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Our endless pursuit of happiness, is it working?

Updated: Jan 29

Do you know what makes you happy? Do you know what brings you unbridled joy?

Happiness means different things to different people, and it's often a combination of various factors. Maintaining a good emotional balance and finding satisfaction in different aspects of life are usually considered key components to achieving happiness.

Aristotle posited that the pursuit of happiness can be achieved through the pursuit of the golden mean, which entails achieving a balance between insufficiency and excess.

Most people do not truly know what makes them happy, a lot of us are existing and not truly living. As someone who believes in science, I wanted more understanding. So I did what most black women do when bored, I went to study, I signed up and completed 'The Science of Well-Being' with Yale University via Coursera. The course went through numerous modules to help us understand how to increase and design our happiness by building more productive habits. Something I took from the course was that we do not know what makes us happy because we do not truly know ourselves.

The world doesn't give us many chances to find joy, so it's embedded in us to constantly seek it. I think this is one reason people seek relationships, sex, drugs, or even religion to feel dopamine. Living in a capitalist society, we feel the pressure to always do something to not only contribute to the world but also to survive it. Do we have to find a purpose? Isn't our existence enough? Numerous people have asked me what I'm going to do with my life, and I finally have the answer, I'm going to live. Sounds simple, right? We know living is not free, and having simple enjoyment in this economy can break the bank. So my goal is to find a job that I can enjoy and make great money.

There are many ways to approach happiness. The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle distinguished between two different kinds of happiness, hedonia and eudaimonia.

  • Hedonia: Hedonic happiness is derived from pleasure. It is most often associated with doing what feels good, self-care, fulfilling desires, experiencing enjoyment, and feeling a sense of satisfaction.

  • Eudaimonia: This type of happiness is derived from seeking virtue and meaning. Important components of eudaimonia are well-being and the feeling that your life has meaning, value, and purpose. 

Now, let's talk about simple things we can do to make ourselves happier.

Firstly, you should have strong social support. Being around people who provide a buffer from the stress of life and having good friends can improve not only your physical health but also your mental health. Second, something I despise, having to exercise regularly. Lastly, is having a hobby you enjoy that doesn't become a side hustle, I know we live in a capitalist society and having side hustles is not only glorified but necessary.

Do you know what makes me insanely happy and puts my whole being in a chill state;

  1. Music

 Japanese 70s & 80s city pop. I think Japanese is one of the most beautiful languages, both vocally and in writing. The flow and tones are like music to my ears. That would explain why I love their media, from dramas to anime and music. Whenever I sense that the people in my office are going to annoy me, or I am behind on any work, I run to YouTube, go to my playlist, and let the music take me to a place of joy. 

2. Reading

I love reading.  It's a chance for me to escape my mind and move into another world. Looking at the world we live in, we all need to escape.

3. Spending money

I know, I know. But having the means to buy what I want when I want is a freedom I love. It gives me pure joy to not only buy what I want, but what I need.

4. Spending time with the people I love.

As an introvert, spending time with people is already draining. However, when it comes to the people I enjoy, I will make an effort to leave my house and participate in activities, because I love them and I want them to be happy.

At the end of the day, happiness means different things to us, and the best thing we can do as humans is to find out what that is. What brings you joy? 

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