The television program Today recently broadcast a series of reports about happiness around the world. The journalists who created these reports revealed some fascinating facts about happiness.
The journalists cited the World Happiness Report 2017, a document that attributed happiness to a number of factors, including “caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance.” The Today report said that happier people tended to
- Have close friends. Social interaction can contribute to personal happiness and fulfillment and help prevent depression that could lead to alcohol and drug abuse and other conditions.
- Spend time with pets. Again, companionship can prevent sadness and this companionship can come from other species.
- Volunteer more. This is yet another way people can connect to others and help ward off feelings of loneliness. Volunteering is also doing something and providing a purpose, which can boost a person’s sense of self-worth, which can help create happiness.
- Receive enough light. We’ve all had days where we feel depressed and even sick because the weather is rainy, gloomy, or cold. Many people feel rotten during the cold and cloudy months of winter and even suffer from depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) because of low light levels. They might turn to alcohol and drugs to cope, which could lead to even more depression and sadness.
These aren’t the only factors needed for happiness, of course, and some people may find happiness elsewhere. But these factors show how we can find happiness in various places. We don’t always need antidepressants or antianxiety medications such as benzodiazepine drugs (benzos) to be happy.
This is not to say that people should avoid medications such as benzos. But benzos might be part of the solution to finding happiness, not the whole solution. A happy life has balance, and medication, companionship, a sense of purpose, and other factors all contribute to that balance.