By: Dr. Franca. 28th May 2017
Some years ago, analysis of levels of happiness in more than 65 countries by the World Values Survey showed that Nigeria has the highest percentage of happy people followed by Mexico, Venezuela, El Salvador and Puerto Rico, while Russia, Armenia and Romania have the fewest.
New Zealand ranked 15 for overall satisfaction, the U.S. 16th, Australia 20th and Britain 24th though Australia beats the other three for day-to-day happiness. New Scientist magazine, which published the results, said that factors that make people happy vary. Personal success, self- expression, pride, and a high sense of self-esteem are important in the United States. All these factors are inherent in our society. “In Japan, on the other hand, it comes from fulfilling the expectations of your family, meeting your social responsibilities, self-discipline, cooperation and friendliness,” according to the magazine.
The survey is a worldwide investigation of socio-cultural and political change conducted about every four years by an international network of social scientists, It includes questions about how happy people are and how satisfied they are with their lives. It showed that average happiness has remained virtually the same in industrialized countries since World War II, although incomes have risen. The exception is Denmark, where people have become more satisfied with life over the last three decades. Researchers believe the unchanging trend is linked to consumerism”.
Survey after survey has shown that the desire for material goods, which has increased hand in hand with average income, is a happiness suppressant, “the magazine added.
The Dr Franca team spent some time in the street to investigate what makes Nigerians happy; how and why we are on top of the league of happy people on this planet. Before reading further, can you get a pen and paper and jot down five points on what you think happiness means. Is it lying on a sandy beach? Is it financial freedom? Is it owning a big residential estate or fleet of luxurious cars.
Our team of investigators explored what real happiness is and concluded that there are three categories of people on earth and most people in this first category as listed below. Nigerians say when they are happy and what makes them happy or unhappy (self expression). They do not have stiff upper lips. They do not pretend. They look after one another due to extended family system. Pride is also a factor controlling the attitude of Nigerians. A Nigerian that is poor today believes that tomorrow he will be rich, which means that they have hope.
Country belong to the first category as listed below. Nigerians say when they are happy and what makes them happy or unhappy (self expression). They do not have upper lips. They do not pretend. They look after one another due to extended family system. Pride is also a factor controlling the attitude of Nigerians. A Nigerian that is poor today believes that tomorrow he will be rich, which means that they have hope.
Above all, they put all their problems into the hand of God. Ask any Nigerian ‘how are you, he or she confidently says 1 am fine, thank you’. He goes further to say “Madam nko, the children” and the list goes on. Good morning Sir is followed instantly by good morning my dear.
They have the courage to express their inner selves, which show true happiness.
Category A: People that are fully in touch with their feelings and can express them assertively
These people are fortunate; they don’t bottle their feelings up. They can identify exactly what they are feeling, and express their feelings honestly and assertively. They will say things like:
“I feel really sad about what’s happened”.
“I feel hurt because you forgot our anniversary”.
“I feel sad that you did not come to my party”
“Thanks for being good the other day”.
“I am sorry I offended you
“I feel happy when I am with you”.
Category B: People that are less in touch with their feelings
These people are not quite so fortunate, although they are partially aware of their feelings. They have difficulty expressing their feelings out. They may say things like:
“I’m not sure howl feel”.
“I feel confused”:
“I can’t get a grip on my feelings”.
“I feel mixed up”.
“I am not sure if I will go to that party”.
Category C: People that are completely out of touch with their feelings
These people are unfortunate. They have learnt to bottle their feelings up. They are masters at hiding or denying their feelings and may find it difficult to identify their true feelings. Most often they experience life as dull, boring, flat or meaningless. Some of the developed countries belong to this category. You do not visit your mother unless you telephone her first. Over there you say good morning to your boss and he tells you “what’s good about the morning”. You do not say sorry to an injured person unless it is your fault. Ask the question how are you and the replies come back thick and fast. “Not so bad”, “not too bad”. They lack the courage to express their inner selves. They will say things like:
“I feel numb”.
“I feel nothing”.
“I never get angry”.
“I have no anger in me.”
“I don’t know how to express my feelings”.
Some people think they should be happy all the time and bottle up their feelings of sadness. Sadness is a natural emotion associated with loss.
However, some people block off their feelings of sadness, putting a brave face on everything. Blocked sadness or grief can lead to depression. Unexpressed hate, guilt, shame, bitterness and resentment can also take a considerable toll on our bodies and minds.
Nigerians including some other countries in the world enjoy the benefit of expressing feelings. They enjoy good social life, good marriage and extended family life. It is intriguing that with everything in the developed countries, they were not voted the happiest. It therefore goes without saying that money is not everything and cannot buy happiness. Countries in the world enjoy the benefit of expressing feelings. They enjoy good social life, good marriage and extended family life. It is intriguing that with everything in the developed countries, they were not voted the happiest. It therefore goes without saying that money is not everything and cannot buy happiness.
Hiding or denying our feelings can severely affect our psychological and physical wellbeing.
Expressing them can relieve pressure and tension. Moreover, expressing feelings encourages closeness and intimacy, and reduces misunderstanding.
Let us go back to the meaning of HAPPINESS.
Happiness is not a tangible thing; it is a state of the mind. The truth is that we Nigerians are born happy. It is in our DNA. It is inherent within us. It is ours but the trouble is that few of us don’t see it. It is always present and available and exist within us. We instinctively know what is happiness. We do not have to figure it out.
For the very few in our midst who are not happy, follow these simple steps to achieve everlasting happiness.
1. Choose happiness and let it inspire you.
2. Happiness is free-you don’t have to earn it.
3. Stop looking for happiness in the wrong place - it is within.
4. Happiness is selfless reach out and help others.
Copyright 2018 © Ngozi Franca Okoye PhD.
Pinnacs Media and Productions
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Dr. Franca . Motivational Speaker and Life Coach. Author of Unique Me, Unique You. A Guide to Build Your Self Esteem and Improve Your Self Confidence in One Week.