Happiness is a hard thing to quantify. Ask someone multiple times the same day and each time you’ll probably get a different answer and for a different reason. But a recent Harris Poll attempted to do just that. To determine what % of the American population is happy.
You can read the survey here. Now to be fair, surveys no matter how professionally they’re done are still very prone to sources of error. Thats why what strikes me if you look at the chart below. Is in spite of the errors there’s still a noticeable trend in almost every category towards a less happy populace.
People Are Getting Less Happy
Whats especially striking about this chart. Is the general trend in almost category towards the more pessimistic answer. I imagine if you stretched this chart out to include the past say 50 years. The results would be even more stark. It must be something about society in general. It would be naive to think its just a coincidence.
So heres why I think people are getting less happy.
Heres Why People Are Less Happy
We rely on technology too much
We’re constantly isolating ourselves from our surroundings to spend time with our phones and virtual realities. We need to put down the phone, turn off the TV and connect through time spent together the way past generations have.
We rarely have unbiased interactions
If you combine work, commutes, less time spent with friends and family or more time being busy working. It adds up to us spending less and less time with people we care about who have nothing at stake in our interactions. Salespeople, advertisers, coworkers, they all have biases in our interactions and we can’t be fully genuine with them.
Our expectations for ourselves are too high
Modern society has introduced a new issue people are having. We’ve all been told to reach for the stars so much that we expect to always get there. But life doesn’t work like that. So you have people being perpetually disappointed because they’re expectations aren’t in line with whats possible. Forget realistic.
People aren’t happy with where they are
This stems from the expectations issue. People are so focused on getting to some distant future point that they forget to enjoy the process. To be happy with where they are. Its the living in the moment thing you’ve probably heard before. Its true though, living for tomorrow makes for a disappointing today. Because tomorrow won’t live up to your expectations. Its just another today. Life is a sequence of todays.
This Will Probably Only Get Worse
This is just my take I should note. But that data is hard to refute. People do seem to gradually be getting less and less happy. Perhaps there are other causes. But it does seem like this is a larger trend and it will only get worse. Unless we begin halting the trend today. Its not as hard as it seems, although it also isn’t easy. Being happy is simply a commitment to adopting a certain mindset. And adhering to that mindset in spite of the frustrations and annoyances of reality. Give it a try. Commit yourself to being as happy as possible for a week.
If you’ve got some ideas on the subject comment them and add to the dialogue. Share this article with your circle to, maybe they can benefit from knowing about this.