Americans' Obsession with Pleasure and Happiness
Americans are completely preoccupied with pleasure. Americans devote more time and money than any other country on the planet in search of pleasure. Despite this, they are ranked as the least happy and most nervous individuals in the developing world. Americans are constantly bombarded with optimism tips these days, thanks to a societal emphasis on positivity and the economic imperatives of the massive self-help industry. In certain ways, the commercial happiness industry is filling a position that our family and friends may have once played. Now, instead of talking to a neighbor or asking for advice from our extended families, many people are looking to self-help books or courses for life advice. Happiness is associated with how a person feel. However, it is beyond a passing mood.
The Importance of Emotional Well-being
As emotional beings, negative emotions like anger and fear assist us in defending ourselves and getting away from danger while positive emotions like hope and enjoyment assist us to muddle through even if things does not seem right. Attempting to live happily is neither about pretending to feel blissful each day nor repudiating negative emotions. Happiness involves making the greatest of the good moments, however likewise to effectually deal with the unavoidable worse periods, with the intention of experiencing the best possible life general. Happiness has become the ultimate consumer product. This paper will focus on why Americans place too much emphasis on being happy.
Americans' Fear of Vulnerability
Americans are scared of their vulnerability. I believe that this almost manic attempt at always being happy is part of our denial of our human fragility because saying "I'm not okay" takes a degree of humility and requires us to accept that we are vulnerable and not invincible. I think that we do this as individuals. I think we project these unrealistic expectations on our partners, our friends, our parents, and our children. And I believe that we do this as a society. (Andrews, 45).
The Role of Happiness-seeking Culture
There are many reasons why life in America is likely to produce anxiety compared with other developed nations. In America, people lack universal health care coverage; there is inequality, lack of job security with little legal protection for employees, people work longer hours with no paid vacation time for several and many others. However, "happiness-seeking culture" is similarly part of the issue.
The Link Between Happiness and Positive Outcomes
Happiness is linked to positive outcomes, better health, longer life, substantial benefits for the entire society and assist us to function properly. In healthcare, it is evident that the happy doctors are the ones who come up with more accurate and faster diagnoses, even if that happiness is induced just by surprising them with a sugary sweet. In education, schools which center on emotional as well as the social well-being of children encounter substantial improvements in academic achievements and enhancements in the behaviors of the pupils. Moreover, happiness has been associated with improved creativity as well as better decision-making. Therefore, instead of success is the key to getting to be happy, the study indicates that happiness can actually turn to be the key to success. However, happiness does not just assist people to function better, but also it comes along with significant benefits for the whole society. For instance, a review of above one hundred and sixty research obtained a compelling and clear evidence that people who are happy live longer than unhappy persons and have better overall health. Such persons are less likely to encounter health conditions like a cardiovascular incident, for example, a stroke and a heart attack (Argyle, 67).
The Impact of Happiness on Society
Additionally, happier persons are at a lower risk of engaging in risky behaviors, for instance, those people are more likely to wear seat belts as well as have a less probability of getting involved in road accidents. Individuals who are happy are more financially responsible, have more control over their expenses as well as have a tendency to save more. However, possibly the one which is very important among all of them is that happier individuals are more likely to contribute positively to the nation and thus assist in the growth and development of the nation. Specifically, they are more likely to take part in public activities, perform voluntary work and vote. Furthermore, they offer assistance to other people and tend to greatly respect law and order. Moreover, there is proof that happiness is contagious, in order for the happier persons to assist other individuals surrounding them also to become happy (Flora, 98).
Americans' Search for Happiness and the Need for Security
When people can provide for their families but face political as well as economic uncertainties at the same time, they concentrate on whatever they are able to control and whatever they actually need from life. Instead, the feelings of insecurity make them focus on happiness, however precisely the reverse is similarly true, which is that we live in a time of insecurity as well as incredible prosperity. Thus that frees people to think if they get satisfaction from their jobs if they feel that the life they are living is what they want and if they have meaningful relationships.
