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Leanna Walters

Student in Biological Sciences,

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What attributes lead to universal happiness?

We all have different values and priorities, but what are the parts of life that are essential to pure happiness? What are the most basic aspects of life that are necessary to be happy? What are universal characteristics that are important ensure a happy life, whether you're in a big city or remote tribe?

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    Dec 6 2012: Sadness - without it, there is no gauging happiness.
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      Dec 6 2012: And without happiness, there is no gauging sadness. The happiest person in the world must allow themselves to feel negative emotions. I guess what I'm asking is what are characteristics/habits/mindsets that a purely happy person possesses that are essential for a universal happiness in all humans?
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        Dec 6 2012: I don't think there is such a thing as universal happiness in all humans.

        Anybody who is capable of thought will feel sadness.

        Depth of thought seems to be related to sadness. The deeper we think about things, the more likely we are to encounter it.

        Those people who skim the surface of life appear to be the happiest.

        Not sure what you mean by "Our emotions are static"...?
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          Dec 6 2012: I do not agree Allan, that "those people who skim the surface of life appear to be the happiest". Personally, I experience happiness/contentment BECAUSE of my willingness to go to the depth of ALL emotions. It is from totally exploring sadness, frustration, anger, discontent, etc., AND joy, humor, compassion, empathy, respect,etc., that I discover MORE joy and contentment:>)

          I believe struggling with, or trying to resist those emotions we may label as "negative" is the cause of most unhappiness, discontent, confusion, etc.
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          Dec 6 2012: I agree 100% with everything that Colleen says! Its a very Buddhist concept.. to allow yourself to feel the full range of emotions so that you can experience the positive ones (happiness, joy, excitement, etc.) A genuinely happy person will experience sadness, frustration, anger, etc. throughout their lives. You need to allow yourself to feel these emotions instead of suppressing them. The people who skim the surface are the ones who refuse to let themselves feel anything. I don't believe they are the happiest, they are the numbest. I truly believe that there are certain constants that you will find when comparing the happiness of humans throughout the world. I'm curious as to what it is ... relationships, family, sense of community, purpose?
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          Dec 6 2012: Leanna,
          WOW!!! You agree 100% with everything I say.....cool! I agree 100% with your comment above as well.....imagine that! Well almost! I don't agree with labeling emotions negative or positive.

          I think that everything you mention contributes to happiness....don't you? I think there have been studies done which indicate that good relationships, family support, sense of community and purpose are very related to happiness. I also suggest health, and basic needs being met.....food, shelter, safety....etc.
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          Dec 7 2012: Allan,
          This note is to let you know that I watched the video and responded. Because of the sequence, Leanna is going to get the notification.
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        Dec 6 2012: Leanna,
        Which emotions are "negative emotions"?

        In my perception and experience, emotions are simply emotions, and I do not label them negative or positive. We can genuinely feel all emotions with intent to learn, so how can any emotion be thought of as negative? It is in allowing ALL emotions to fllow through me, and genuinely acknowledging ALL of them that contributes to my happiness/contentment with the life adventure:>)
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        Dec 6 2012: Leanna,
        What you insightfully write in another comment seems to be connected here....at least for me:>)

        You say..."accepting yourself for all your quirks and quips will increase your own happiness dramatically". If we are labeling emotions "negative" and "positive", is that totally accepting ourselves with all our "quirks and quips". I totally agree that it is good to accept all our quirks and quips, AND all our emotions without labeling:>)
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          Dec 6 2012: I guess what I mean by negative emotions is the emotions that people often try to repress/numb/hide: sadness, anger, frustration, jealousy, etc. etc... the emotions that many people don't want to feel and often times don't let themselves feel. Once you acknowledge these negative emotions, it is much easier to let them go and move on to happiness.
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        Dec 6 2012: Leanna,
        It is very common to label those emotions that we prefer as "positive", and those we may not like so much as "negative". The thing is...ALL emotions provide the opportunity to take us to a new understanding in ourselves, which facilitates a new understanding of others as well....compassion and empathy. When we truly have compassion and empathy for ourselves, we allow the emotions to flow without struggle, and I totally agree with you that it is much easier to let them flow and move on.

