According to Ruth Whippman, America’s obsession with happiness is creating a lot of anxiety and is making people unhappy in the end.
“In her new book, America the Anxious, Whippman explores the multibillion dollar happiness industry, and the question of why Americans always seem to be searching for contentment and never finding it. She began researching the book when she moved from always-cynical Britain to always-sunny California, and found that her new friends seemed constantly stressed but were obsessed with talking about happiness. ”
The key concern in the modern age when the basic necessities of food, shelter and clothes is satisfied, is a desire for fulfillment. The main questions that the modern human is asking is does not have anything to do with basic survival but is to do more with the higher needs. And the core higher need is to figure out if one is doing justice to one’s potential. Is one leading an appropriate life?
“Am I with the right person? Am I following my passions? Am I doing what I love? What is my purpose in life? Am I as happy as I should be?” are the questions that come up in every conversation.
“Their answers range from the mundane to the mind-boggling. Yoga and meditation. Keeping a “gratitude journal.” A weekend seminar on how to Unleash the Power Within. Keeping your baby attached to your body for a minimum of 22 hours out of every 24, and, most bafflingly, not least on a practical level, the drinking of wolf colostrum. ”
With so much focus on getting that elusive entity called happiness, it is no wonder that it just slips away. All that these efforts give you is anxiety that comes out of wanting something desperately, trying hard for it and yet being away from it.