March 29, 2019

Just Be Happy

With a quick scroll or flick through any news outlet, it can be easy to forget about the power and importance of being happy. Actually, before we go any further, let’s talk about the ‘news feed’. We are fed information that shapes our perception of the world. In a recent scan of a global news outlet, there were some key words that stood out from the headlines on the homepage:

Victims, Raids, Blamed, Riots, Clash, Protest, Spying, Shame

See where we’re going with this? If you look at how we are fed, what we consume…the active words that come into our purview all seem to be at opposite polarity to this concept of ‘happiness’.

Yet, despite how engorged we are on the opposite of ‘happy’, happiness is something we seek. Without needing a long debate about the meaning of happiness; let’s accept that it is a self-assessed global state of pleasure or contentment. Looking at the impact of all that bad news, it seems like happiness might be something we need to defend rather than seek.

Maybe happiness isn’t something we need to add. Maybe happiness is something we need to immerse ourselves in. Happiness may, in fact, be a lifestyle decision. And if it is, there are some people who live it well.

According to the World Happiness Report, Finland has been named the happiest country on earth. The factors that influence the happiness rankings are GDP per capita, strong social support, positive relationships with friends and family, healthy life expectancy, freedom, the absence of corruption in the government and private sectors, and a sense of generosity (measured by frequency of donating and volunteering).

It seems like we have all of the ingredients for a happy country in Australia, but we didn’t even make the top 10. New Zealand came in at number 8. This bothers me. I’ve been to Finland, and it was -33 degrees celsius. Seriously. Look. Outside.

So when Australia, or specifically the and Northern River’s regions, doesn’t come out on top – and I’m thinking about the ‘most liveable city snub’; Eurovision; that world cup match with Italy…then I look at what is wrong with the system. It must be that the referee was Anti-Aussie, right?

Wrong. In terms of not making the cut for ‘happiness’, it seems we have ourselves to blame. The scoring data for the happiness report was self-reported by Australians. We aren’t recognised as ‘Happy’ because WE don’t recognise that we are happy.

We have all the reasons in the world to be happy, so let’s turn off the unhappiness we are being fed and just be happy.