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It seems like it’s only doom and gloom these days when we watch the news or read a newspaper.
It is foolish to think we can feel every single happy moment in our lives but is being in a state of happiness out of reach?
Happiness is within our grasp, but it is acceptable to occasionally become consumed with negative feelings of doom and gloom.
In those times, we must ask, why is important to focus on happiness?
Well, in this article, we’ll give you 7 reasons why it’s important to focus on happiness in your life.
Let’s start with a quick definition…
What is Happiness?
When I am going about my busy day and stop to think, what is happiness? How can happiness be defined? These seem like strange questions to ask but it helps us better understand the core questioning around why happiness is important.
Oxford’s English Dictionary defines happiness or being happy as feeling or showing contentment or pleasure.
Given that happiness is an emotion and not a personality trait, understanding the meaning of true happiness without material items is paramount.
Material goods follow the Law of Diminishing Returns which states the more I experience something, the less rewarding it becomes.
However, happiness is a permanent feeling or emotion that is part of the human experience!
Why is Happiness Important?
While there are many components to a meaningful life, I have found that happiness is an important central core of feeling fulfilled. Apparently, science would agree with us.
A study conducted by the World Value Survey and World Happiness Report found there to be a direct correlation between those who are very happy or rather happy and those with more satisfaction across multiple countries around the world.
Although the science points to the relationship, happiness is not the overarching goal for everyone. Regardless, it is crucial because of the positive benefits offered by a general sense of happiness.
To better understand, let’s look at the seven reasons why happiness is so important in life:
1. Happy people are more successful.
We all have the idea that “success makes us happy” but it's backward. Instead, being happy makes us more successful in all of life’s endeavors.
Happy people have a higher probability of acing job interviews thus acquiring better positions. Happy people are more positively evaluated by our superiors and show higher productivity and performance. The same reigns true for being better managers of others.
Furthermore, happiness makes us more productive employees while improving our aptitude for problem-solving.
In an experiment performed by economists at the University of Warwick, researchers found that those primed for happiness were 12% more productive. While on the job, happy employees are less likely to show work burnout and disruptive behavior.
2. Happy people maintain better relationships.
Another critical aspect of life is fostering old and new relationships ranging from friendships to romantic involvement.
Relationships have been proven to be the most important factor for the continuation of the human species.
Happy people have better social support, more friends and are generally more satisfied with group activities and friendships. The happiest college students tend to have the highest-quality relationships, are less jealous, and have stronger bonds with family members.
This is especially true for marriage. There is a strong link between happiness and satisfaction in marriage. Those with more happiness tend to be more content with their partner.
Like maintaining great relationships with our friends and family members, happiness fuels a good marriage, and the rewards can be amazing! This point is also related to idea #7 that happy people are more generous in that we are more willing to compromise and go the extra mile for our friends, family, and life partner.
Furthermore, it has been proven that happy people tend to be less violent. When you hear about a killer’s life, those that knew the individual rarely say they seemed so happy.
Most happy people strive to make love, not war. That means when a disagreement ensues during a relationship, let’s be honest, it happens to us all, violence rarely ensues with happy people. They find a compromise or solution together which further strengthens the relationship.
3. Happy people have less stress.
Part of the reason happy people live longer and are healthier is because of a lower stress level. There is a direct correlation between stress and illness and vice-versa. When we get stressed, our cortisol hormone levels increase which is typically accompanied by muscle weakness, higher blood pressure, and mood swings.
On the other hand, positive and happy feelings alter our chemical makeup that lowers these levels. Happiness is the exact opposite of stress, so it is difficult to have both simultaneously.
I work in a relatively stressful field that is heavily dependent on timelines to make major launches. I will be the first to tell you that the stress at times is difficult to manage but I am generally a happy person and can find creative outlets that make me happy and relieve stress.
One is through engaging in kickboxing classes several times per week. It is an activity I love to do and makes me happy plus provides a great workout, all of which lowers or eliminates my stress!
4. Happy people live longer lives.
Logic dictates that if happiness has a positive impact on my health then it will also extend my life. One study was performed that found a correlation between the life expectancy of a group of Catholic nuns and their initial emotions when they first started at the convent.
The happiest nuns lived 7-10 years longer than the unhappiest. This is one of many studies performed that confirm happiness is one important component of living longer lives.
Couple that with regular exercise, eating healthy, lower stress, finding creative outlets, and fostering healthy relationships and we can live long and healthy lives as happy people!
5. Happy people are more creative.
In addition to being more productive in life, happy people are more creative. Positive thinking and being open to new experiences and ideas are related.
This is because as our general mood becomes more positive, we can devise and envision creative solutions to a variety of problems.
This counters the “tortured artist” idea which postulates that the artistic community, which has higher rates of depression and other mental illnesses, is generally unhappy which fuels creativity. There is little evidence of a connection between the two more evidence of happiness improving creativity.
When I am generally happier, I often access the creative side of my brain outside of work. I tend to lay in bed watching television less and draw, read, and write much more.
Yes, I love those rainy Sundays in the fall, snuggling under the covers and watching a scary horror film, there’s a place for those days too, but I try to fill my time with more creative outlets. These creative activities tend to fuel my happiness even more so it’s a win-win situation.
6. Happy people are healthier.
Happy people have proven to maintain better physical health, have less hospital and emergency room visits, and fewer unpleasant physical symptoms. Also, we tend to use less medication resulting in fewer work absences which relates to point number one of being more successful. Better health typically relates to less overall physical pain.
Similarly, happy people have better mental health than others and have fewer symptoms related to mental diseases like schizophrenia, hypochondriasis, anxiety, social phobia, and depression.
Many of these mental health issues are tied to substance abuse problems so, you guessed it, happy people are less likely to have a history of drug abuse.
Additionally, happy people are much more resilient than unhappy individuals. Resilience is our ability to bounce back and recover from challenging situations. The goal of happiness is to make the most of good times and effectively cope with the bad times, which we all experience.
The result of this is living the best life possible, regardless of the situation. To truly be happy, we must learn to jump back up on the horse after falling off and returning stronger than ever. This means eliminating the negative feelings that are burdening us during or after a tough situation.
Furthermore, evidence exists that negative emotions and general unhappiness can be harmful to our health. While there is limited research on the subject, it is difficult to determine if happiness has a positive effect on our immune systems.
The studies that exist have found that those with the most positive emotions had a lower probability of getting sick. This could also be due to other factors or motivating ourselves to exercise, eat healthily, and maintaining positive relationships.
7. Happy people are more generous.
Happy people are typically more prosocial which means they have a higher inclination to help others. There is a strong link between feeling happy and doing good for the community or the world.
This means higher participation in volunteering than unhappy friends, joining community service, religious, health-related, and political groups, and giving back to charity.
Not only does helping others make us feel good but happy people often share their good fortune with those who are unhappy. I like to think that happy people make the world a better place for everyone!
Final Thoughts on Why Happiness is Important
Happiness is the most important experience we want for those we love, including ourselves. We always want to be happy and have those around us be happy in whatever endeavor we take on. We need happiness in our lives for many more reasons than just feeling good occasionally.
This answers why is happiness important because it helps us be better people for ourselves, the ones we love, and our community.
Now that I have answered the age-old question of why happiness is important, it’s time for you to take action today!
Do activities that make you generally happy, whether it’s painting, writing, drawing, kickboxing, jogging, listening to podcasts, spending quality time with your family or all of the above!
And if you're looking for more resources on happiness, check out these blog posts:
- 27 Ways to Simplify Your Life and Focus on What’s Important
- Life Sucks? 11 Actions to Feel Better Moving Forward
- 10 Best Happiness Apps