“Character is the foundation for success and happiness. Just as no worthy building can be erected on a weak foundation, no lasting success or happiness can be built on a weak character.“ ~ Michael Josephson
Everyone everywhere wants to be happier. It ranks up there on the top of most people’s lists of what they most want for their children. But happiness is not only a desirable emotional condition, it produces better human beings.
As a matter of fact, happiness is a moral obligation, as much as kindness and integrity are moral obligations.
You can even think of happiness as our own radio-active spider turning us into nothing less than superheroes. Okay, perhaps overstated slightly, but read on to see why I rank happiness up there with mutant genes, cool utility belts and radio-active insects.
7 reasons Your Happiness Matters
1. Happiness is the Purpose of Life
Someone once said that “happiness is the object and design of our existence.” Aristotle said it this way: “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”
But how can something as fluffy as happiness be deep enough to be the meaning and purpose of life?
Well, if you think happiness is a cool car and $150 in your pocket, then it’s not. Happiness can’t be found on craigslist. But if you have a more accurate understanding of happiness, you likely already know why it’s lofty enough a thing to be considered the purpose of life (I recently shared a few thoughts on the concept with my friend Barrie Davenport here).
The bottom line is that happier people become better people. They spend more time learning and growing. They are more likely to be religious and seek divine guidance in their lives and in their interactions with others. They are more dedicated to nurturing their spiritual selves. The happiest amongst us also tend to be more loving, compassionate, courageous and grateful (see #4).
2. Happiness makes us Better Parents
Think about an unhappy parent. You may have even had one. Chances are your unhappy parent was relatively more isolated, depressed, angry, self-absorbed and inattentive.
Happy parents, to the contrary, make home life a very different experience with more love, acceptance, patience and forgiveness.
3. Happy People Give More
Studies have demonstrated over and over again, that happy people volunteer more, give more to those in need, even hold doors open for others more often than their unhappy friends.
Happy people are more thoughtful, polite and attentive to others needs, picking up verbal and non-verbal cues depressed people miss.
4. Happy People are Better People
Happier people, as already mentioned, are kinder, more compassionate, patient and loving than those experiencing depression.
While studies abound, a little life experience and a dose of common sense is all that’s needed here. Almost everyone knows both happy and unhappy people.
Which are kinder, gentler, more thoughtful and considerate? Which are angrier, more impatient and intolerant? There you have it.
5. Happiness Leads to Greater Life Satisfaction
Happy people are less anxious, less depressed, less stressed, feel better, more optimistic and confident, experience a deeper sense of well-being, have more passion and zest for life, have a stronger sense of meaning and purpose and see the world as essentially a friendly place filled with good people and plenty of opportunity.
Happy people also feel more in charge of their own lives, less acted upon by external forces out of their control. They are less likely to feel like victims to others, God or life. Happy people simply love and enjoy life much more than their gloomier counterparts.
6. Happy People are Healthier and Live Longer
Studies have linked increased levels of happiness and well-being to higher longevity rates with fewer incidents of coronary heart disease. Other studies have shown links between happiness and optimism with lower rates of cardiovascular disease, cancer and other age-related degenerative problems.
Happier people are also less stressed out, experience less anxiety or depression, and are more likely to eat healthy and exercise regularly.
7. Happy People Bounce Back
Not only do happy people experience difficulties and challenges and downright tragedy (it simply is not true that happy people are spared the toughest trials in life), they experience them about as much as unhappy people do. The difference is how happy people deal with and think about and interpret those challenges.
But the bit of news that’s important here, is that when happy people get slapped by life, they bounce back from the slap much quicker than unhappy people do. Then, because they tend to look for meaning and life-lessons in their trials (rather then get stuck angrily ruminating over them), they end up even happier than before the slap ever struck.
In other words, when they fall down, the bounce higher than where they fell from.
This post is not meant to guilt you into pursuing happiness. It is meant to inform and motivate. I hope it does.
The bottom line, folks, is that happiness matters. Your happiness matters. It matters most directly to you. But it also matters to your family. It matters to your friends. It matters to your neighbors and associates and customers and community. It even matters to the world.
Which of the reasons happiness matters most resonates with you?
What would you have added to the list? In what other ways does happiness matter?
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