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What is happiness?


My name is Kyoko Shimada, a researcher of the topic "what you need to live a healthy and fulfilling life."

Today, let's break down the meaning of "happiness".

Positive psychology has been popular since the 1990s. There has been a lot learned from those studies. For example, people tend to compare others on temporary and materialistic terms like “money” and “status” and also happiness doesn't last too long.

"Non-status goods" such as "connection with others", "health", and "freedom" are emphasized not on comparison with others, but on how you feel. These "non-status goods" are linked to satisfaction and happiness, and are long-lasting. Etc etc

The sense of fulfillment and happiness obtained from this "non-status property" is expressed in the recently talked-about word "well-being." It’s like rather than winning 300 million yen in the lottery, enjoying a common hobby with your favorite friends is closer to well-being.

Professor Takashi Maeno of Keio University and others expressed the characteristics of people with a high sense of well-being in four simple words. They say that the more we feel these four, the happier we are.

  1. The “Let's try” factor: to grow proactively toward self-actualization while being excited

  2. The “Thank you” factor: Feeling connections and bond with people and being grateful

  3. The “things will manage” factor: Being optimistic and having a challenging spirit without fear of failure

  4. The “being authentic” factor: to live in a way that is true to oneself rather than judging others

(explanation has been shortened)

Is happiness something you pursue by yourself?

We often say, "I'm destined not to be happy," or, "That person was born under a lucky star." But when I saw these four, I began to think, "Maybe I can aim for happiness by myself."

Because phrases like “let’s try” or “be authentic” involve me.

And, it may be difficult, but the phrases “Thank you” and “things will manage” somehow depends on how I feel and think.

Most of us would rather be happy than unhappy.

If you want to be happy, be grateful for the connections you have with people on a daily basis. But I guess I should try it first...

Even if there are days you think “this rain will never stop”, there will come a time when the rain will stop and the sun peeks through. And overall, there may be a lot of sunny days unexpectedly.

Let's do it, let it be. So thank you.

Tonight was the night when I decided I wanted to spend a little time chanting that phrase like a mantra.

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