What makes us happy?: The importance of well-being

"How are you feeling. How often do you experience sadness and happiness"? These two questions may seem, to most people, regular. Well-being and happiness are two of the most fundamental indicators of a country's quality of life. In this article, the concepts I will discuss are happiness, well-being, and the gross domestic product(GDP) measurement limitations.


Since the beginning of time, NGO institutions, such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and so forth, have measured the quality of economic growth with the Gross Domestic Product(GDP) measurement. The GDP measurement is an annual calculation of the total amount of goods and services produced by a given country located within a geographical boundary. It is a useful economic tool to utilize to assess the economic growth of a given country. As beneficial as this measurement is, the GDP indicator is flawed. It does not provide an accurate, full representation of a country's quality of life for its citizenry. A key takeaway emphasized in the Gallup Global Emotions 2019 Report is that economic growth should not be the sole indicator for examining a country's quality of life. Economic growth(GDP) can mask a vast prevalence of mental health issues pervasive among different population groups.


Every year, Gallup research disseminates an annual report centered around the umbrella topic of well-being. A hot topic of interest is emotion. The report delineates countries where anger, happiness, sadness, and fear are ubiquitously experienced by many. In all of the stories that I have read, I came across a few common themes. In the Gallup Global Emotions 2020 report, about 27% of Americans have experienced the feeling of sadness. This figure accounts for both pre-COVID and the present period amid COVID-19 as well. Another unsettling statistic from the 2020 report stated that Americans' stress level falls in the 50% and above range.


There is a confluence of factors that primarily attribute to the poor mental health of Americans. The ubiquity of COVID-19 in terms of its continuous coverage in the media can create negative feelings and cause people to fret a lot continually. Another facet of COVID-19 that can instill feelings of anxiety is misinformation about the virus and conflicting advice on preventing it effectively. The lockdown measures implemented in the early months of the pandemic have unequivocally compromised the mental health and well-being of a majority of people all over the world, namely the USA.


The attainment of unbridled wealth is the most common indicator of success experienced by few too many people. The axiom "Money cannot buy happiness" rings true, but it is debatable. Without question, if equally distributed, money can provide people with a sense of autonomy and empowerment to have a prosperous livelihood. For me, money does make me feel good, primarily when I have worked hard for it. It provides me stability and the ability to splurge on small treats for myself, such as new books.


There is a variety of factors that primarily attribute to the poor mental health of Americans. The ubiquity of COVID-19 in terms of its continuous coverage in the media can create negative feelings and cause people to fret a lot continually. Another facet of COVID-19 that can instill feelings of anxiety is misinformation about the virus and conflicting advice on preventing it effectively. Additionally, the lockdown measures put into place in the early months of the pandemic have unequivocally compromised the mental health and well-being of a majority of people all over the world, namely the USA.


The attainment of unbridled wealth is the most common indicator of success experienced by few too many people. The axiom "Money cannot buy happiness" rings true, but it is debatable. Without question, if equally distributed, money can provide people with a sense of autonomy and empowerment to have a thriving livelihood. For me, money does make me feel good, mostly when I have worked hard for it. It provides me stability and the ability to splurge on small treats for myself, such as new books. However, it should not equate to full happiness. Public figures, such as Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, and Robin Williams, share one thing: wealth. They seemed to have it all; wealth, luxury, and power. Unfortunately, all 3 of them took their lives. There were some underlying personal traumas each of them endured. This unfortunate tragedy goes to illustrate that money cannot buy happiness. Wealth should not be the sole driving force to achieve a prosperous life. The three vital things that give me immeasurable joy are connecting with people, learning, and being compassionate. Although it may seem a little trite, I feel good when I can make a difference in people's lives in big or small ways. My current job as a COVID-19 contact tracer is a prime example of a gratifying job fulfilling me and much more significant than myself. The pay is modest, but money is not my primary driving force at all.

Sources:

Inc., Gallup. "Gallup 2020 Global Emotions Report." Gallup.com, Gallup, 19 Nov. 2020, www.gallup.com/analytics/324191/gallup-global-emotions-report-2020.aspx.

Inc., Gallup. “Gallup 2019 Global Emotions Report.” Gallup.com, Gallup, 30 Nov. 2020, www.gallup.com/analytics/248906/gallup-global-emotions-report-2019.aspx.

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