Monday, September 16, 2013

Happy: Where Does It Come From and How Can We Get It?

Just watched a fantastic documentary that I found on Netflix called Happy. The film explores what it is that makes human beings happy, exploring international cultures and taking a look at scientific research,  as well as turning the lens back on the USA.

Here are some fascinating things that I learned from this movie, in no particular order:

-Only 10% of happiness depends on things like money, material comfortability and the like. By contrast, about 50% (FIFTY PERCENT) of happiness relies on genetics. The remaining 40% is up to you.

-Denmark is one of the happiest countries in the world, which could possibly have something to do with nationalized education and healthcare, but they also look into examining something call house-sharing, which is a bit like living in a commune or hostel. Everyone has their own small house but they share meals and grow up under one roof.

Looks like this.

-Japan is one of the most hardworking countries in the world, which can sometimes lead to fatalities. After WWII and having to rebuild their economy from scratch, they were pushed to optimum efficiency. But that has taken an ugly turn, as in recent years they've even developed a new word ("karoshi") to mean literal death by stress.

-Interestingly enough, Japan's island Okanawa is home to more centurions than any other one place in the world. Studies show that it may have something to do with the fact that most are farmers, that they are surrounded constantly by family and friends, and that they have strong heritage roots.

-Bhutan is a country that is looking to boost its economy not by producing a massive GDP but by promoting national cultural identity.

Yep, I had no idea where Bhutan was either. Here it is!

-Materialism works as a treadmill. Once you gain more money, you quickly become accustomed to a new level of wealth, you raise the bar on your personal status quo, and you will forever be dissatisfied with how much you have because you can always have more.

-People do really good when really bad things happen. Adversity can help us to reach our full potential and helps us to count our blessings and realize what we have, thus making us more happy.

People are amazing.

-Counting the things that you are grateful for each week can make you happier.

-Throughout the movie, they talk about different things that human beings can do to boost happiness. Suggestions, backed by research that I don't have time or energy to rewind to, include doing community service (as helping other people helps us feel good about ourselves), having strong ties to friends and family, changing routine (anything as little as going a different route home to something as big as moving to Thailand), optimizing "flow" (what some refer to as "being in the zone" or concentrating really hard on a task that needs to be done), and doing things that you enjoy.

Really really fascinating movie that helps remind you that the economy isn't everything.

8 outa 10.

If you want to get more happiness in your life, the film has a website (here) that proposes a list of activities that you can integrate into your daily life to boost your own happiness. Good luck :)

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