Wisdom of true happiness

World Happiness Report 2023

Happiness has long been recognised as a critical part of health and well-being. It is also important to consider how one personally defines happiness. Happiness is a broad term, and factors contributing to this can differ from person to person. The only undisputed truth is 'it generally linked to experiencing more positive feelings than negative'.

Some social scientists like to use 'subjective well-being' when they talk about this emotional state. When general people talk about happiness, they might be talking about feelings of joy and self-satisfaction in life. Here, the upbringing of a person plays an important role. This relates to how satisfied one feels with different areas of one's life, including expectations in relationships and other things that one considers success.

But rather than misjudging things such as money, status, or material possessions as short-term happiness, it is important to understand 'true happiness'. Research into true happiness, carried out by Harvard University, concluded that the people we surround ourselves with and our acceptance into society could positively affect our physical and mental health and help us live longer.

This is because while we are happy involving kindness, forgiveness, and practising the 'culture of giving', the body can produce some happy hormones. For example, 'Dopamine' makes us feel good, 'Serotonin' reduces depression; and 'Endorphins', which make us happy and thus help to reduce physical pain.

Another study has found that perceptions of social support were responsible for 43% of a person's level of happiness.


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