Sunday, March 18, 2007

Is Happiness An Illusion?

The pursuit of happiness is man's quest in the world. However, happiness becomes an illusion when we do something just because we think it could bring us happiness. This is because our conquests become moving targets. When we achieve our goal, true happiness eludes us because our happiness is temporary, making us crave for more acquisitions to satisfy our inner yearnings for bliss. Does it mean happiness is an illusion?

"Keep in mind that happiness is mostly dependent on our state of mind, not on our status or the state of our bank account. Barring extreme circumstances, our level of well being is determined by what we choose to focus on (the full or the empty part of the glass) and by our interpretation of external events. For example, do we view failure as catastrophic, or do we see it as a learning opportunity?" by Tal Ben-Shahar in 6 tips for happiness.

In Britain, studies show happiness levels are low. This is similar to the happiness levels in the US. It therefore appears that happiness does not wholly depend on affluence as both these countries have become more affluent since 1953.

"From the Buddha to modern gurus of self-help, there have been more than 100 exercises proposed which are alleged to increase lasting happiness, says Professor Martin Seligman a contributor to BBC Two's The Happiness Formula."

Professor Seligman has used positive psychology to help his patients to be happy and be less depressed. Hence, happiness depends on the state of mind. Positive thoughts improve your outlook on life and make you happier. You may have all the riches or have all the promotions and if you do not cultivate happiness in yourself, happiness will elude you. Always remember the following quotation in your pursuit of happiness:

"Standard of living has increased dramatically and happiness has increased not at all

Professor Daniel Kahneman, University of Princeton."


encephalon said...

Could the problem with people achieving happiness come from a lack of understanding of who we are - of the self. I have been working on a dissertation exploring the nature of a healthy mind and have seen that there is a real distinction between pleasure and happiness. In short; pleasure is immediate emotional gratification without much thought, happiness is pleasure that is mediated by the mind, by our logical and rational thought. Due to the overabundance of emotional stimuli in modern society, and poor logical/rational stimulation, we see behaviors of people seeking pleasure when they really want happiness.
I think positive thoughts will bring you more pleasure. As depression and other mental illness is so prevalent in society today, most peoples mental state would have a higher frequency of 'negative' emotional stimulation (thoughts) than what should be considered normal. Thinking happy thoughts will help raise your ratio of positive to negative emotions, but your mindset is still steeped in an Egoic (emotional) frame that equates pleasure with happiness - so one will never be truly happy. If one was to undergo logical/rational training, spending more time in a philosophical mind making sure that the cause of behaviors comes from what one logically knows to be best, rather than from emotional drives, then one would better understand what happiness is and how they could achieve it. This process is sometimes called raising your conscious awareness; I believe that this is the way for humans to be happy.

Robin said...

I think in today's world happiness is biased ,it's not only depend on our state of mind but also to the ambiance where we live most of times.Happiness is temporal it's not for lasting forever that is y it can be as a illusion which make us divert from reality of life. Being aware of practicality cannot make our state of mind happy for long.