What Is Happiness?

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Abstract
The desire to seek happiness is hardwired into our brains. It’s an essential part of life, and for the majority of our existence, something labored for at every possible moment. We base every decision on how the consequences of our choices affect our overall happiness. So much so, we will even create pain in our lives if we believe that it will lead us to it. People who are viewed as happy in our culture today are seen as being rich, having expensive toys, and a great occupation. Our society is attracted to material things, rather than immaterial. So can a person who does not have these items have a different definition of happiness? And can those with these items define happiness as something else? With a series of interviews my intention was to show that happiness is not a fixed concept, but shifts over the course of one’s lifetime. Whereas younger people are more likely to associate happiness with things, and as they get older, become more likely to associate happiness with feeling and sentiment. However, what I observed was something quite unexpected.

For my research I chose an age range that was broad, starting at eight-teen and going up to as high has seventy. Being thirty-seven, I feel I have a pretty good grasp on reality and would’ve almost bet that I knew exactly how each age group would respond to the research questions, especially the teenagers. I work in a High School and I see these kids every day. I hear the conversations, I see the trends, and I see how they play out within the building. Even the slightly older adults; the ones that graduated from high school two and three ago, should surely have the same mindset right? My thought process was pretty simple, maybe too simple. The younger you are, the more likely you are to attribute happiness with material things. The older you are, sentiment is the motivating factor in happiness. I felt the easiest and most efficient way of gathering information would be from my place of work, and...
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