Ruth Whippman, the author of “America the Anxious: How Our Pursuit of Happiness is Creating a Nation of Nervous Wrecks,” recently published an article on Quartz titled “America the Anxious.” Some of the main points are shared below.
Whippman is a Brit living in the United States and she observes that people in America spend more time, emotional energy, and money in the pursuit of happiness than any other nation with little to show for it. In fact, she points out that in a recent survey Americans are only slightly happier than citizens of Rwanda. She writes that according to the World Health Organization, Americans are the most anxious people on the planet.
You might rightly question how this is possible. Everywhere you look in the United States right now there are products and services available to help achieve happiness. Yoga studios and gyms are more busy than ever. Parks are plentiful. We have every modern convenience and technology at our disposal so we are we not happy? Why are we so full of anxiety? Oddly enough, a serious of studies at UC Berkley showed that paradoxically the more intensely people pursue happiness the more likely they are to feel let down and feel anxiety, loneliness, and depression.
Whippman argues that we as Americans are going about pursuing happiness in the wrong way. We are taking individualistic approaches that attempt to find happiness alone. She says that nearly all research on the subject of happiness concludes that our happiness depends on other people. The stronger our relationships are with others the happier we are. In other words, we need each other.
If you’d like to read the article in full you can find it here.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree with Whippman? Please leave your comments below.
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