Can the world become a better place through happiness?

Posted on 22 December 2015 by Justin Roberts

Black and white image of a teenage girl sitting on couch smiling

Lucy* is a 14 year old student at our MacKillop School Geelong. When she first attended two years ago, Lucy was a shy, reserved young person who was very anxious in social settings. This led to Lucy becoming disengaged from mainstream education, which in turn increased her anxiety. After overcoming some early attendance issues Lucy built solid relationships with staff and some students but she struggled to overcome her anxieties. However, through these relationships and her persistence, patience and deep desire to be successful at school, Lucy was able to break through these barriers and become a leader within her class group. Lucy’s success is symbolic of every young person’s desire to do well, even if to others it may seem that they lack motivation, and how barriers can be overcome as long as belief and hope is held throughout the journey.

Below is a persuasive text created by Lucy - her first ever completed essay and a beautiful example of this wonderful young person who was hidden behind the disengagement.

Can the world become a better place through happiness?

Happiness is an emotion and I believe as an emotion it can be more contagious than a virus. I also believe happiness leads to positivity, if everyone was thinking positive there would be no need for negativity. The world would be a happier and peaceful place. In this essay I will attempt to prove that the world can become a better place through happiness.

One thing that can contribute to happiness is the chemicals released in your body by exercising. Research has shown that when you exercise your body releases chemicals called endorphins. Just say you’re having a bad day so you stay in bed. When you exercise it pushes out the negative and fills it back up with the positive. For another example, if you’re feeling unhappy with the way you look physical activity also improves your self-esteem. Research has also shown that exercise is an effective but often underused treatment for mild moderate depression. Regular exercise has been proven to: Reduce stress, ward off anxiety and feelings of depression, improves sleep, boost of self-esteem. In this paragraph I have shown that exercising can increase your moods.

Another thing that can increase your happiness is that your emotions change through other people. Around more than half of the people in the world think that you can’t be happy if everything’s bad, but that actually isn't true. If you’re feeling down and you’re around a group of friends that are happy, their moods will automatically lift off them and travel to you. Clinical psychologist Steven Stosny agrees when he says “Emotions are more contagious than any known virus.” Because we are all connected in a way. We all usually use our facial expression to say how we feel because it’s easier then talking about how we feel. Stosny also says, "In emotionally charged conditions it’s nearly impossible to go directly to feeling good. But once you make something 10% better then it’s easier to make it 20% better and much easier to make it 40%.” Before you know it you will start feeling a lot better. Obviously if you’re feeling down and not doing anything about it you’re going to have no hope and think there is no happiness left for you. But that is not true, if you’re in a good/peaceful environment you’ll start to see improvement in yourself. This improvement in yourself leads to positive feelings and happiness.

One other thing that can increase your mood is by limiting your time on social media. Research says 90% of moods are being dragged down by social media. Many kids these days don’t know what they are actually getting themselves into on social media. Research has shown that kids are especially vulnerable to the practice of cyber-bullying in which their perpetrators, anonymously or even posing as people their victims trust, terrorize individuals in front of their peers. The devastation of these online attacks can leave deep mental scars. In several well publicized cases, victims have been driven to suicide because of cyber-bullying.

Every year around 750 Australian teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 commit suicide because of cyber-bulling. Sadly some teenagers who are victims of cyber-bulling don’t know how to handle/control the abuse over social media and unfortunately think there is no way out so they give way under the pressure and commit suicide. Research has also shown that the rate of suicide is the highest here in Australia. Ever since Facebook, Snapchat and etc., came out teenagers are hooked to their phones and that is what also decreases the moods 79% of the time. Limiting your time on social media allows you to increase happiness. Stacey Charter says that, “It isn’t what you have or who you are, or where you are, or what you’re doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It’s what you think about.” All the external stuff doesn’t matter, it is what you think about in head that contributes to happiness.

I know that not everybody has to be happy all the time. But what I am saying is that we should always be trying to increase our happiness.

Sandra Pawula says that, “Sadness is not always as bad as it’s made out to be. In fact sadness can be the start of your journey directly to the heart of true happiness.” She also says, “Acknowledging, expressing and resolving grief leads to greater health and happiness.” So what Pawula is saying is that being sad can actually bring you happiness, because acknowledging it makes you do something about it and you can move towards a more positive path way for you.

The world can be a better place through happiness. Many things can contribute to world happiness. I have shown that the world would be a better place through happiness by, the chemicals released in your body by exercising allows you to increase happiness. The connection through other people’s happiness allows you to find your happiness. Limiting your time on social media allows you to increase happiness. Charles Caleb Colton believes “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” After all, doesn't everyone want to be happy?

 

References

BURKEMAN.O, You’re Happy Then I’m Happy (Maybe), www.theguardian.com/lifestyle. 03/06/15

EDBERG.H, Inspiring Happiness Quotes, www.positivityblog.com. 17/11/15

PAWLUA.S, Why Sadness Is The Key To True Happiness, http:/alwayswellwithin.com/2011/03/26/why-sadness-is-the-key-to-true-happiness/. 07/10/15

STONSY.S, How To Make The World A Better Place, www.psychologytoday.com/blog/anger-intheage-entitlement201403/how-to-make-the-world-a-better-place. 03/06/15

 

Find out more about MacKillop's Education Services.

*Name changed and a model image used to protect privacy.

Photo credit: mokra (http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/mokra-47018)