        For me, the first part of that process, is recognizing the value of ALL emotions and welcoming them. I have learned to be comfortable with discomfort, and with that thought and feeling, I do not need to label emotions.....they are all good and valuable....make any sense?

        Another idea....happiness/contentment can be the underlying foundation for ALL emotions, so we don't need to "move on to happiness", it can be a part of the process. As multi dimensional, multi sensory beings, we can feel several different emotions at the same time:>)

        This may sound confusing, and it's really more simple....in my humble perception:>) You know how sometimes we may think something like.....I really feel sad and I want to be happy....how do I find happiness.....something like that? That adds confusion to our thoughts and feelings. How about if we say/think/feel....I'm happy that I'm feeling sad because this is an opportunity to learn, grow and evolve? That is neither negative or positive...only an opportunity:>)
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          Dec 6 2012: Wise words, Colleen. :) That is truly enlightening. I have noticed, in my own life, that it is the times where I have hit rock bottom where I have had the most positive life changes. By allowing myself to experience these emotions, it allowed me to be more true to myself, gain a better understanding of myself and make the changes that I need to be happy! There is certainly value in that.
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          Dec 6 2012: Colleen and Leanna, am I (partially) allowed to agree with your disagreement?

          It is crucial to experience the whole gamut of emotions in order to feel real happiness with life as a whole - completely with you on that one!

          My point about 'skimming the surface of life' is to do with certain personality types who, when confronted by a conversation requiring depth of thought, would rather change the subject or dismiss it as being too much hard work. That's not a criticism - more an observation of their outward style of dealing with life (rather than having an accurate knowledge of their inward style).

          Take a look at this talk by Richard Schoch:

          http://iai.tv/video/the-myth-of-being-happy

          ...and in a moment of unaccustomed self-promotion - that's me asking the question at 31:20!
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        Dec 6 2012: Yes Allan, you are allowed to agree with our disagreement.....LOL:>)

        It's funny, because when I was writing "I do not agree Allan", I was thinking....this is the first time ever, I have not agreed with Allan....there must be something that I am not hearing/seeing/perceiving?

        I agree with you that there are some folks who like to skim over "deep stuff", and they believe they are happier by doing so.....ignorance is bliss? Some people think/feel it is "hard work" to delve into our "self", and I think it is joyous......eventually!

        I started to look at that link, and realized it is long, so will check it out again later. The sun is out, and I MUST go for a walk right now....otherwise, I will be unhappy for the rest of the day!.....LOL.....
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        Dec 7 2012: Hi Allan,
        I had time this morning to watch the Richard Schoch video....thanks for providing that link.

        There were a couple references to "riding the train" of happiness and/or getting to the "station".
        I agree with Roy M. Goodman, who said..."Remember that happiness is a way of travel, not a destination".

        Richard reminds us to look at the "direction of our lives"...."the bigger concept"..."your life as a whole", to experience happiness, which I agree with. However, it seems to contradict his statement that there are times when one "ought not" to feel happy. He gives an example of apologizing to someone for our behavior. I would feel good about that situation because there is opportunity to learn.

        I agree that some folks may reduce happiness to a narrow outlook...more pleasure - no pain....external gratification. I agree that happiness can be cultivated and nurtured, and it is more about "being" than "having".....it is a way of travel, in my perception:>)

        I agee with Richard that "happiness" is a rather "fuzzy" term, and I like to use "contentment", or even "well-being". Richard says that happiness is not a feeling, but rather an "activity". I believe happiness/contentment is a way of "being" and I feel that describing happiness as an activity is rather "fuzzy" as well!

        I do not agree that we cannot be happy by ourselves. I think there are many people who choose to be isolated, and can be content with their life choice.

        I agree with Richard regarding your question Allan...it is "HUGELY IMPORTANT"! For me, happiness/contentment embraces all feelings, emotions, experiences, etc. Everything we experience, is all a part of the life adventure. One can indeed be content even in the most seemingly hopeless situations. We can be the virtuoso, as Richard says, and orchestrate our lives.

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