Is it right to pursue happiness?
In trying to grab a bit of happiness, some reach for chocolate, drink, splash some cash, go on a holiday, or go to a party.
But other things have become popular in trying to solve the problem of ‘how to feel happy’.
1. The professionals that cash in on making people feel happy
According to the Yellow Page’s own old statistics 1 there has been a massive rise in the number of companies that specialise in making us feel better. (And this trend has continued).
- Aromatherapy is up 5200%.
- Shiatsu (a Japanese massage technique) is up 3100%.
- Cosmetic surgeons are up 1780%. 2
- Yoga instructors are up 635%.
These are not just small, insignificant increases, these are massive rises in demand for such things. 3
2. How to feel happy according to psychiatrists
They will say things like:
Watch a humourous or pleasing film, listen to soothing music, or look through old happy photographs.
Be a good listener, be polite, and friendly, help others and buy someone a gift.
Go for regular walks, do some sport or something that gets you moving.
Try to finish one of those uncompleted tasks, and plan to put some things into your diary – however small that thing may be.
Take the time to have a long soak in the bath, or do some massage.
Stand upright with your shoulders back and do not look enviously at others – appreciate what you’ve got.
Lastly, try to smile even if that feels fake, it is proven to work! 4
3. How to feel happy and just feel better:
One expert at the London School of Economics described the huge increase in things like Aromatherapy, Shiatsu, Cosmetic surgeons and Yoga as:
Just as changes to the Oxford English Dictionary reflect the evolution of language, changes to the classifications in Yellow Pages reflect the evolution of business and are an equally valid tool for social scientists.Tim Leunig, professor of economic history at the London School of Economics. ‘The new Yellow Pages: goodbye greengrocers, hello cosmetic surgeons’ The Guardian. 5
In the last 10 years businesses have responded to the new opportunities arising from rising incomes and new technologies.
But if we’re no longer a nation of butchers, bakers and candlestick makers, what are we?
It seems we’ve not only moved beyond the basic necessities of life, but almost beyond goods themselves, so the areas of growth are things that make us feel better about ourselves.
Rather than trying to keep up with the Joneses, we’re running to keep up with ourselves and with the pressures of modern life.”
The pace of modern life is relentless and modern technology makes us available 24 hours a day.
Some jobs have the constant pressure of meeting targets, others are brain-numbingly repetitive and boring.
Wanting to find happiness in our lives and feel better about ourselves is a natural desire.
Following the psychiatrist’s suggestions is okay provided we don’t use them to dodge an important issue.
Perhaps we are throwing ourselves into finding happiness because we are being cruel in neglecting a relationship, or we are skiving from our responsibilities, or there is something important we should do.
4. The pursuit of happiness must not mask our one great purpose
Seeking happiness is okay provided that we are not using it to block out what God wants for our lives.
Are we stubbornly pursuing happiness to cover up a more important spiritual desire – that is, to know God?
God created us to be in a relationship with Him. Jesus said:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
References and credits – open in new tabs:
Depressed lady image thanks to Serif ART CD
The Yellow Pages Alternative Census 1992-2002 ↩