Free «Happiness as a Positive State of Human Mind» Essay Sample
In the modern world, people often speak much about different types of difficulties they have to face during their life experiences, such as state policy, social order, interpersonal communication with peers, friends, and even the closest people, etc. Everyday, each person enthusiastically fights with these limitations and obstacles that are considered to make the people unhappy and cause a great number of psychological disorders, such as anxiety and depression. However, the reasons for unhappiness differ from those people used to see. In most cases, people are limited by their personal way of thinking, which is the strongest oppression psychology has ever known. The struggle against person’s mind is the most complicated task of the human life that needs making the great efforts. It is the primary reason for people to explain the happiness as phenomena that do not depend on a man. Indeed, the reality is quite different. Thus, the paper is aimed at analyzing the happiness, its essence, roots and ways of achieving based on the psychology studies used to show the key role of the human mind in being happy.
The majority of men consider that they have no complete control over the things that make them happy. There is no surprise if to take into account that the nature of happiness remains completely unknown and rather controversial despite the centuries of investigating it by the wisest thinkers, as well as the ordinary people. This issue is actual since the dawn of time, and it changes along with the world’s transformation. Thus, the first theory of happiness emerged in the ancient Greece, where people led an ordinary lifestyle, relying on the gods’ will and fortune. That is why the happiness then was related to something that people had no control over.
The situation started to change from the period of philosopher Socrates, who was the first thinker, and who claimed that the happiness was not the will of heaven or destiny, but it was the result of human “sleepless ad laborious” efforts (Chirkov, Kennon, and Richard). He believed that the feeling of being happy was achievable and might be set up as the individual life goal grounded on a profound understanding of people’s life and their personal place in it. Socrates considered the knowledge as the crucial precondition for achieving the happiness. At the same time, the other philosophers were seeking for the roots and definition of the happiness in virtues (Plato and Aristotle), moral perfection (Kant), religion or God’s happiness (Augustine and Thomas Aquinas), pleasure (Arisbu), contentment (Taoist), etc. (Zhongying). According to Fu Liye if to count all the theories about happiness, one can find 278 kinds of conflicting definitions of happiness only in Rome Nero era (Zhongying).
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Despite the fact that the world changed from the times when the mentioned thinkers researched the issue, these studies’ echo may be found in the nowadays perception of the happiness. One can find evidence of this fact if they address the modern linguistic definition of the notion, including its synonymous diversity. Thus, there are near fifty synonyms of word happiness in the Oxford dictionary, including “contentment”, “pleasure”, “satisfaction” that was used by the philosophers. All they reflect the social values, life priorities, aspirations and needs of people related to different historical periods. Part of this heritage remains actual; at the same time, there are many new theories and visions of the happiness.
Speaking about nowadays when the work is at the center of human life, one can notice that no sphere of human life can remain outside the influence of this central accent. Thus, today, the success is the notion that is closest to the happiness because only getting desirable results in work, family, love and friendship, people can feel happy. Determining the priority between these two notions is the most controversial issue nowadays. The majority of the people think that success causess the happiness, while the others claim that only a happy person can reach better results than the others. Thus, Shawn Achor, who is a supporter of the latter position, affirms that human brain can work better only in the positive state, not in negative or neutral. To confirm this, he gives the convincing examples showing that doctors in a positive mood make diagnoses 19 percent faster than their colleagues in neutral state and that optimistic salespeople outsell their less optimistic counterparts by 56 percent (Achor). These facts show that the human happiness is inextricably linked with the people’s internal world and state of mind that, in turn, speak about the people’ ability to manage it. Having based his book The Happiness Advantage on such point of view, Shawn Achor presents seven principles of positive thinking that may help people use the potential of their brain in a right way, promoting needed abilities and fighting with the innate and acquired mental obstacles. The author assumes that such an approach is the primary fuel for success and high performance at work (Achor).
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Timothy Wilson’s vision of the matter is consistent with the Shawn Achor’s judgments. He also emphasizes the key role of the human mind in making people happy. In his book Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change, the author presents profound consideration about the components, reasons, measurements of human happiness that in one way or another reduce to the single thought related to the significance of positive thinking. Thus, Wilson claims that people’s “huge brain with a well-developed prefrontal cortex” distinguishes them from the animals, giving them an opportunity to analyze life circumstances and adopt appropriate decisions (Wilson 50). One can see the elements of Aristotle and Socrates’ theories about happiness in Wilson’s works accenting the purposeful life, virtue and understanding of men’s individual place in the surrounded environment as the crucial preconditions for being happy.
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