Where Can We Find Happiness? Our Attempts at Securing a Joyous Life

Last Updated: January 01, 2023

Author: Sadasha Dixit

Where Can We Find Happiness? Our Attempts at Securing a Joyous Life

Much of our days are spent scrolling for smiles, searching for laughter, and looking up ways to stock up contentment. As the realm of social media has dominated our lives, we find ourselves searching for doses of dopamine within every activity solely with the intention of uploading it onto our social media. How are we failing to find happiness within our technologically driven lives where all our wants and needs can be instantaneously fulfilled by the touch of our fingertips? Why are we, as a society, collectively seeking happiness in the same social media we flaunt our paradisiacal lives in? 

Where can I find happiness?

Interestingly, “Where can I find happiness?” was one of the most searched phrases on Google in 2020. Additionally, data shows that “happiness” was searched more than ever on Google search last year. These reports are extracted from a single search engine, which excludes all other web browsers as well as synonyms of happiness that were used to find answers. This data, although not surprising, surely is concerning.

Role of COVID-19 Pandemic

The devastations caused by the global pandemic in our health, economy, personal, and professional lives have been extremely detrimental to both our physical and mental wellbeing. With the social isolation practices ceasing travel, social gatherings, etc., this distressing time has inherently made COVID-19 one of the culprits to increasing people’s longing to chase the simple pleasures of life. Given the circumstances, with limited psychological help and social support, it was inherent for people to look for happiness on the internet. However, was it entirely the pandemic that caused people to seek contentment and optimism on the web?

Potential Reasons Why People are Seeking Contentment

Although we are unable to pinpoint a definite reason as to why over 45 million people were ready to take advice from strangers on the internet for ways to increase their levels of contentment, some debatable questions do arise that may need to be addressed. 

If people were leading a life composed of enjoyment and boastful achievements prior to the pandemic; stressors aside, why did they feel the need to search for happiness on the internet as soon as COVID-19 engulfed our lives? Does this mean the majority of our lives are tangible to materialistic things and to gaining experiences such as venturing out to various cafes and restaurants? This could be one of the reasons for a number of people—where they used to thrive off of the satisfaction of indulging in the luxuries of 5-star hotels, restaurants, and expensive possessions. However, it most certainly is not the reason for all. 

Another analogy that was raised in mind was the possibility of people never being content with their lives in the first place—where their own veils were lifted off by the limitations imposed by the pandemic. What if people masked such “exciting” lives on the internet and were never happy to begin with? It also raises the question that the majority of what people engage in might be to broadcast on their social media to impress people or have others envy them. They might be going on vacations and buying expensive items, not for their own benefit but solely to show them off to their friends, family, and world. When the pandemic infected our lives, they were forced to stop living their so-called lavish lifestyles, which made them sit with the raw emotions that showed them the unfulfilling lives they were leading and how unhappy they are. 

Additionally, we are used to comparing our paths, experiences, achievements, and lifestyle with others on social media, which may have been another trigger to decreased levels of happiness. As lockdown forced us to stay home, our screen times were at an all-time high, and we probably spent a little too much time scrolling through our feeds, comparing our lives to others. This harmful habit, compiled with the existing stressors of the state of the world, could have been much more detrimental to our self-esteem and wellbeing, resulting in us looking for answers to establish joy on our days again. 

These are just simple questions and analogies aside from people feeling lonely and unhappy due to the lack of face-to-face human connection, the anxiety-inducing state of the world, and their personal struggles that may have worsened due to the pandemic. 

Where Can We Find Happiness? 

Drawing an alternative perspective, perhaps the secret to obtaining a prominent sense of contentment isn’t to shower yourself with materialistic items or by manifesting it through your well-curated smiles for social media. 

Maybe we can achieve prolonged satisfaction through experiences such as traveling, where we travel to connect with others and help those to the best of our ability by engaging in meaningful work such as volunteering for an organization. 

Let’s visualize this experience. 

You venture out into an underdeveloped nation, or a rural part of your own country and give those in need your time and energy which will make a huge impact on their day-to-day lives. Your help will leave security in their heart while they radiate gratitude upon you. 

Moreover, during this process, you are highly likely to find yourself connecting with new people—learning about their cultural practices while you share your own. This wholesome experience will allow you to meet people with drastically different backgrounds than yours, who will help you gain a newer perspective in life while you help bring a positive change into theirs. This connection and experience is not something we can collect from the screens of our devices, making it that much more valuable and leaving you with a sense of satisfaction that cannot be topped by much else. 

Ingrained in our brains is the thought of “finding” happiness, but how much are we willing to do to obtain it? Allow yourself the freedom to be adventurous and generous. Monitor how it will help you feel. 

Let us step away from the same screens that make us question our worth and divert our attention to engaging in something meaningful that will contribute to somebody else’s happiness. Maybe, as social beings, we’re responsible to share contentment? 

Perhaps helping others build their happiness is the secret to us gaining ours? 

-Author is a student of Psychology & English writing at University of San Francisco, California, USA

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