The war in Ukraine, the cost-of-living crisis, the climate catastrophe, and yet another mass shooting fill the headlines. It feels musically challenged, practically crazy, as a matter of fact, to urge individuals to be content. But then, we live in a world fixated on bliss.
It appears that happiness gets a lot of good press, thanks to chief happiness officers, the Happy Planet Index, Gross National Happiness, and the World Happiness Report, where Finland once again came in first place. Additionally, Madison Avenue marketers—brands and those who sell those brands—want to be involved in happiness. Happiness has been viewed as the rightful reward for a life of laudable labor throughout modern history, and there has been little debate about this.
Like most things in life, happiness was viewed prior to the ancient Greek philosophers as a gift from the gods. The English word “joy” comes from the Icelandic root happ or “karma,” so basically etymologically, karma appears to play generally had some impact in our joy.) The great iconoclast Socrates was the first to argue that happiness was a cognitive and meaning-making pursuit, something one could control, and not just a god-given gift. Furthermore, presently, the positive reasoning development, overflow hypothesis and some other number of self improvement classifications see a few type of joy as the essential goal and something we can accomplish on the off chance that we simply invest sufficient effort.
Therefore, it is unfortunate irony that people are so consistently unhappy in a world that is obsessed with happiness. The World Health Organization estimates that 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression, and the Anxiety & Depression Association of America estimates that 40 million people in the United States are afflicted with anxiety. It’s a further grievous incongruity that we are so terrible at understanding what will satisfy us. Affective forecasting refers to the phenomenon of misinterpreting what will make us happy. As humans, we “miswant” a lot of things that we have been conditioned to believe will make us happier than they actually do. How frequently have we experienced a particular kind of deflation following a significant purchase or much-anticipated outing that did not live up to our expectations?
Between self improvement masters, savants and advertisers generally letting us know how to be content, it’s not difficult to get frustrated. How can we find contentment? However enthralling as it could be, that question isn’t the right one. This is one: What if we’re so focused on being happy that we don’t think about whether or not we should be pursuing happiness? Imagine a scenario in which, after two millenniums of discussing the overall advantages of shifting kinds of satisfaction, we could zero in on another, really persevering, more effective profound express that will give us both joy and more huge advantages. Basically, it seems like we are on a circuit, pursuing some unacceptable bunny.
Why not give wonder a shot? Every one of us has encountered wonder. It is a universal feeling just like joy and fear. We are all familiar with the goosebumps we experience when taking in a magnificent view or watching children take their first steps. We are made to feel like a small piece of a larger system as a result of this experience, which makes our issues appear even smaller. Despite the fact that mixed emotions and negative emotions both contribute to a deeper sense of well-being, we all too often choose to sit in the discomfort of mixed emotions rather than the comfort of simple positive emotions like happiness.
We oppose pessimistic feelings like trouble or dread at our danger. Analyst and rationalist Kirk Schneider alludes to satisfaction as “expected nitwit’s gold,” accepting the “impulse to living think emphatically” (i.e., harmful energy) is similarly pretty much as terrible as the “impulse to of think adversely” and can really obstruct us from encountering the “wonder-shock.” Not only does experiencing negative emotions enrich our human experience, but they also help us expand our emotional vocabulary, allowing us to access a wider range of coping strategies. In point of fact, research demonstrates that individuals with greater emotional granularity, or emodiversity, employ a greater number of positive coping strategies and recover from stress more quickly.
Accepting both positive and negative emotions simultaneously is even better than accepting your negative emotions alone. Holding two apparently opposable profound powers to you at the same time, likewise called co-enactment, is a strong survival strategy that builds our feeling of importance and appreciation notwithstanding misfortune. Some emotions, such as bittersweetness, sympathy, nostalgia, and wonder, are mixed or “dually valenced,” while others, such as happiness, are referred to as “positively valenced” and others, such as sadness, are referred to as “negatively valenced.”
It is paradoxical that when we are under a lot of stress, precisely when we could benefit the most from the calming effects of mixed emotions, this tendency to feel just positive or negative emotions is made worse. The idea is that our feelings fall along a spectrum from simple to complex. When we are under a lot of pressure, we tend to use our mental shortcuts and default to simple emotions like “happy” or “sad” rather than accepting the complexity of a complex emotion like “wonder.” We become more resilient when we experience emotions of this complexity. In essence, we can better digest and make sense of traumatic experiences if we keep both positive and negative thoughts in our minds at the same time.
In one investigation of deprived mates, those widows and single men who reviewed both positive and negative components of their departed companions were better ready to deal with their misery. Writer Susan Cain, who composed a smash hit book on the feeling of bittersweetness, portrayed blended feelings as being “probably the most brilliant parts of being human, and they end up being associated with our enthusiasm for how delicate life can be, and the temporariness of life.”
I have encountered this unique myself. I vividly recall being a student in Miami during the worst hurricane in history and hiding under a mattress with my roommates. The outcome of Typhoon Andrew was complete disorder — road signs adapted to right points, trees whose roots were torn from the beginning, stories high. I was certain that it was the worst thing I had ever seen. That was, of course, before my family was forced to leave New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina.
Watching our beautiful city slowly turn into a watery wasteland on prime time television gave me an unparalleled sense of helplessness. In the two occasions, being cheerful given the obliteration, the loss was unimaginable. However, my sense of wonder was a fundamental component of my grief. Wondering how we would rebuild, awestruck by the storm’s brutish impassivity and the sacrifices made by first responders. I was also able to recover and have hope thanks to that sense of wonder.
Fortunately we don’t need to survive a catastrophic event to see the advantage of miracle over bliss. Consider commending an achievement birthday. It is normal to be content and pleased to be alive when we reflect on our life’s accomplishments. However, that experience becomes not only richer but also an opportunity for greater personal growth if we view it through a wonder lens, reflecting openly on the difficulties we faced, the mistakes we made, our regrets, and in awe of the impermanence of life.
And wonder doesn’t just give you strength. As a matter of fact, in next to each other examinations by specialists, marvel’s quantum benefits are more prominent than that of bliss. We are more creative and eager to learn about the world around us when we are filled with wonder. It makes us humble, less materialistic, more giving, and better members of the community. People who are curious tend to have better relationships and perform better in school and at work. We feel less stressed and like we have more time when we are in wonder. A very prosocial profound experience, wonder just makes us need to be better, more lenient individuals.
The physiologic benefits are especially compelling, if those aren’t enough to pique our interest in more wonder. Specialists have found a connection between individuals who experience marvel and lower circulatory strain, lower pressure chemicals and diminished supportive of fiery cytokines, the last option of which are the markers related with various sicknesses, including malignant growth and cardiovascular illness. A direct “biological pathway” between wonder and improved health is suggested by these connections.
The world, individuals in it, and our encounters are not paired or effortlessly characterized. Two things can coincide contrary to one another, and both can be valid simultaneously. In contrast to happiness, wonder embraces life’s beautiful, messy complexity. It allows for depth and nuance. It considers the truth of an all the while horrible and wonderful presence. I prefer a manufactured plea for happiness to that uncomfortable balance of coexistence.