Happiness Is A State Of Mind But How Can You Not Attain It In Our City Beautiful

By Balwant Sanghera

Statistics Canada’s recently released report on happiness in 33 Canadian cities ranked Vancouver as dead last. This is rather surprising. Why a city considered to be one of the most beautiful, desirable and scenic cities be at the last place so far as life satisfaction and happiness are concerned? The main reason given by a majority of respondents was the lack of connectedness. Ironically, smaller cities like Saguenay (Quebec), St. Johns and Quebec City topped the list. It appears that residents of smaller cities/communities are much happier than those in big cities. The reasons could be more ability to connect with each other, a better sense of belonging, purpose and generosity.

In this context, let’s look at the concept of happiness and how we can achieve it. Prominent Greek philosopher Aristotle described happiness as a state of mind. He said that it all depends upon us. Some researchers have come up with the theory that it is all in our genes and that some people, due to their genetic make up, are more predisposed to happiness than others. Regardless, a vast majority of people would like to be happy. Different writers on this subject have suggested different ways of being happy. Here are some of the most common ones.

Happiness is a feeling of inner peace and satisfaction. Dr. Michael Michalos is a prominent authority on this subject. He has spent more than forty years on studying happiness. Michalos has summed up his findings in a 1,500-page report. According to him, one’s health is the foremost promoter of happiness. Family follows health. Of course, if one is healthy and has good family relationships, he/she should consider himself/herself to be not only happy but also fortunate and blessed. These two are followed by education and income. This goes on to indicate that though good income and/or money can add to your happiness they are not the prime reasons for it.

Of course, strong relationships with family and friends are extremely important aspects of a person’s happiness .As such, we need to nurture them and also take time to develop those relationships.  In this context, positive thinking also plays a very important role. Often, we spend a lot of time worrying about the past or future. As a matter of fact, an old saying is very true in this regard. Past is history. You can’t change that. It is past and done with. Future is a mystery. No body knows what it holds for us. As such, worrying about something over which we have no control is not worth it. Present is all we have. So try to live in the moment. Cherish every moment.

Helping others and giving of you to serve others has been considered to be great sources of happiness. We should have an attitude of gratitude. Be thankful for what you have rather than worrying about what you don’t have. Count your blessings. Always look at the bright side of things. Be an optimist. The key to happiness is to take pleasure in and appreciating what we have rather than worrying about things that we don’t have.

Balwant Sanghera is a retired School Psychologist and Community Activist.

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