies have shown that happy people are more willing to share their good fortune to help others than unhappy people. Happy people make the world a better place.
10- Are Blessed
Our final reason why happiness is important come from studies that show happy people are luckier. When in truth it has nothing to do with random luck. Luck doesn’t exist. All things are set in motion by something. The factors that contribute to this is first, of all happy people are optimistic. Then tend to see opportunity more frequently and they are more likely to make lemonade when life gives them lemons.
Perhaps less obvious is the link between happiness and virtue. Almost every culture and religion respects happiness or the behaviors that happy people exhibit. In an extensive study of all the worlds religions, the VIA Inventory of Virtues and Strengths , found six core virtues common to all major religions and cultures.
Wisdom and Knowledge
Love and Humanity
Spirituality and Transcendence
Exercising any one of these virtues usually causes happiness either mindfully or through flow. When we respect and admire someone, as we do with people who are good, we unconsciously give them breaks and the benefit of the doubt. So happy people are often respected for their virtue and they are more likely to find good outcomes when bad things happen. Truly, happy people are blessed.