The search term “how to be happy?” has a monthly search rate of 27,100 on Google, with multiple websites trying to offer relevant solutions to help people be happy. From social media to YouTube, influencers discuss mindfulness, positive thoughts, daily journaling, and other techniques to add to your happiness. But have you ever considered why humans fail to be happy even after so many attempts to chase happiness?
The Pursuit Of Happiness
Chasing happiness is a major goal among Americans, slowly seeded to the rest of the world. So far, an estimated 11 billion US$ a year has been used to establish a fantasy that happiness is a realistic goal. But still, no one till today has been able to come up with a valid reason “why humans fail to be happy?”
Looking into the past – Abd-al-Rahman III was the most powerful man of his time as the Caliph of Cordoba. In his list of achievements, one could count all sorts of cultural and military exclusivities along side pleasures of two harems. However, toward the end of his life, he decided to count the days he felt happiness for real. It came down to 14 days only. Strange right? A man with so much wealth and luxury still failed to be happy. Does that make you question the very existence of happiness?
Various Factors Contributing To Why Humans Fail To Be Happy?
Around 40% of students in the USA feel highly depressed on most days. Have you ever wondered why? Why humans fail to be happy?
In one of his studies, Laurie Santos (Yale University psychology professor) says, “The human mind is lying to us.” He then elaborates on the ‘miswanting mechanism coined by Tim Wilson & Dan Gilbert. Here humans end up longing for things that they think will make them happy, but as time passes, those wants do not turn out to be fruitful anyway. It fails to satisfy the exact needs of the person. Thus the mind starts taking happiness in the wrong way.
Secondly, humans are more prone to compare outcomes rather than focusing on objective terms. They are always ready to set a ‘reference point.’ Even if a person earns a decent amount, they still choose to be unhappy because someone outside is earning more than them.
Third, the human mind gets bored of stuff fast. The first-time experience is always glorious to the brain. However, as you keep on experiencing the same incident time and again, things become familiar. Researchers coin such emotion as ‘hedonic adoption.’
Who Are Happy?
Getting to the core of the matter ‘why humans fail to be happy?’ A study highlights that the fear of social judgment, failure, and financial instability guard people against being happy. However, the researcher also discovered that ‘certain people are happier than others.’ Are you curious to know their secret of happiness?
These people have come to accept their life’s positive and negative emotions. They now focus on what truly matters to them. In psychological terms, such a state of mind is called ‘emodiversity.’ Where people can experience all types of emotions in equal measure.
The people who felt fulfilled in all situations were the ones who had learned to accept the ups and downs of their life and appreciated them all. This behavioral shift and flexible mindset let them adapt to various situations, intentions, and life experiences.
With everything said and known, happiness is not a destination but a certain state of mind. It is important to experience pain to understand what happiness is. Ups and downs are normal in one’s life. We are made to believe that happiness is a final destination and things will last the same forever. However, evolution is a part of human life, and you cannot stop things from changing. Just like your physique outgrows your favorite clothes, your mind will also outgrow happy emotions, and the surrounding will change over time. The more you learn to accept change, the happier you will be.