What Is Happiness?

“If you want others to be happy practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion” Dalai Lama

A simple lifestyle can bring happiness

Great men and women have through the history of the times made quotes upon important subjects. Quotes are a short notice, definition and have the ability to create a visual language understandable to the masses. Quotes are often one or two sentences written with the ability to nail a major issue in just a few words. Almost like the meta-tags, they are keywords that sums-up. We must learn to cherish what we have not the things we do not. We have arrived in the middle of an important paradigm shift, a green megatrend has grown into a new way of living, and people have started taking personal responsibility for the environment. We have to live with less, share, rent or swap. We have to learn the Nobel art of reducing, a good idea to work with Zen Buddhism and create a lifestyle build on simplicity. Will a reduction or change of lifestyle makes us less happy?

I do not think so, the happiness research is not showing the whole picture. For example, the correlation between happiness and depression, you will find two of the wealthiest nations on Earth, Canada, and Norway not happier than others, rather the opposite. Norway with less than five million people is among the top ten countries highest use of anti-depression drugs worldwide. Simultaneously on the top list “most livable country”. Norway has for the last eight years been number one on the international human development indicator. Still, people are struggling with depression and a relatively high suicide rate. Canada uses anti-depression.

Why are we not the happiest when we have the highest standard of living?

There is hardly any unemployment, in fact, the Norwegians use Swedes and Polish people to do work they dislike. Norway has the highest rate of young people in work or education; this should also be a reason for increased happiness. Almost every day I find courses in meditation, yoga or spiritual practice, most often with an intention to realize one. Eastern philosophy, meditation, yoga and other calm of the mind sports and exercise are increasing. Can happiness be measured?

Life quality studies and subjective well-being Norway have been at the top for eight years. The survey uses limits as recreation, culture, life expectancy, obesity, and suicide and unemployment rate. Norway is number ten on the list of the highest pharmaceutical consumption and on the list of the happiest nations rated as number 20. One should think the Norwegians should top the happiest list as well? This indicates that wealth is not the biggest driver for happiness.

Happiness increase until you have reached a certain limit of money, in the poor country this line of happiness have a close relationship until you meet a line of 20.000 US dollars then it’s flattening out. Personal happiness is weak in wealthy nations in correlations to our income; we become not happier because of an increase. The increase must be so high that it changes your way of life. The indicators of greater wishes for a more spiritual lifestyle. Norway is number ten on the list of the highest pharmaceutical consumption and on the list of the happiest nations rated as number 20. One should think the Norwegians should be the happiest as well? It is not the case Norwegians earn the highest average salary in the world, see above about the correlation between salary and increased salary. The happiest countries in the World list

When becoming comfortable we easily get bored and start creating new problems

Norway was pretty unaffected by the financial crises as their oil is the main export, however, the country is among the wealthiest nations but have the industrial structure of an underdeveloped country mostly based around commodities. The oil is, of course, a good thing but also a killer of creativity and startups of business. Their neighbor country Sweden got companies and brands like Ericsson, Volvo, IKEA, ABB, Saab and fashion brands as H&M, Nudie, and Acne just to mention a few and without having any natural resources. A lack of an innovation culture. Norway, on the other hand, has no culture or retail brands; they have the large oil company Statoil where the state of Norway is the main owner of 50 percent.

Increased focus on materialism seems to make less happy. Does materialism make us happy or does happiness come from other sources? And does money make us the happiest? Money solves, of course, practical problems having money to pay the bills etc. But do we feel happy and satisfied? I believe the increased clinching to materialism and less emphasis on spiritual values can make us mentally vulnerable and less happy. Western countries have a lot to learn about Eastern religions and philosophy. Clinching to possessions is not good for the society as the gap between the wealthy people and the less wealthy increase, creates discrimination; education and salary gap create bitterness and envy.