The Desire for a Nation with Greatest Welfare and Happiness
This move concerning prioritizing happiness is vital since this likewise reveal what most people want in America. In a YouGov poll commissioned by Action for Happiness, 87% population of America adults preferred a nation with the "greatest general welfare as well as happiness," instead of a nation with "greatest overall wealth." It was noted that the results turned out to be consistent across the entire social classes, age groups, and regions (Seligman, 32).
The Need for a Balanced Approach to Happiness
Americans prefer to have a happier nation then followed by a richer nation arguing that the two relates. Lack of social cohesion and trust, as well as the rising inequality, has undermined the country's income. It is believed that happy people result in positive benefits of higher income. Also, social challenges such as mental ill health are among the social challenges which cause the society to suffer more than even poverty and employment yet it can be avoided by just being happy. This has led to rising numbers of leaders and policymakers voicing that measures of development should thus be grounded on people happiness and welfare, not just factors of the economy like growth in GDP. America government introduced a program to evaluate happiness and well-being, it is calling for happiness to come to be the main guide to public policy and general measure of prosperity (Flora, 98).
The Secret to Boosting Happiness Levels
Several studies have found that maximizing small joys as well as simple everyday pleasures of life is the simplest secret to boosting happiness levels that help us to live positively, which human beings are capable of by finding small ways to build joy in their lives and lingering on positive moments. It is because the brain of a human is more attracted to the negative experiences than positive ones. Thus a person must strive to ensure that the brain does not dwell on the negative experiences by feeling his life with the positive ones. Dinkelspiel (45) states that "If we train ourselves increasingly to look for the positive, we have trained our brain regarding what it's primed to see and what it's scanning for. Having positive experiences more often tends to increase flows of dopamine, the chemical that tracks rewards, in the brain, which builds out more receptors for dopamine, and over time makes us more sensitive to reward."
The Influence of Culture on Happiness
All people believe that they do not exist in a vacuum and that many if not all of our intrapsychic experiences (internal processes such as thoughts, feelings, and beliefs) are mediated by social convention and macro structures such as culture. A number of things in our modern culture promotes happiness and there are many different cultures all around the world, some of which cannot be included under this grand umbrella term of "modern culture." That is consumerist, capitalist, Western culture predominantly.I think that the idea of promoting happiness started with the advertising industry. Ever since there have been adverts, there have been images of happy, smiling people selling everything from toothpaste to real estate. I think that we have now gotten so used to this that we don't even inspect it anymore. We don't interrogate the adverts we see. But the truth is we're being told daily that if we buy this or use that we will be youthful, beautiful, and HAPPY.
The Pitfalls of Excessive Pursuit of Happiness
Americans are aware that happiness boasts a number of benefits, starting with improving mental as well as physical health to broadening the thinking skills of a person. However, focusing on personal happiness results in several problems such as concentrating extremely on oneself. Possibly American culture requires a more balanced method to happiness. In some contexts, individual happiness is beneficial, on the other hand, excess happiness is harmful. There are times when a person might require as well as benefit from feeling good, however, at certain times, a person may be better served to anchor on a life that is meaningful and balanced centered on other people. In this light, happiness is a result of a life well lived and not a proverbial goal to chase. Besides, pursuing happiness might actually make one unhappy. Actually, sometimes, the more individuals chase happiness, the less they appear to achieve happiness.in their search for happiness, they end up setting a high standard for happiness and get once that standard is not attained, they get disappointed. In particular, this is true if individuals are in positive contexts, like watching a positive film or listening to an upbeat song. It looks like the more effort you put in trying to experience happiness, the harder it is to feel happy, also in otherwise pleasing circumstances really. In my opinion, most Americans place too much emphasis on being happy as they use more resources trying to find happiness which they believe has a number of benefits in the life of a person and brings about satisfaction.
Andrews, Frank M., and Stephen B. Withey. Social indicators of well-being: Americans' perceptions of life quality. Springer Science & Business Media, 2012.
Argyle, Michael. The psychology of happiness. Routledge, 2013.
Dinkelspiel, Frances. Ruth Whippman: Why are Americans so obsessed with happiness? Berkeleyside.October, 2016.
Flora, Carlin. "The pursuit of happiness." Psychology today 1 (2009).
Seligman, Martin EP. Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. Simon and Schuster, 2012.