10 October 2012
Achieving True Happiness
The question “why are we on this planet?” is one that everyone at some point in his or her life ponders about. For some it might be family, others success or religion, but at the root of it all, if we are not happy, what is the point of asking? “Happiness” can be defined as a mental state or emotion in which we are content with everything in out surroundings and encounters. In the essay, “Born to Be Happy, Through a Twist of Human Hard Wire,” author Richard A. Friedman explains happiness in a very interesting way. He states that chemicals the brain produces, such as dopamine and serotonin is the causes of happiness and other emotions. That may be a way of generalizing the causes scientifically, but for something so complex and mysterious such as happiness, it becomes the aspects in your life that enable you to achieve true happiness. They can be summed down to daily satisfaction, social satisfaction, and personal satisfaction. Those three components cover every section of your life; having all three evident in your life with good balance between each of them will enable you to achieve true lasting happiness.
In his essay, Friedman, talks about a rare circumstance of a woman that lost her job and husband died from cancer, but was still always abnormally happy. The woman was lucky to be born with a joyous temperament, which in its most extreme form is called hyperthymia. Despite life’s misfortunes and any bad event, hyperthymic people remain energetic; they are considered the psychiatric mirror image of people who suffer from lifelong mild depression called dysthymia. Over two thousand years ago, Hippocrates proposed that a mixture of four basic things determined human temperament. Those were thought to be “blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile”. Today that theory is now replaced with chemicals your brain produces called neurotransmitters. Modern day science shows...