How attainable is happiness ?

The incessant search for happiness is one of our main characteristics as human beings, fullness is an achievement that we yearn for at the end of our days and a sole purpose in our lives.

The Happiness Research Institute is in charge of measuring and analyzing happiness.

The institute’s objective is to analyze a society’s welfare. To evaluate the individual’s reactions to its circumstances on a daily basis. 

Whether it is happiness, well-being or quality of life being studied, all are extremely complex concepts. Therefore, they require that cognitive, affective and eudaimonia dimensions are all being analyzed. 

This last aspect, eudaimonia, builds on Aristotle’s perception of good living which focuses on purpose and meaning.

For Aristotle, the purpose of life is to have goals and achieve them.

These goals lead to a fulfilling life and are the perception of good living and happiness, which is the path to excellence and virtue.

Achieving our dreams requires sacrifice, decisiveness, passion and courage. Courage to face difficult situations which take away our motivation to work and put effort into what we want.

To work hard even if the reward comes years later. 

According to the index of happiest countries in the world, the 2019 report shows that once again Scandinavian countries are in the lead with Finland, Denmark, Iceland and Norway at the top.

We must ask ourselves:

Why is it more feasible to have a high quality of life in Scandinavian countries?

What is the secret to living with joy?

Gross domestic product (GDP) is an economic indicator reflecting the monetary value of all goods and services produced by a country.

However, GDP does not measure what makes life worth living. 

Living in financial stability results in constant security, however it is not a guarantee for happiness.

Although wealth means having an abundance of money, it is no synonym for fulfillment.

This is why the Happiness Research Institute studies key metrics while focusing on happiness, as this research helps governments notice some of the needs and priorities of their citizens.

Our levels of happiness are not simple results, everyday we are exposed to many situations that weaken our well-being.

That’s why when evaluating each country, there are several factors that are being analyzed including GDP, social support, life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity and perception of corruption.

Aristotle’s perception of good living says that well-being is one of the main factors in reaching fulfillment, together with the following virtues:

  1. Courage
  2. Temperance
  3. Liberalism
  4. Magnificence
  5. Magnanimity
  6. Pride
  7. Patience
  8. Truthfulness
  9. Wisdom
  10. Friends
  11. Modesty

Many countries in the world are experiencing difficult situations, which affects the quality of life and living conditions of citizens.

Several human rights have been denied affecting the virtues necessary for good living.

The Happiness Research Institute believes that any society can improve its living standards by looking after its weakest members. Fairness is one of the most important virtues for the function of societies.

Since fairness is so essential, the analysis of each society focuses on confronting inequality gaps.

Inequality is the result of the decline of a society. Problems such as social insecurity and lack of resources undermine wholeness, motivation and progress. 

The secret of happiness?

Mike Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute and New York Times best selling author, exposes in one of his books that money doesn’t buy happiness. Although it provides security, financial means do not guarantee welfare or fulfillment.

In his book, Mike writes: “A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars.

It’s where the rich use public transport.

It is where the rich walk and where they use bikes.

We should create cities where rich and poor meet as equals: in parks, on the pavements, on public transport.”

Aristotle’s principle of good living focuses on achieving excellence. 

Simplicity reveals the pure beauty of life.

“Hygge” is a Scandinavian term for the feeling of contentment and comfort, and the ability to enjoy the simple and beautiful things in life.

Enjoying the cozy corners of your home, tasting delicious food, the precious sunset after a hard day, or the company of your pet when you get home.

Over the years, this term has been used all around the world and more people are joining in on the lifestyle as it does not depend on social class, race or ethnicity.

Our happiness may sometimes feel short-lived, as every human goes through moments of misfortune. Yet although those moments can be extremely hard, they can also have a positive impact on our concept and perspective of life.

It is not about the amount of unfortunate moments we experience, but rather how we deal with them. We should learn from them and never give up.

The miracle of appreciation.

“Hygge” is the perfect term to define the appreciation of simplicity; being more grateful and aware of ourselves and our environment. 

Too often we experience the feeling of discontent, we end up creating new needs for ourselves which take us even further away from reaching a higher state of mind.

Everyday we experience situations which take us away from living in the present moment and cause us to overthink and question “what if”. We start comparing ourselves to others and lose focus and motivation on what is important.

Often times we create barriers because we think that our differences in language and socio-economic background make us completely alien to each other. However, we are, above all, human beings and what unites us is greater than what separates us. 

Inhale courage, exhale fears.

We are human beings full of fierceness and passion, yet we often live with the fear of change.

Aristotle said that one of the virtues for being happy is courage. So let’s have the courage to live every day with intensity, trying to reach all dreams that we could imagine.

Let’s surround ourselves with like-minded people who bring positivity and goodness into our lives. 

Let’s search for simple and natural moments that give us more reason to live in the now. 

Let’s work toward accepting change, spreading love to one another and achieving our goals. With that, a fulfilling and purposeful life will follow.

Humans are not born with power or money, but we all develop dreams and aspirations.

Life is not easy and it is not about succeeding at the first try, it is a matter of persisting and giving the best of ourselves.

Face adversity and achieve what moves our hearts and fills us with desire to live.

Aristotle’s idea is not based on money or material goods. Apart from reaching excellence or satisfaction from fulfilling our dreams as described by the philosopher, Mike’s book titled “Hygge” explains the concept of being happy with simple things.


Header image: Matheus Bertelli via


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