Happiness and Its Contexts

Is it possible to talk about happy and unhappy cultures? 

Happiness and time-poverty: the US is characterized by “time poverty.” Research has shown that leisure is essential for happiness, while money does not really make us happier. How does this align with our values and lifestyles, and the images of happiness we see in the popular media, such as movies, commercials, Facebook, etc.?

Do success and money bring happiness? How is this portrayed in popular media?

What role do cultural values play in our attitudes about happiness? What role do these attitudes play in the culture?

“Happiness medications”: antidepressants and other mood altering medications. Some statistics show that Americans take more antidepressants than people in any other nation. Why?  

What happens when the promised expectations of happiness are not met? 

Does every group in a society subscribe to the same view of happiness? 

Happiness and Business: There are many websites and coaches who cater to busy, stressed executives (e.g., Executive Joy). What brand of happiness do they teach, and why?  Forbes often publishes articles about happiness: the focus is usually on how to use happiness to increase your own success and how to use it to motivate your team to perform better.

Happiness and Education: There are several programs (e.g., The Seven Habits of Happy Kids mentioned earlier, Mindset, etc.) that teach children to take responsibility for their own happiness. 

Compare/Contrast: Definitions of happiness in different cultures, historical periods, and socioeconomic systems.

Smiling and the American Culture

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