The Science of Happiness
Topic: The pursuit of happiness
General purpose: To inform
Special purpose: To inform the audience about the three main factors, which determine the pursuit of happiness.
Thesis: The three main components that make the pursuit of happiness possible are biological, social and psychological basis.
- Biological basis for happiness
- The Hormonal component
- Central nervous system
- Social basis for happiness
- The impact of social environment
- Psychological basis for happiness
- The self-esteem issues
- The intrapersonal conflict
The Science of Happiness
There are more than two hundred definitions of the concept of “happiness”. Basically, they came from theology and philosophy. Aristotle gave the notion of happiness this definition: “Happiness is the activity of the soul in the fullness of virtue.” He believed that the understanding of happiness depends on who we ask. Even though, it is really so that happiness is different for every other person, it still has the three basics, which are common for everybody.
First of all, happiness is a state of being, which has its own biological basis. Several researchers have been working on this topic trying to find out whether our organism could control the ephemeral state of self-content. In fact, there are myriads of works dedicated to the role of hormones in acquiring happiness. Molecules of happiness are primarily endorphins, which are the peptides that reduce pain and cause a state of euphoria(Hotze & Griffin, 2013). Then there is also serotonin that does not provide euphoria, since it provides a long-term sense of satisfaction. Dopamine is responsible for human beings’ reinforcement and reward system.
For all three of these schemes to work, the body needs a healthy brain. There are three main parts of the brain, which are responsible for the sense of happiness. The most important one is the orbitofrontal cortex. The front of the brain is what remains of human beings from lizards, fish and so on. All that is overgrown from above is what distinguishes mammals, apes and humans. First of all, the front part is responsible for complex things, which includes monetary and social incentives, while the back part does so for hedonistic joys, among which are food and sex(Nieuwenhuys, Voogd & Huijzen, 2008). It would seem that here lies the difference: social and biological components. However, in fact, everything works together.
The social component of happiness includes the social environment one lives in. Except for setting up a stereotypical list of things one should get in order to truthfully be happy, society restrains several ways people would be able to acquire that feeling. Being a social being, a human has to follow the pathway society draws for its “normal” member. Even though, some norms are indeed needed in order to restrain societal members from harmful derring-do’s towards the others, they should not really make human beings feel unsatisfied.
Most psychologists believe that a happy person feels independent of external circumstances, it is rather an internal feeling. One of the main secrets of happiness is a normal self-esteem. According to the director of the program “Do Something Different”, Dr. Mark Williamson, it is important not to engage in self-deception, give yourself the right to make mistakes and accept yourself as you are. Indeed, as it turned out, many people have problems with self-esteem: only 5% of respondents rated themselves 10 points out of 10, and 45% rated themselves below the average, putting themselves less than five points(“| Change habits for good | One Do at a time”, 2017).
Each person constantly plays a role. The role of the parent, the role of the passenger, the employee of the firm. Role is defined as usually stable behavioral pattern that is connected with society. It is usually given by society to perform certain function and to realize specific social status (Fiske et al., 2010). Each role imposes an imprint on the individual, on the person’s self-consciousness, as he mobilizes the resources of his body and psyche to fulfill this role. It might happen that intrapersonal conflicts occur. They mainly describe incoherence between enforcement of playing a role and personal acceptance of having that specific role. It is usually connected with psychic abilities (Harré & Moghaddam,2008). If the “role” is higher than the possibilities of the “I”, then the person feels constant fatigue, this conflict gives rise to a constant self-doubt, dissatisfaction with oneself, close ones, and the surrounding world.
There are several studies expanding on several aspects that build up the feeling of happiness. However, there is no doubt, that biological, social, and psychological basis are the ones, which influence it the most through several mechanisms, among which there are hormonal components, the way central nervous system works, the impact of social environment, self-esteem issues and intrapersonal conflicts. Whatever factors influence happiness the most, human being need this feeling in order to thrive.
| Change habits for good | T., & Lindzey, G. (Eds.). (2010). Handbook of social psychology (Vol. 2). John Wiley & Sons.
Harré, R., & Moghaddam, F. M. (2008). Intrapersonal conflict. Global conflict resolution through positioning analysis, 65-78.
Hotze, S., & Griffin, K. (2013). Hormones, health and happiness. Charleston, SC: Advantage Media.
Nieuwenhuys, R., Voogd, J., & Huijzen, C. (2008). The human central nervous system. Berlin: Springer.
One Do at a time. (2017). Do Something Different. Retrieved 6 September 2017, from https://dsd.me/
Fiske, S. T., Gilbert, D.
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