Let me start with a question: what do you think are a human’s basic needs for survival? Do you think of food? Shelter? Water? These are all right, but there’s much more to life than that. Let me introduce those of you who are not already familiar, to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Without going into a whole science-y explanation, it’s basically a pyramid showing what human’s needs for survival are laid out on a scale from basic to specific. One look at the pyramid will show that needs like food and water are actually on the lowest/ most basic level of the hierarchy while things like self-fulfillment and psychological needs are higher up. These two levels are essentially where happiness comes into play. Happiness is essential for survival for several reasons:
It can affect your physical health
Being sick because you’re unhappy? Sounds crazy, right but it can happen. We could go into more depth with science talk about hormones and brain responses etc. but instead let’s bring it down to the basics. Whether it be genetic depression or just a bad day, being unhappy can lead you to eating less, not getting up to shower, or neglecting to do other hygienic tasks. It can make you want to just lay in bed all day and not be active. And there are other more medical related reasons why it can affect your health based on hormones. Doing these things for one day can be rather harmless but letting that cycle lead into the weeks and months can be seriously hurting your body.
It is what motivates a person to even try to survive
We could get into some pretty deep stuff here if we were really willing. Happiness is not only a feeling but a motivation to live. People who struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts are known for saying that they just don’t feel happy. This saying is just a simple summary and by all means is not even close to scratching surface about these struggles but that is an entirely different conversation. Feeling happy is a little something that can push a person to making goals and actually striving to make something out of their day. It leads to confidence, feeling more energized, and actually being willing to face struggles that may come in the future.
It leads to social connections
Another small reason to note why happiness is so important is because, along with as well as because of the things mentioned previously, it gives you the power needed to be social. Humans are social beings who need to interact with others to survive even if it is just for a few hours a week. No one is saying to go out and strike up a conversation with everyone you meet but if you have the confidence and energy to, why not?
Each of the points listed above go hand and hand with happiness. Being happy makes you feel healthy, feeling healthy makes you feel happy, and so on with striving for goals and making social connections. There is one more reason that I would like to give as to why happiness is so important and that’s simply because it just is. Keeping yourself happy is just generally important because why shouldn’t it be? Even if it is just in tiny doses happiness is a right, not a reward. Little things that make you happy can be used as a reward, but happiness itself is not one. I feel like happiness being essential is something you read and say “well duh” but sometimes people need a little reminder to allow themselves to be happy and not feel guilty for making themselves happy with the little things. So, go buy yourself that top, get that flavored coffee, watch that next episode. Just do you and do what makes you happy. Not only do you deserve it, but you need it.