Why Being Happy is REALLY important!
Are you the person who sees the cup half empty or half full?
This has been a long-standing question that determines our outlook in life. Are you an optimist or pessimist. Optimists are usually positive people, choosing to see the best in all situations, where pessimists are usually negative, opting to see the worst in all most every situation. Of course, it isn't always so clear cut where most people may go back and forth depending on the situation, the people involved as well as how high the stakes may or may not be. Think of the advantages for always having an optimistic outlook!
There are no guarantees in life, it can be demanding and full of stress which certainly plays a big role in our ability to look at things from either a positive or negative lens. But…have we ever truly considered the disadvantages of not staying optimistic and positive in all situations, no matter how difficult and challenging?
Let’s take a look at what the smartest man has to say about this.
He may be famous for being the father of the theory of general relativity – the basis for our understanding of the entire universe and its development – but Albert Einstein had another important theory.
A note Einstein wrote outlining his ideas about happiness which he gave to a courier in Tokyo in 1922 during a lecture tour of Japan has just surfaced 95 years later.
It was written shortly after science’s most famous genius won the Nobel Prize for physics for his Theory of Relativity. Einstein mused that “a quiet and modest life brings more joy than a pursuit of success bound with constant unrest.”
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” he added in the note given to a staff member of the Imperial Hotel who refused to accept a tip and was given Einstein’s handwritten thoughts instead.
How to be happy: What science tells us
Only a small percentage of the variation in people's reports of happiness can be explained by differences in their circumstances. It appears that the bulk of what determines happiness is due to personality and — more importantly — thoughts and behaviors that can be changed.
So, yes, you can learn how to be happy — or at least happier.
Although you may have thought, as many people do, that happiness comes from being born rich or beautiful or living a stress-free life, the reality is that people who have wealth, beauty or less stress are not happier on average than those who don't enjoy those things.
People who are happy seem to intuitively know that their happiness is the sum of their life choices, and their lives are built on the following pillars:
- Devoting time to family and friends
- Appreciating what they have
- Maintaining an optimistic outlook
- Feeling a sense of purpose
- Living in the moment
Happiness at work
Happy workplaces bring huge benefits, not just for people but for organizations too.
People who are happy at work tend to enjoy life more and have better health, stronger relationships and a greater sense of purpose. They also have a huge positive impact on the organizations they work for - evidence shows that happier staff are more productive, creative and committed.
Our role in society… raise happy kids!
Raising happy kids is the holy grail of parenting, right? When your kids are happy, it really feels like you're on top of the world because, let's face it, parenting is a tough job.
However, no child is happy all of the time. In order to raise our children to be successful adults, there are decisions we will make that they might not see as good decisions for their happiness. And although essential, making choices that lead to momentary unhappiness in our kids is not easy for either party.
But is that the stuff they'll remember? How will that impact them later in life?
How happiness affects the growing brain
Research found that a child who has been loved and nurtured early in life may develop a larger hippocampus, the brain region important for learning, memory and stress responses.
In general, it can be assumed that a childhood full of maternal love is a happy one. And during a 2012 study, brain images revealed happy children of nurturing mothers had hippocampal volumes 10 percent larger than children whose mothers were not as nurturing.
Further to that idea, more research into life satisfaction by one of the UK’s foremost “happiness” experts, Professor Richard Layard, found that a happy childhood had more of an impact on whether an adult felt successful than other factors that may occur later in life, like accomplishments in study, work or wealth.
So whether you are a parent, office worker or friend, be happy!