The Psychology of Happiness

Essay by d_kaderHigh School, 11th gradeA, March 2006

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A relentless inner battle being fought amongst every race, religion and culture, is that which questions what makes a human being happy. Humans often become nostalgic and fantasy prone in effort to spark a sense of joy, but repel or deny the importance of

life's small pleasures. Contrary to western belief, factors like wealth, good looks and intelligence contribute to one's confidence and sense of self, but are not the biggest contributors to one's mental state, the most pronounced indicator of happiness. In addition, a strong sense of humour and a certain level of narcissism have been recognized as vital in maintaining a healthy state of mind.

Happiness is recognized as a type of subjective wellbeing, instead of as a sense of pleasure or emotion as it's often referred to. It indicates that a certain non-transitory happiness must be present and reflective of long term mental state, as opposed to short term or transitory feelings of content (Robert Solomon, 2004, audio).

Also contributing to one's state of mind are objective viewpoints, the concept of measuring success by means of comparison, thus forming insecurities surrounding the quality of life if the individual feels as though he or she does not measure up. This feeling of unfulfillment may lead the subject to feel insecure, and may steer towards the creation of an inferiority complex, taking away from the overall sense of happiness of the individual. This will make it difficult to maintain long-term happiness and push the individual towards transitory fulfillment, which is ultimately unsuccessful in attaining happiness. Objective and subjective views are closely intertwined because of society's intense need for interpersonal comparison of material things. It's a strong statement to have the best of the best, but these objective values can only sustain feelings of happiness for a short...