Whenever I go to India, I always look out for quirky, handwritten signboards and adverts because they always seize to put a smile on my face. Whilst on my annual visit to India this year, I was on my everyday task of spotting boards, which either left me with a smile plastered across my face or let a giggle escape my mouth. But one day, I saw a rather odd advert for a free-trial of a laughter class, which really got me thinking. Are people so unhappy and stressed that they’ve forgotten how to laugh? Are we really happy in today’s turbulent world?

Sure, at present, life’s much more comfortable than what it used to be. Everything is easier now. Electronic gadgets are something we all cannot live without. They fill in for everything, ranging from a book to a friend (there’s always Siri).

But, are comforts and luxuries the sole components of happiness? Are they the only basis on which happiness should be defined? What is happiness anyways?

Happiness is an emotion; a term that cannot be measured. Happiness could mean a lot of different things to different people. And so is the definition of happiness subjective; it varies from what people perceive it to be.

However, I firmly believe that we cannot characterize the lives we are leading today as “happy”, and I have substantial reasons to prove the same.
Development has brought man to a stage where he isn’t able to fulfill his hunger for nature. Contrary to how life was before, we do not live in proximity to nature anymore. Psychological studies have shown how connection with nature is deeply linked with happiness. At present, we are constantly found indoors, in our air-conditioned surroundings with our devices. I’m also certain that there are so many of you out there who would prefer sitting inside to going out and enjoying nature. The boundary between us and nature is thickening with the passage of time. Developmental campaigns have led to the obliteration of mother nature and have perhaps helped economies in the short-run. But it has definitely led to a huge issue. No one realizes how nature plays such a pivotal role in keeping us happy, and it’s high time that people should do so.

The technological advancement that no one stops talking about has induced the formation of a world which nurtures and promotes materialism. We have been driven by the idea of capitalism so much so that society is characterized on the high levels of greed, jealousy, selfishness and so on. We live in a society wherein everyone thinks of outranking one another. Stress, tension and depression aren’t new words to us. We live in a world where the number of diagnosed mental problems are constantly escalating. Globally more than 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression and this number is on the rise. Depression is a condition that affects 1 in 10 Americans at one point or another. According to a source, there has been a 400% increase in the use of antidepressants in the US alone. All of these factors don’t reflect positively on the fact that we’re happy in the present era.

With people being diagnosed with mental problems unheard of, and people committing suicide everyday, do you still think we’re happy?

We all lead very busy lives today; we don’t have time for ourselves. This has led to the formation of a society where everyone is confused, tired, and where no one has time to keep to themselves, to rewind, resulting in a plummet in happiness and contentment. We have no time to spend with our family, which has hampered relationships. Speaking of relationships, social media doesn’t help either. This so called social media is everything but social, and has resulted in deterioration of physical relationships further resulting in isolation and desolation, leading to an unhappy world.

I believe that happiness in today’s world is an illusion. Sure, we get momentary happiness when we watch our favorite movies or jam to our favorite songs, but this happiness doesn’t stay, and we find ourselves in a doleful state, stressed, confused and with expectations weighing us down.

(Photo credit: http://www.glutenfreegigi.com/celiac-disease-depression-and-the-role-of-food-in-mood/)

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