the happiness we all want can be achieved without costing the earth
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the happiness we all want can be achieved without costing the earth

Manila : Philippines | Sep 02, 2010 at 1:35 AM PDT
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I was checking out emails today and I suddenly came upon a feed from my subscription from TED.com. For those not in the know, ted.com is a site where ideas are worth spreading as the topics here really makes sense. It is a collection of research speeches from experts on different fields about anything and everything in this planet. I would like thank ate Patricia Mirasol for sharing a video from ted.com before which eventually got me interested to subscribe.

So, there, I got to see the update and have seen the topic on the happy planet index. Statistician Nic Marks asks why we measure a nation's success by its productivity -- instead of by the happiness and well-being of its people. He introduces the Happy Planet Index, which tracks national well-being against resource use (because a happy life doesn't have to cost the earth). Which countries rank highest in the HPI? It is Costa Rica where they abolished the army in 1949. I never heard of such fact before. What was interesting was the way how he presented it. It was fun, informative and lively. So unlike any other speeches that spells boredom. In fact all the speeches in ted.com are nice to listen to.

Well, what got me was the five key things or positive actions that one should do to make you happy everyday that he proposed to raise the level of happiness among people from around the world and to change policies on basing our GDP not on the material accumulation that we have but on the happiness index. This one is really an intellectual and the likes are what excite me.

Here are the five things to do to make you happy.

The first one is to CONNECT. This has something to so with our social relationships. Building a circle for connection and networking is a good way of making you happy. One must make it sure to plan to stay connected with loved ones every once in a while. The feeling of completeness whenever you share time with your loved one is nothing worth than anything else in the planet. Not even all the riches in the world would satisfy that completeness. It is a fact that we need them, and they need us. This is not only for loved ones, it encompasses our dear friends, acquaintances, the people we see everyday from work, or from school or in any place we can be. The importance of connection creates a harmonious relationship among each other, where transgressions of differences are limited.

I have always been in contact with my peers and my family. I have lots of friends and I make it sure that I stay connected. Of course, with today’s modern technology, time and space cannot and will not be a hindrance for connecting with people we love. I also stay in touch with my family as well even if we have been placed into different locations. The dire need to see each other every so often feeds my burning love for them and that I felt so alone when I cannot get in touch, especially with my nieces and nephews. I am sure, I got this index right and it should lead me to everlasting happiness.

BEING ACTIVE is another thing that Marks stated. It is in being carefree; being independent to do things you want that adds up to your happiness level. Do things in an active way. Dance, run, climb, roll over, do some outdoor activities, engage in sports or any activity that perhaps increases your adrenalin rush. The fact that it makes you fit and healthy is only a consolation to the joy that you will feel after doing so. What is important is letting you go of the inhibitions.

I’m the kind of person who‘s very active. I mean, not in a sporty fashion but in taking everything with zest and life. I recently discovered the joy of outdoor sports in mountain climbing and trekking, running and other stuff. My sense of adventure doesn’t stop me from going places and when you feel it in your blood, you get addicted to it and you need to replenish the thirst of doing so.Being in my early twenties means the apex of life and I never felt so alive than ever. I need to be fit and healthy and I want to keep being active.

It is not only in the physical aspect that you have to be active but also in the need for you to TAKE NOTICE of the things around. Awareness of the facts and the present happenings around us makes us enjoy the essence of being alive. This I believe is an important factor why Marks proposes this initiative. Be involved in societal affairs, be a good citizen of your country by participating in important events that shaped your community at large. Be aware of the issue that faces humanity and make yourself comfortable in thinking of the ways how you can contribute to its solution.

Active participation in governance is major move that our present government is doing. With the help of the social medias present and very accessible for all the citizenry, I doubt problems of grave nature would be solved in a manner of ease and responsibility. My involvement in a lot of groups would attest to the fact that a sense of fulfillment is heartwarming if you only believe in your cause. Hypocrisy rules when your motivation to be aware and be involved in a particular issue underlies an aftertaste of success and fame.Taking notice also means taking it by heart. There is no essence in taking notice of the world around you if you did not so something to change it.

Education plays a major role in the happiness index. It doesn’t matter how old you are, just KEEP LEARNING. It does not entail learning by getting yourself into school, but learning in a general premise. Learn to dance, to paint, do arts and crafts. Unhinge the need to learn a musical instrument that you forgot when you were in grade school, learn to bake, sew and tend the garden or better yet learn how to organize life into a meaningful one. Keep learning of the small curiosities that hide in your mind.

As I have always been, I make it sure to surround my self with fabulous and intellectual people whose wisdom and experience would gain me an inch or two of the learning index. The wisdom of the old can be trusted but the novelty of the young cannot be ignored. It just makes one so happy that you learn something from a little experience you had, or in just in every moment you interact with the persons around you.

The last one would be the antithesis of saving, the most antieconomic of all initiative, GIVING. It has been said that God loves a cheerful giver and that when you give, do not expect anything in return. Humans have the innate spirit if generosity. Our sense of altruism towards others is hardwired into the reward mechanism in our brain. Happiness if felt when you give. It increases the index our search for happiness when we see other people are happy because of what we shared to them. Giving does not limit itself from physical and material things to be possessed. It also accounts for the moment we share, the time we spent and the part of ourselves that we give to the person who needs it the most. I think giving a piece of yourself to someone or to something that you believe is the most important thing that would make you satisfied and fulfilled. The bottom line here is the love you have for life and for someone. Love takes toll when you shed a part of you to be consumed by others.

When all of these five key things are achieved, an increase of the happiness index among us would mean a better life expectancy. It does not cost a thing; it only needs a huge step towards major change in policies in our present government systems.

For you to be able to understand, it would be better that you listen to Nic Marks speech and these are the reasons why;

Nic Marks thinks quality of life is measurable, and that true contentment comes not from the accumulation of material wealth but from our connections with others, engagement with the world, and a sense of autonomy. This isn't just theory: a pioneer in the field of well-being research, Marks creates statistical methods to measure happiness, analyzing and interpreting the evidence so that it can be applied to such policy fields as education, sustainable development, healthcare, and economics.

The founder of the Centre for Well-Being, an independent think tank at the New Economics Foundation (NEF), in London, Marks is particularly keen to promote a balance between sustainable development and quality of life. To investigate this, he devised the Happy Planet Index, a global index of human well-being and environmental impact. The results made headlines: People in the world's wealthiest countries, who consume the most of the planet's resources, don't come out on top in terms of well-being. Which raises the question: What purpose does unfettered economic growth serve? To measure (and possibly improve) your own HPI, visit two useful sites from NEF: 5 Ways to Well-Being and Well-Being at Work.

"Marks urged politicians to pay more attention to life satisfaction over GDP. 'The big message of [the HPI] rankings is that we have to produce a system that makes people happier without costing the Earth,' he said." Louise Gray, Telegraph

thepurplewriter is based in Manila, National Capital Region, Philippines, and is a Stringer for Allvoices.
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