Effects of the Pursuit of Happiness

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​The pursuit of happiness is the right that an individual has to live a life that brings joy. This pursuit of happiness is provided in the law; however limited that one is, an individual has to delight in happiness, but should not break the law. Westernization considers happiness as a good thing, and thus they discourage the act of being sad. Also, the westerners have different ways of discouraging sadness and encouraging happiness. The westerners employ the use of media to inculcate happiness in the society; this makes the people pursue happiness even at times and the conditions that cultivate sadness. Chasing happiness may be seen as a way of self-gratification, focus to short-term gladness, brings a lot of problems, brings little meaning to life as well as leads to choosing of wrong resources.

Many people view self-gratification as the significant cause of happiness; however, it is not a guarantee that once a person achieves what he needs, the individual becomes happy. Adam Grant’s post attests the fact that chasing happiness could cause more harm than good, “There’s reason to believe that the quest for happiness might be a recipe for misery”, There are many things that lead to happiness, Hellen Keller’s, (2005) claims that “many people have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness, it is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose’’.

People’s definition of happiness is focused on short-term gladness. For instance, if one visits a place where he or she admired for a long time, the person will be glad for a shorter period, especially when the memories are still fresh in mind. However, after sometimes, the memory fades, and life goes back to normal. Such a source of happiness becomes meaningless and thus the journey as a source of happiness is not guaranteed. Also, according to Hellen Keller, (2005) doubling of one’s income only increases happiness by 9 %( nine percent).

​Focusing on happiness brings more problems to the individuals more than the benefits. Various researchers have done their studies to prove this claim (May, 1997). Iris Mauss, for instance in his review of the adverse outcomes as a result of seeking happiness, observed that people who placed a high value on being happy to have mental problems, the more lonely an individual becomes, focusing on joy could do more harm than good to those who do it.

Pursuing happiness may not increase joy. If one fails to find the happiness being sought, the individual may become sadder due to disappointment, especially when one feels that he or she deserves happiness. Interestingly, a research was conducted on two groups using music that was neither described as happy nor sad. One of the groups was directed to listen to music and feel happy as much as they could.

The control group was to listen to music. The group that was told to feel happy ended up being sadder as compared to the other group (Burns, 2004). The unhappiness was as a result of their expectations being higher. Another research related to the first one was conducted, people who highly valued happiness were reported to have higher instances of depression. Socially, those who overemphasize on happiness reported greater feelings of loneliness. Emphasizing on being happiness causes personal isolation, which can later result to dissatisfaction. At times, people have to accept their beliefs even if they are depressed or have anxiety. Too much focus on happiness makes people forget being happy.

​Happiness is short-lived; thus it has very little meaning in life. This meaning of life implies that most of what people believe that happiness only associates the involvement of fun and love. However, very few instances of happiness have meaning in life. For example, a wedding not only brings joy but also convey sense in life. The purpose of the wedding comes as an individual represents a life-long commitment to love and to nourishing someone else’s in all situations of life; both happy and sad ones (Low, 2004).

Therefore, the meaning is longer than happiness. Having a happy life is not a guarantee of having a purpose in life and vice versa. Baumeister et al, (2002), in their study founded out that some people have happy lives but low in meaning. In such situations, people feel happy, but for a short period. Such people neither worry about the past or future nor think deeply. According to research, these people are often “shallow,” “self-absorbed,” and “selfish.”

The pursuit for happiness is mostly done at wrong resources; people tend to pursue happiness in working for material possessions such as cars, houses, and electronics. According to Professor Jean Twenge, et al, (2014) materialism is on a high a high rise, “compared to previous generations, recent high school graduates are lonelier to want lots of money and nice things but less likely to say they are willing to work hard to earn them.” Failure to work for what one wants could also be a cause of unhappiness.

Focusing more on happiness destroys people who are not happy; according to a study conducted where people were expected to report their happiness six times each day for a total of two weeks. For those people who reported some degree of unhappiness at the beginning of the study regularly reported such negative feelings. The pursuit for happiness should not be affected by the complexity of life but must have situations that make one happy as well as make sad. In circumstances where people strive to be happy despite the conditions, they never fully achieve happiness.

Pursuing happiness might make an individual feel that the cause of unhappiness is due to own fault. For instance, contemporary culture insists on happiness; when people are sad, the community claims that one should not be sad. The culprits usually face hard times thus, making them even depressed (Myers, 1993). This feeling of unhappiness is contributive to the numerous suicides occurring around the world. When dealing with life situations, there are better ways, as opposed to the ones who subject one to chasing happiness. Instead of pursuing happiness, people should focus on their feelings and achievements.

Daily events in life bring happiness; therefore, one should not be focused too much on obtaining perfect happiness. The primary goal one should have is to concentrate on satisfying lives and not being happy. Individuals should not over-emphasize on making wealth. The claim that “money cannot buy happiness” should always be put into an account when focusing on matters concerning wealth. Many people believe that having a lot of material possession makes one happy (Low, 2004). Having comfortable lives, i.e., cars and good houses should not be viewed as happy lives, and sometimes cases arise where rich people kill themselves despite the wealth they have. People should avoid placing too much focus on having wealth since it will stress them and even cause more sadness than expected especially if they do not attain this target.

However, it should be noted that people must avoid laziness and work to live good lives by sustaining their needs.

Individuals should focus on the welfare of others despite having their wants. Many people tend to be egocentric when dealing with issues. Even though this kindness might result in the satisfaction of individual needs, it should be noted that it does not bring happiness. Instead of putting one’s interest first, we should rather put others in the forefront, which is an excellent source of joy.

Relationships should be significantly considered; many people tend to focus on their jobs and wealth making, believing that it is a source of happiness (Low, 2004). However, this claim is not the case, since it is true that focusing on wealth making makes people isolated and unhappy. People should always keep relationships first; that is, family and friends should be viewed as more important than creating wealth.

​In conclusion, it is not only healthy to be happy, but also right to avoid sadness. However, it does not imply that we should be obsessed with being happy so much, that it causes more harm than good to us. Instead, we should focus on what our current situations are, and the problems involved rather than what our lives should be. To avoid disappointments pursuing happiness should, therefore, be avoided.

Cite this paper

Effects of the Pursuit of Happiness. (2020, Sep 10). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/effects-of-the-pursuit-of-happiness/



Can the pursuit of happiness be harmful?
Yes, the pursuit of happiness can be harmful if it involves engaging in activities that are detrimental to one's physical or mental health or that of others, or if it leads to an unhealthy obsession with happiness at the expense of other important aspects of life.
What are some effects of happiness?
Some effects of happiness are that it can boost your immune system and help you live longer.
What is the significance of pursuit of happiness?
The Declaration of Independence says that everyone has the right to pursue happiness. This right is significant because it means that everyone has the right to try to make themselves happy, and no one can take that away from them.
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