by Dan Reich
This is a question that has been asked as long as humans have been able to wrap their brains around it. Various philosophers and religions have attempted to figure it out without reaching any sort of consensus, since everyone’s version of happiness is individual to them. And some might wonder why I would explore this question during such challenging times.
Dictionary.com defines happiness as “good fortune, pleasure; contentment; joy. But there are many different forms of happiness. It can be momentary or constant. “Are you happy?” is a very different question than “Are you happy with your salad?”
The term subjective well-being is used in psychology circles as a measurement of both current experience and of life satisfaction. Psychologist and author Sonja Lyubomirsky (The How of Happiness) describes it as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”
In 1780, it occurred to English philosopher Jeremy Bentham that if the principal motivation of people was to seek happiness, the worth of a government could be determined by how happy its citizens were. This ushered in research seeking to quantify happiness. Perhaps the best known is the World Happiness Report, published annually since 2012, which measures responses to “How happy are you with your life as a whole” and “How happy are you now?” and ranks the world’s countries in order of reported happiness.
Finland has topped the list for the last three years, followed by Denmark,
Norway, Iceland and the Netherlands. Countries high on the list have high scores for income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity. The United States came in 19th. China was 93rd.
The Lure of Intoxicants
Humankind has a long tradition of seeking happiness in a more do-it-yourself way, through the use of substances that alter brain chemistry in a way that produces a greater sense of well-being, or happiness. Many of these are problematic…the downsides of alcohol and opiates are significant and widely known. Cannabis, which has a relationship with humankind as long as that of alcohol, provides a much more benign way to elevate your mood. As more is learned about this amazing plant and the stereotype of the aimless stoner gives way to perception of cannabis as a valuable self-care aid, products now enable you to feel better from both THC-oriented and CBD products applied topically, orally or by inhalation. If too much THC tends to make you nervous, we offer many products that are blended with CBD, some with negligible amounts of THC.
If you’re responsible in your use of cannabis products, you are likely enjoying an enhanced sense of well-being on an ongoing basis, and are doing other things that contribute to your own happiness, such as meditation, spending time in nature or aligning yourself with something larger than yourself.
Or simply heed the 4-word advice of Meher Baba and Bobby McFerrin:
“Don’t worry. Be happy.”