Richard Layard stated that ‘happiness comes from outside and within’.
Happiness is described as a positive feeling that ranges from Joy to contentment. Everybody would like to be happy. It is believed that people who are happy are more successful, productive, have better relationships and better health. We would like to maintain these feelings when we have them. Richard Layard uses the terms ‘outside’ and ‘within’ to describe where happiness comes from. ‘Outside’ factors include influences like relationships, social identities and culture. ‘Within’ looks at influences such as biology, thoughts and feelings. So the ‘outside’ relates to social influences and ‘within’ relates to personal factors inside the individual. This essay aims to find evidence of these multiple influences in order to explain Richard Layard’s statement. First it will address ‘within’, next it will look at the ‘outside’, finishing with a conclusion.
A key biological factor of happiness is linked to a healthy lifestyle and eating the right food. Exercising and eating right increases the body’s level of endorphins, which naturally gives us a boost. Certain foods stimulate the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin regulates mood, appetite and sleep, and is what produces the feelings of happiness and satisfaction within us. If we have low levels of serotonin we feel depressed and anxious. Judith Wurtman (1996) (cited in starting psychology 2011) found a connection between low levels of serotonin and a diet low in carbohydrates. People on high fat, high protein, low carbohydrate diets reported feelings of depression anger and tension which were unusually high. Foods that stimulate serotonin contain a chemical called tryptophan. Foods like fish, nuts, beans, eggs, oats and chocolate all contain this mood boosting chemical. So what we put in our bodies can affect our level of happiness. When Layard states happiness comes from ‘within’ he is drawing on these biological...
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