Classical philosophers pin the motivation for all human action on the desire for happiness. It's only been since the modern and specifically Freudian and Darwinian philosophy and psychology that man's actions have been thought to be driven not by the desire for happiness, but rather by an ill-defined conglomerate of primal and sexual subconcious forces aimed at reproduction.
More recently, happiness is being understood as a chemical reaction in the brain. This is simply a progression of the Darwinian and evolutionary understanding of the human person as simply a body, and happiness as a non-existent metaphysical concept.
I reject these views and prefer to stick to the hypothesis that man's actions are driven by the objective function of optimizing happiness, a methaphysical and spiritual reality.
Without further ado, here are 5 things that everyone can do to live a better, happier and greener life.
- Make More Friends - Friends are free at face value, though they tend to require a long term commitment. Sometimes they require you to listen to them, and sometimes they may even ask you for favors! But oh what a world it would be without friends! Who else will listen to your problems with a sympathetic ear? Who else will go on hikes with you in the middle of winter? Who else can provide countless hours of entertainment, companionship, grace, counsel, wisdom, and even love?
- Join a religious/social group - I choose to believe in Jesus and to attend regular meetings on Sundays to share in my faith with others. And it has brought peace, patience, love and joy into my life. There's nothing like worshipping your creator with your friends, family and fellows to dispel all sorts of maladies and bring meaning and purpose into your life.
- Give your money, time and skills away - Giving your money away achieves two objectives, it helps those who probably need it more than you do, and it helps free you from all sorts of materialism, greed and hoarding. You've also been blessed with all kinds of skills and knowledge that are unique in the world... and there's nothing like putting them to use for the good of others. The gratitude exchanged for your time and money is worth far more than any dollar amount you could have otherwise received for your time or object for your money.
- Sleep more - Is there really anything that good on TV anyway? Try adding 1 hour of sleep to your usual amount.. and then add 2 hours... Scientifically they say that 8 hours is all we need, but in truth, it's never been determined how much we need. The more you sleep, the more your body has a chance to heal itself, to save up energy for the day ahead and for your mind to process all the problems it constantly works on. If you tend to sleep more on vacation, why not bring a little vacation to your life and exchange something like TV watching for more sleep?
- Eat Well - Perhaps the hardest thing to do, given the expense of quality food and the cheapness and appeal of low quality food... but... as the saying goes "Let your food be your medice, and your medicine be your food". Most pharmaceuticals are a rip-off of chemicals and compounds found naturally in plants and fruits found around the world. Organic vegetables are generally also free of oil-based fertilizers and pesticides which are known toxins and carcinogens. With cancer and heart disease ranking as the #1 killers in America why not try a little preventative treatment... good quality food. With the decreased amounts of sugar you'll likely consume, you'll definitely feel more vigorous, less depressed (with better bowel movements) and yes... happier.
Does anyone else have some quintessential tips for leading a happier and healthier life?
- Though I do accept that yes, chemical reaction in the brain do have a significant role to play in our emotions [↩]