Wealth and focus on materialism nurture the ego. Norwegians are open to the world but at the same time also extremely self-centered with an ego driven mindset. I am a Norwegian who lived several years abroad working and it was a freedom to be away as I realized it was not only the cold weather, but I learned it was even colder in the society as well. What can make us happy? Happiness is dependent on many factors, people who have freedom, nations with better healthcare system make people less worried, and this security makes it easier to experience happiness. The measure according to research about happiness was taken from the world’s database of happiness.

The Worlds Database of Happiness parameters

  • Wealth
  • Security
  • Lethal accidents
  • Social security
  • Freedom economic
  • Political and personal
  • Inequality
  • Brotherhood
  • Tolerance
  • Trust
  • Life expectancy
  • Justice

Other Parameters

People who live in a society with the family members close are happier than people who live alone. Social justices, less discrimination against women and longer life expectancy can relate to happiness. The weather can make a difference, people who live in countries where the winter is long, dark and cold can create more depression. But its difficult to measure happiness because it is inside a human feel, behavior and it is of constant change. What is happiness? Quotes based upon happiness, wisdom, and compassion can help us reduce our big makes us happy or unhappy is not to be taking easy. To study what makes us happy and what brings happiness is a huge field of research.

As a Buddhist, I must say that an approach to find happiness faster and with books like Happiness for dummies will not bring you any closer. I think it’s clear that shopping will not make you become a happier person. What is important is to live in the present, not the past or in the future and of course have a balanced life or in Buddhism referred to as The Middle Way. Meditation can bring you closer to this point where you can manage to calm your mind and bring peace to the mind. To measure happiness than the status of mental illness, suicide rate and other related statistics among wealthy societies and nations are of importance.

The Nobel peace prize winner in 1998 the Dalai Lama gave an unforgettable speech about inner peace, happiness, and compassion

The Nobel Peace Prize 1989 awarded to The 14th Dalai Lama. He starts his speech even though the speech based upon peace on and non-violence, share by great trough history, men as Gandhi with the words Brothers and Sisters: and I quote this speech of great wisdom; The realization that we are all basically the same human beings, who seek happiness and try to avoid suffering, is very helpful in developing a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood; a warm feeling of love and compassion for others. This, in turn, is essential if we are to survive in this ever shrinking. More about the Dalai Lama

Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions. The Dalai Lama speaks of compassion on a global level; Today, we are truly a global family. What happens in one part of the world may affect us all. This, of course, is not only true of the negative things that happen but is equally valid for the positive developments. We not only know what happens elsewhere, thanks to the extraordinary modern communications technology. We are also directly affected by events that occur far away. Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where the people are fed, and where people and nations are free. True peace with oneself and with the world around us can only be achieved through the development of mental peace.

The other phenomena mentioned above are similarly interrelated. Thus, such as, we see that a clean environment, wealth or democracy means little in the face of war, especially nuclear war and that material development is not enough to ensure human happiness.

Dalai Lama speaks about materialism progress and inner development

Material progress is, of course, important for human advancement. In Tibet, we paid much too little attention to technological and economic development, and today we realize that this was a mistake. At the same time, material development without spiritual development can also cause serious problems, In some countries too much attention is paid to external things and very little importance is given to inner development. I believe both are important and must be developed side by side to achieve a good balance. A sense of inner peace is the foundation to develop happiness.

Peace, such as starts with each one of us. When we have inner peace, we can be at peace with those around us. When our community is in a state of peace, it can share that peace with neighboring communities, and so on. When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace. And there are ways in which we can consciously work to develop feelings of love and kindness. This can be achieved through religious practice and other non-religious practices. The importance is to take care of each other and the natural environment we live in seriously. Happiness, wisdom and compassion quotes can teach us a great deal about how to find happiness. Happiness is a core value for Buddha Jeans, we believe in happiness and the basic foundation of values, it is as important to measure as the carbon footprint Eastern culture and philosophy can teach us a great deal about caring for our environment and make life easier.

“To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man control his mind he can find the way to enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him” Buddha

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