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A portrait of happiness

By Bashir Uddin

Happiness is realization of mind where a person feels satisfaction about life. Greek philosopher Aristotle describes happiness as the meaning and the purpose of life, and the whole aim and end of human existence.

In a wider sense, it is an umbrella term used for all that is considered good. It can be linked with the terms like well-being, satisfaction and quality of life. When this relationship is established then the word happiness does not exist exclusively but connects the individual with society. To experience a happy life, we need to create a sense of fulfilment in our own lives and those of others. The person who knows how to laugh at himself will never cease to be amused.

While studying recent literature about happiness I was surprised reading an unbelievable opinion that make a connection between happiness and heredity. A recent study on happiness supports the view that in determination of a person’s level of happiness, the role of genetics accounts for about 50 percent. I was once a student of biology thus would like to elaborate the belief that people have an inborn disposition of happiness inherited from parents. How lucky are daughters and sons whose parents are happy, because they would have smiles in their faces by nature. The remaining 50 percent of happiness is partly linked with life circumstances like age, gender, marital status, ethnicity, revenue, health, job satisfaction and religious affiliation account for 10-20 percent. The rest part of creating happiness holds more importance as it is neither related to ethnicity nor inherited trait but linked with the person’s thoughts and actions either they boost themselves to the top of their happiness range or down themselves pushing to the lowest level of their happiness range and it also seems obvious that some people are naturally ebullient or melancholic than others. In simple words ‘how to live life’ affects the happiness but enthusiasm is more important than innate ability.

So many friends I know are busy with their careers and some with their families. They are perhaps happy and more relaxed but is that enough to describe happiness and to fulfil happiness. Too often, they might be happy either due to transmitted genes or the way of life. The way of life has profoundly concerned with society. I have seen people and friends who are depressed and unhappy in their society. And I am unable to provide tips and strategies for them to implement. This short struggle may help someone to think for those who needs support in their lives to stay happy. It is a common matter saying ‘stay happy’ mostly to our friends and family members who are already blessed by the word.

If we are not happy then there is unhappiness all around because, it not only effects our personal lives but also results in common difficulties. Studies reveal that people who are unhappy bring wars and terrorism. When a country is unhappy with certain issues it may wage a worse relationship with other country. Terrorist who spread the message of abhorrence and repugnance and hurt others and target people are not happy with certain issues and causes. These issues could be personal dislikes, social matters, religious concerns, political staples or economic instability. If a person is happy then he or she would never perform and act of terrorism on others. Unhappy people possess a lack of giving respect to other people’s views and beliefs. A happy person can take action, bring changes, do what s/he want and finds solutions to snags, becomes responsible and can make good choices as well.

Sometimes I am feeling blue and it bothers me a lot, and I find it difficult to return and then I sink into a bad mood. I ask myself why I don’t talk to my friends for a while that cheers me. But they don’t have time the moment I want to get happiness and this casual response shocks many of us mostly. We must ask ourselves about What do I need to do in my spare time. If I am a student having thick books lying beside in a romantic rainy day can feel jaded. For that first I should know the techniques of keeping myself happy.

We have to create a sense of realization that instead of putting money in someone’s pocket it is more worth putting joy in someone’s heart if we really want people to be happier. We have to understand the conditions that bring happiness and satisfaction. Courses on happiness and well-being are being offered in Harvard university and Cambridge with the purpose of producing people who are happy and who know themselves. In our society happiness is not being taught formally in schools, then there is need of information on happiness to be easily available among society so that people can learn how to be happy. To find and maintain happiness one needs to be aware about how it can be received. Indeed, it is possible to increase the level of happiness but for that there is need of effort and everyone should learn this skill, so that our community and especially the young ones and teenagers are not depressed and worried. If all are happy then there will be surely a decrease in the alarming rate of suicide among the youth. A happy person plays a fundamental role in the development of a happy society. To keep the people around us happy we need to be as happy as possible. When we are happy, we are in a stage of better person. We would never be happy if we are disappointed and frustrated. A person will never be in a state of happiness if s/he experience unpleasant emotions. These emotions as experienced normally might be apathy, anger, annoyance, anxiety, boredom, depression, discontent, discouragement, dissatisfaction, envy, fear, frustration, grief, guilt, hatred, irritation, jealousy, sadness, shame, stress and worry.

These words are not there only as terminologies but associated with someone in one way or other and these are the challenges to face earning happiness. What is our role as a parent, as a teacher, as a counsellor, as an elder, as a relative and most importantly as a friend to help minimize the effect of these emotions in someone’s life? Do we all play our roles to makes others happy. Of course, we all, but we need to spread the message more. It is possible to increase our level of happiness by certain methods and we do not need to buy them for money. Those of us who are unhappy are ignorant about the nature of happiness. Everyone want to be happy and no one would like to stay unhappy in any reason, but in order to be so, one needs to understand what happiness is.

A perfect portrait of happiness is something like the sum of the following elements:


According to Thomas Drier, if we are ever to enjoy life, now is the time — not tomorrow or next year. The best preparation for a better life next year is a full, complete, harmonious, joyous life this year.


(The writer is student at Aga Khan University. Email;


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