Research Paper: Happiness and Positive Thinking
Happiness is everyone’s desire and pursuit. Today,the science of happiness is a subject that generates a great deal of debate. Yet the pursuit of happiness is really more of a quality of life. Moreover, others have discovered that happiness is actually related to our mental and physical health. In the book, The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor, he posits the idea that positive brain tends to happiness. In addition, the Author presents an argument that success comes before or after happiness.
Some evidences show the difference between a positive and negative thinking that live in the same environment. Finally, positive thinking is an important element to a fully realized life. The relationship between happiness and positive thinking presents the advantage of how people pursue their quality life,and this is the subject of this investigation.
Among many others, one definition of happiness is “subjective well-being” which refers to the satisfaction level or happiness of a person with his present situations. The positive thinking is a mental technique which ensures peace of mind, happiness, love and joy in a person. Sonja Lyubomirsky, the researcher of positive psychology describes happiness to be associated with the positive thinking by describing happiness as “experience of joy or positive well-being combined with a sense that one’s life is meaningful” (Berkley.edu).
The happiness is often measured using the person’s perceptions about positives and negatives present in his life. This is the reason why people having same levels of qualifications, income, luxuries, lifestyle are not all happy to the same extent. Having all the same materialistic aspects, the basis on which their level of happiness varies is the positive thinking. Some people get satisfied on the lesser while the other keep on struggling to achieve even higher standards and thus, there is always a difference in the level of happiness of people based on their thinking.
Positive thinking or optimism is directly related to the happiness because an optimist is able to find more opportunities to have success. As per the famous quote of Winston Churchill, “"a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.". Optimism leads to happiness as it impacts the psychology of a person positively: the people with optimistic approach have a better immune system, they can easily absorb the bad news and stay away from the chronic diseases such as hypertension.
This is because when they can find opportunities easily, they work on them which keep them away from just sitting idle and worrying for the situations which never happen. The positive thinkers are more successful as compared to negative thinkers. This is because the people with positive approach of life are highly determined to achieve their goals. They find numerous ways to achieve success, and the success results in bringing better quality of health, life and relationships which are directly associated with the happiness. Positive thinker could easily meet success because he would actually start working even if the circumstances do not appear to be very fruitful.
On the other hand, the pessimist would leave even the better opportunities thinking that they would not turn into success. This attitude of pessimist people results in failure more than often, which further reduces their level of happiness and satisfaction with life. Not only happiness is influenced by such attitude but also the physical health because the tensions and frustrations in a person result him affected by high levels of blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol. There are a number of positive health benefits associated with positive thinking such as reduced levels of depression, increased life span, better immune systems resulting in better resistance to common cold, reduced risks of cardiovascular diseases and better coping skills from the stress and hardships of life. Therefore, positive thinking is highly associated with the happiness and quality of life for a person.
Since the positive thinking is related to bringing happiness in a life of person, it has often been argued that a person should learn the positive thinking skills which is possible. According to Psychological learning theory, it is possible to learn the positive thinking just the way in which an athlete train himself over the period of weeks. In this example, the athlete learns external behavior while the person learning positive thinking works on improving his internal behavior. The theory suggests that if it is possible to modify the external behavior through constant learning and efforts, it is also possible to modify the internal behavior through the use of appropriate mental techniques. There are 4 steps to learn positive thinking: to identify the positive thinking system which suits the learner, to systematically train for developing positive thoughts, to observe the thoughts all day long and stop the negative thoughts while trying them to be modified into positive and finally to stabilize the positive thinking.
There can be other mechanisms for developing positive thinking too; for example, reading books which offer lessons of life relevant to positive approach. Thompson suggested 15 books in this regard which can nurture the positive thinking and in turn offer assistance to a person to lead a happy life. There can be the books which actually improve the positive thinking because these are the source to stimulate brains of the people assisting them to solve the problems they struggle with; similarly, the books offer people a chance to have an exposure about the lives of the others who involved in great deal of struggle and ended up with success. Similarly, watching movies or real dramatization of real life events could also help a person to learn the positive thinking. Another method to learn positive thinking is through meditation. Meditation opens the heart and mind of a person and provides the feelings of happiness and serenity. A person begins to think the positive side of all the situations in life, and he becomes more flexible and adaptable. Therefore, positive thinking can be learnt which would then offer a person a chance to lead a happier life.
Although, the book and above mentioned researchers strongly associated the positive thinking with bringing happiness in life, the critiques to this argument still exist. The opposing school of thought believes that it is not always necessary that positive thinking result in nurturing better immune system of a person and can make him happy. It was found by a study that the positive thinkers can even have worst functioning immune system in contrast to the pessimists. One reason for this issue might be the fact that the positive thinkers find so many opportunities and they have to work for all of them, increasing the overall pressure and related negative consequences for health.
On the other hand, the pessimists would be more focused to achieve any one goal as the number of opportunities for them would be very limited. Hence, they have lower work and achievement pressure which could impact their immune system. However, there is a little literary evidence available for this argument, and it could easily be overruled by comparing some of the positive thinkers who actually faced the immune system issues with those who have been successful and happy in their lives.
The positive thinkers are also blamed to be less focused on the life hardships and having lesser serious attitude towards solving the problems. However, this is not the definition of positive thinking; it does not imply that a person does not consider the issues in life, rather, it just means that a person has a positive approach towards solving the problem and look forward to the positive result.
Positive thinking is often based on the self-talk which is an approach used for analyzing different solutions to a problem and then making the most feasible one to work. The self-talk offers the person an opportunity to identify what he actually feels to be a feasible solution while considering that best is going to happen as a result, not the worst. Positive thinking leads the person to think for the solutions and make them to work without getting worried or stressed too much. Therefore, the positive thinkers work for solving the life issues with a better efficiency as they can utilize their full energy level instead of consuming some of it to deal with the stress.
This essay presented an analysis of the connection between the positive thinking and happiness. It has been found that the people with an optimist approach are likely to find the opportunities in the toughest situation and begin working towards achieving success. The positive thinkers, therefore result in success more often as compared to the pessimists who had even not began working as they could not see the opportunity even in the favorable situations. Similarly, the positive thinkers remain happier with their lives with whatever they have; although they struggle to achieve higher by identifying the opportunities surround them but they always remain satisfied with what they have already achieved. On the other hand, the negative thinkers not only miss the opportunities but they also are not satisfied with their blessings. As a result, the positive thinkers are able to lead a better quality of health and life as they do not generally have the chronic diseases caused by the tensions.
It has been argued that there are ways to learn the positive thinking which could result in making people happier. The opposing school of thought suggest that it is not always necessary that the positive thinkers have better immune system and they reach success because they are not much focused seeing opportunity very often, while the negative thinkers are more focused on a single identified opportunity; they are less distracted. However, there is no enough literaru evidence to support this argument. On the contrary, there are many examples which demonstrate that positive thinkers have higher level of happiness. In conclusion, the positive thinking is positively associated with happiness.