Everyone wants to be happy. Sadly, many people are going in the opposite direction. Depression in the United States is 10 times greater than it was in the 1960s. Median age then for the onset of the first bout of depression was 29.5. Today, it’s 14.5. Statistics are similar in other developed countries. China and India, the fastest growing economies in the world, are experiencing psychological repercussions from job demands, high stress, materialism and the Westernization of culture.
It would take 5 more planets to support everyone on earth if all lived as Americans do. Yet the USA ranks #15 in the most recent World Happiness Report. Happiness is not found in material things and pleasurable experiences though that is where many mistakenly seek it. Those pursuits can distance us from the internal source of true happiness and be the cause of stress and addiction.
Excerpt from Make the Best of the Rest of Your Life: In the United States, people are working harder and longer, have more possessions and prosperity than ever before but are no happier than people were in the 1950s. In fact, divorce, abuse, crime, and suicide rates have escalated significantly. Consumerism may actually be a deterrent to real happiness. According to therapist Sherry Cardinal: “A number one stressor for Americans is consumer related pressure. Striving after bigger, newer and better while going deeper and longer in debt keeps us fearful and awake nights.” And Hope College psychologist David G. Myers, PhD wrote in the American Psychologist: “Compared with their grandparents, today’s young adults have grown up with much more affluence, slightly less happiness and much greater risk of depression and assorted social pathology. Our becoming much better off over the last four decades has not been accompanied by one iota of increased subjective well-being.”
Pleasure and Happiness Defined
Happiness is a state of being not having.
It depends on how you react to what happens not what happens.
Pleasure vs. Happiness Test
Enjoy a pleasurable experience – treat yourself to a favorite food or massage, buy yourself a small present. Note how long the pleasurable sensations last.
A sure way to experience happiness is by extending kindness. Go out of your way to brighten a person’s day or offer a helping hand. Note the feelings that come from that and how long they last.
How happy are you? Take the test at Authentic Happiness
Words to Ponder
“I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.” Jim Carrey