Strive to promote a culture of happiness

MINE inner resolve strained against the mounting pressure, but eventually I gave in to the urge to express my thoughts on an issue that doesn’t seem to go away. It is baffling how issues in Malaysia are often magnified for political gain.

The recent fuss over the socks issue is evidence of this phenomenon. Despite the outlet owner issuing a public apology and prominently posting apologies at all outlets, the issue continues to linger and escalate, costing valuable time and energy.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has also called for common sense to prevail, and yet it is not dying.

It makes you wonder what the people perpetuating this problem hope to achieve? Is it a quest for power, a desire to maintain relevance or perhaps to derail the government’s attempts to unite Malaysians?

This incessant need to expand business at the expense of the country’s well-being is not only harmful, but symptomatic of a deeper social ill.

Anyway, what do you call stranger than strange? Bizarre? And that’s what politics is, and it’s not for the faint-hearted or straight-thinking. Politics has the unique ability to do the impossible and the unthinkable.

It is undoubtedly regrettable that such an incident occurred and should not have happened. It represents significant negligence on the part of the chain owner. Appropriate reprimands and reprimands have already been addressed to them, which begs the question: what further action should be taken?

Should we advocate prosecution, the death penalty or extreme measures such as the death penalty?

However, if we dwell too much on these issues, we can end up in a swamp of negativity, distracting us from our pursuit of more important things, like happiness.

Why is happiness so crucial? The answer lies in its profound impact on our overall well-being. Simply put, a happier disposition is associated with a longer lifespan, fewer health complications, and a more positive impact on ourselves and those around us.

In a groundbreaking study started in 1938, researchers at Harvard University began a comprehensive investigation into the major determinants of happiness in life. Over the course of 85 years, data was collected from 724 participants around the world, with detailed surveys conducted every two years.

Contrary to popular belief, the findings defied conventional wisdom. It wasn’t career success, financial wealth, exercise or diet that emerged as the most important factors contributing to happiness.

Instead, the most consistent and compelling factor was the quality of our relationships. Positive connections with others will not only increase our sense of happiness, but also contribute significantly to our overall health and longevity.

The impact of relationships is not only psychological, but also extends to our physical well-being. Consider the surge of energy after a meaningful conversation or the toll taken by sleepless nights during periods of strained relationships.

To nurture and maintain healthy relationships, it is imperative to prioritize what can be called “social fitness.” Contrary to the assumption that relationships, once established, will naturally blossom, they require constant attention and effort. Like any living organism, our social lives require regular exercise and care to flourish.

When we dwell on negative issues, it inevitably colors our perception of others, affecting the relationships we share with those around us, whether they are acquaintances or strangers.

But can we have relationships with people we don’t know? In a sense, yes, as we coexist within communities that make up the nation we are proud of.

However, persistent negative thoughts can sour our interactions and cause unhappiness.

This will spread as individuals stuck in discontent often seek solace by spreading their misery to others. But as the adage goes, “happiness shared is doubled.” Why wouldn’t we strive to promote a culture of happiness within our country?

Finland has once again claimed the title of the happiest country in the world according to The World Happiness Report. This is the seventh consecutive year that Finland has topped the list, a remarkable achievement indeed.

The ranking is determined by self-rated life evaluations and responses to the Cantril Ladder question, where individuals rate their current life on a scale of zero to 10.

The University of Oxford’s Well-being Research Centre, responsible for publishing the report, took several factors into account when assessing more than 130 countries. In addition to the Cantril ladder question, these factors include social support, healthy life expectancy, the freedom to make life choices, generosity, perceptions of corruption, and gross domestic product.

Finland’s highest score can be partly attributed to its strong sense of community and belonging.

As Finnish philosopher and psychology researcher Frank Martela suggests, Finns find happiness through altruistic actions, communal bonds, and a clear sense of purpose.

In our country, we have politicians who tirelessly strive to perpetuate a state of unrest and discontent, perpetuating a cycle where happiness always seems out of reach.

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