Last night I was watching the documentary film, Happy by Roco Belic. Interestingly enough, (perhaps not), when asked what people want most their answer, every time, every country, was to be happy. This question spanned the globe, people from Japan, India, Mexico, the U.S…it didn’t matter, the answer was always, “to be happy”. So the questions needs to be asked, what makes you happy? How does one find this illusion called happiness? Better yet, what is it that we are doing that doesn’t equal “happy”?

Hershey’s dark chocolate

I think as a culture we define happiness through material goods. As consumers we are bred and fed to believe that if we buy this diet pill, or make this much money or live in this house, we will reach “happy”. But happiness is within us, it is what we choose to define as peace and contentment…not striving for the next thing to maybe, almost reach an illusion of feeling that doesn’t exist.

During the documentary Roco unveils Japans underground secret of people working themselves to death. One big culprit, Toyota Motors. Many Japanese men being expected to work seven days a week with unruly hours and no sleep, and many collapsing from exhaustion and falling to their death. Leaving behind wives, children and family. Being pushed to the brink in order to be the best, not realizing that by allowing others to dictate your fate, you give them your destiny.

In opposition, Bhutan, India and Denmark are considered the happiest places on earth. Countries that have governments that support their people in wealth, health and happiness. Denmark has a fascinating housing program called Co-housing where residents all share a main home and have private quarters. The main house includes one large living room, a kitchen and gardens. Each resident is required to cook 2 meals a month. Everyone chips in with the bills, garden, cooking and main activities like taking kids to school. Imagine if America could take part in something like this? SO many single mothers would rejoice!

Another fascinating fact was the discussion of money. The difference between a person making $5K a year and $50K a year was vast. Earning $5K meant high stress, low health, and no freedom, but earning $50K meant a comfortable life. There was an acute difference in happiness, however, the difference between $50K and $5million was exactly the same if not worse at the higher end. Belic found that as long as basic needs were meant, and certain comforts were afforded, there was no difference in level of happiness simply because of more money. In fact, most people who made more money were less happy, feeling a need to always make more and consume, and never really enjoying it.

So what is it that you are doing that doesn’t equal happy? In order to find your happiness do more of what you love and less of what you don’t….seems simple enough right? Unfortunately many of us default to complaining, finding wrong, gossiping and sinking to jealousy when things we want belong to another. Instead, find gratitude for the things you do have. Do you have a roof over your head? Is your family healthy? Are your basic needs met? If so, then what are you complaining about? Stop and enjoy the simple pleasures in life, surprisingly many of them are free like taking a lovely walk in nature. My happiness is found in a bar of dark chocolate!

How do you find your Happy?