Should we look for happiness in a troubled world?

Should we look for happiness in a troubled world?

Yesterday I posted the following tweet on my Twitter account, @drhappy as well as The Happiness Institute's Facebook page…

Happiness is knowing that if you're reading this you almost certainly have a better quality of life than 5-6 billion people in the world!

Now the response was overwhelmingly positive, with many "likes" but there were also a few very interesting comments that essentially questioned the following…

Should this fact actually make us happy or should we feel sad that there are so many who're suffering and who have so little? 

Can and/or should we look for happiness in a world with so much misery? 

I'm paraphrasing here but these are important questions and they capture the essence of a vitally important issue within Positive Psychology. 

I'm not naive enough to suggest the world is a perfect place. Obviously there are many problems and many troubles and unfortunately, there are many people who're sick, poor, suffering and/or having to tolerate unmentionable hardships. 

The question is not whether this is the case or not, it is, but more so, what's the best way to deal with it.

One could easily argue that it's depressing to think of all this but…then what? With depression often comes helplessness, hopelessness and inaction. 

In contrast, I argue that we should empathise with and care about those who're less fortunate BUT THEN determine what we can do about it. And if we want to do something about it, to make the world a better place, then I argue that we'll be more able to do this if we take action first to enhance our own happiness. Because with happiness comes positive energy and motivation and inspiration…all of which increases the chances we'll engage in constructive behaviours and make a positive difference! 

So, that's what I think…but what do you think? Have your say on The Happiness Institute's Facebook Page HERE. We look forward to reading your thoughts…