Friday, April 14, 2006

What makes us happy?

from Wendy

Is happiness a choice or something we are just born with? How important is money, family, friends? When is it just hedonism or even selfishness? Is it a state of being euphoric, everything seems to be in harmony? A phenomenon called ‘flow’?

We watched an SBS TV program yesterday, Insight. Jenny Brockie’s forum included many ‘experts’ on the subject of “Happiness’. The transcript is here.

Opinions were varied, some saying that it depends upon self-esteem, network of family, relationships, to be valued by others. A violinist implied that it was moving with the ‘flow’ with other musicians. Someone said that happiness was genetically based – some people are optimistic, others not. Though many of us fall in heap when things go drastically wrong, as they do in our lives, most of us can get up again.

Well, it made me think a bit about myself as I seem to be more gloomy these days, withdrawing more from friends, anxious about the world and safety. I am not jolly like I used to be! Peceli seems to be naturally optimistic and happy, laughs a lot, and has a wide network of friends and family, sings old Fijian songs or Hindi bhajans in the car while I stare at the rain swishing down making the road less safe.

It is not about money and possessions then because we live frugally but we can get most of the things we need.

Sometimes ‘being jolly’ is a kind of acting perhaps, in an attempt to create bonds with people. If we are gloomy with others, it would be rather miserable wouldn’t it? What about honesty though?


YD said...
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YD said...

Happiness is a very subjective matter, even if 'experts' come up with a very strong 'theory' to explain the phenomenon, I doubt it would be any near to a good model because each individual, unique and complex as each is, is somewhat a 'subjective' matter too.

Some call it 'charm', come call it 'karma'; the interwining, overlapping factors do affect our happiness, but I feel an important factor is our inner self.

I feel gloomy, insecure and restless sometimes too, seems like I have some seasonal affective disorder or some cyclothymia, hehe.. :0) Perhaps it was true to some extent that women are more prone to mood swing, or the age-old claim that women are more expressive about emotions? :-)

But I hope to share with you a meaningful advice from my friend: Being happy and sad is cyclic in life, so take it easy. The more important thing is to be mindful of our state of mind, being aware of what is happening inside ourselves, and gently guide our inner self back to a state of calmness.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings. I wish you well and happy.

peceli and wendy's blog said...

Thank you for your very thoughtful response. Nice to get a comment from England. We will check out your site.
P and W