By Sarah Schaeffer –
Who knew happiness could be so much more than a three-syllable noun?
When planning for one’s life, common goals usually include a sufficiently paying job, a family and happiness.
But what is happiness? And is it achievable when so many people in the world seem to be unhappy?
The truth is, happiness varies from person to person.
“Really nice warm weather, good music and gymnastics all make me happy,” said junior Brendan Kincade.
“I’m happy when I’m talking to people. Thinking, hard questions and being challenged in my faith make me happy. So does being outside and beautiful sites,” said junior Jocelyn Mylin.
“A direct mathematical function for this is tennis plus chocolate plus another arbitrary interesting constant equals [my] happiness,” said senior Faheem Gilani.
Despite the wide variety of personal meanings, happiness can also be regarded in a scientific approach according to many modern psychologists.
Maria Vita, psychology teacher at Penn Manor High School, explained a few of the factors that have been proven to impact personal happiness:
-Control over your situations. The feeling of being able to change and control your daily situations plays a big part in your level of happiness. Although people have different approaches to control, some leaving control to fate and some feeling personal control, it comes down to the same thing.
-Your experience with love and happiness as a child. In studies, it’s been proven that people who are held and nurtured as small children, are more likely to have happy adults lives. This contact as a child helps adults to (subconsciously) carry a sense of security and comfort into their adulthood.
-Daily activities. Work can be a source of happiness when it provides a sense of accomplishment. Interacting with other people also contributes, as humans are social beings.
Time Magazine also recently published a list of helpful hints to live a happier, healthier life, found here.
Lancaster County may not need any help from Time Magazine, however, as it was ranked 15th happiest out of 188 cities in the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index of 2010.
Though the specifics of individual happiness may vary from person to person, it is agreed among Penn Manor that happiness is key.
“The happier you are, maybe the longer you live,” said Vita.
“Happiness is setting some sort of goal and achieving it,” said senior Lars Andersen.
“Whatever you find joy and satisfaction in, is happiness,” said Mylin.
“Happiness is inside,” said Gilani.