Thoughts on the documentary, HAPPY, and sharing what makes me happy personally.
Is anyone as obsessed with Netflix documentaries as me?! I swear 85% of “my list” is filled with all sorts of documentaries. Everything from films about WW2 to a new favorite that delves into the hypocrisy of the “detox” industry (more on that soon!).
One of my favorites of all time is Happy. I’ve seen it before (a few years back), but I rewatched it recently and got inspired to share my thoughts on it.
So, have you ever heard of Happy?
If not, here’s a little background on what it’s about:
“HAPPY takes us on a journey from the swamps of Louisiana to the slums of Kolkata in search of what really makes people happy. Combining real life stories of people from around the world and powerful interviews with the leading scientists in happiness research, HAPPY explores the secrets behind our most valued emotion.”
The movie asks you to question…
Does money make you HAPPY? Kids and family? Your work? Do you live in a world that values and promotes happiness and well-being? Are we in the midst of a happiness revolution?
I love seeing the comparison between how different areas of the world define happiness. Also, it’s fascinating to consider that the things we typically think will make us happy actually do not have a big effect on our long-term happiness.
For the most part, happiness is intrinsic. This means that the things that make us happy come from our actions, our values, our morals, and out interactions; not from extrinsic elements like material wealth, status, possessions, and money.
Although it can be argued that money can buy happiness, in reality it can only increases overall happiness by a negligible amount. The documentary sites studies that have proven that increases in wealth diminishes in its effect on happiness levels as monetary worth rises. In laymen’s terms, there is a substantial increase in happiness from someone living on $5,000 per year in comparison with someone living on $50,000 per year because that change in wealth allows for more of the basic necessities of life to be covered.
However, from $50,000 to $500,000 there is little change in a person’s happiness level. As long as basic needs are being met, people are able to (and should!) be happy. Once someone is exorbitantly wealthy, they adapt to that lifestyle and continuously want more and more…and more. What they once thought would make them happy is now just a level they wish to supersede. They continually want to one up themselves and top the status level they once resided in. People can adapt to any situation and then begin to want more once they’ve become comfortable.
One of my favorite parts of the movie is when the crew went into (what we in the US would consider) a poor, third world Asian community where the people were some of the happiest I have ever seen. They spoke highly of their “modern” living conditions and reveled in the fact that they were able to be with their families all the time, laughing, loving, and enjoying life. They knew nothing of the excess and decadence that we in America live with and were thus completely content with the simplicity, yet emotional richness, of their lives. Being able to have a home, provide for their children, and smile on a regular basis was enough to make them happy.
The more I think about it for myself, the things that make me truly happy are not the material, extrinsic aspects of my life. They are emotions, memories, feelings, and experiences that I share with those around me. Sure, material goods or physical property are nice to have and do bring momentary joy, but the things I can call on at anytime from my mind to bring me happiness are much more valuable to me.
I encourage you all to think about what brings you TRUE happiness.
Here are just a few things that come to mind when I feel happiest.
To me, Happiness is…
Hearing a great song that you love and just jammin’ out to it no matter who is watching.
Experiencing new cultures and new places through travel.
Getting natural highs (like from running, roller coasters, skydiving, or adventures!).
Taking the first bite of a meal that someone cooked from scratch.
The feeling of contentment and achievement after a run.
Settling down with my family at the end of a long day for a movie night.
Getting on the floor with Ella to roll around and play with her.
The distinct smell of fall weather in the air.
Falling asleep to a rain storm.
Getting unexpected mail.
Performing in front of an audience or public speaking.
Genuine hugs from loved ones.
Biting into a perfectly ripe apple.
Getting an unexpected compliment from a stranger.
Helping someone and seeing how appreciative they are of it.
Doing something the hard, but right, way.
Making someone laugh.
Seeing the first sprouts of a vegetable garden I planted.
Having unexpected success with something I wasn’t confident in.
The first drip of sweat in a tough workout.
Climbing into a warm bed.
Getting all of my work done for the day and being able to relax.
RANDOM DANCE PARTIES!
Connecting with someone I never knew had things in common with me.
Crossing things off of my to-do list.
Watching someone open a present.
Having people participate in something I’ve created.
It’s these simple moments and exchanges that make my life worth living.
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