Quintessence of Happiness

Quintessence of Happiness Quintessence of Happiness

Happiness is one of the most cherished goals for mankind, as individuals and as well as members of a society as a whole.

Iranians have always been high-spirited and known for their hospitality and aesthetic sense. So, the results of a recent Gallup poll, which places Iran as the “second unhappy nation after Iraq,” on the list of 138 nations surveyed, comes as a surprise.

However, the reality has to be accepted and while the poll may not be entirely accurate, there is no doubt that the happiness quotient for the average Iranian has declined in the past decade.

Increasing divorce, fewer marriages, unemployment, lower life expectancy, as well as growing social inequality are signaling a shift in the collective frame of mind.

In an interview with IRNA, university instructor and psychologist Seyed Mohammad Kazem Vaez Mousavi, Prof. Hossein Baher, pioneer of human behavioral studies in Iran, and university instructor and social pathologist Dr. Majid Abhari, elaborated on the “grim face of Iran in the global spectrum.”

Abhari censured the absence of “happiness management” in the country. No organization or institute has defined happiness that would be acceptable to different social classes and doctrines.

Vaez Mousavi singled out low life expectancy as one of the most important factors of discontent, particularly among the youth who are insecure about the future.

“Studies show that four factors including a partner in life, healthy social and family ties, strong religious faith, and physical activity are the essence of happy living,” he said.

 Role of Gov’t

He also stressed the role of government in creating a cheerful atmosphere in the country. “The administration should pave the way for buoying up the spirit of the people and encourage the mass media to develop more heartening programs.”

The community is downbeat, said Baher who was supported by Abhari blaming negative news broadcast on home TV screens and newsstands for demoralizing people.

Inequality that is growing by the day is also a cause of social discontent.

“Inequality and unemployment has left the youth in despair and with little desire to get married,” Baher maintained.

Mohammad Esmaeil Motlaq, head of population, school and family health office at the Health Ministry, at a meet on ‘General Policies to Boost Fertility Rates’ recently, pointed out that “marriage is the 7th priority on the list of youngsters after employment, education, home ownership and others.”

This indicates that the younger generation is more concerned with their financial status “to keep up with the Joneses” rather than create a home and family to feel happy.

“The more misery in a society, the lower the threshold for social ills,” deemed Abhari. “When there is no reason or outlet for happiness, the youth tend to move to harmful habits such as tobacco use and hookah smoking.”

Earlier this week, member of the Majlis Integration Commission Shahmsollah Shariat Nejad, addressing the problems of youth said, “The landmark nuclear accord between the six major global powers and Iran will help lighten the social atmosphere and give youth issues a momentum,” Borna News Agency reported.

“Broader communication with the world will help alleviate economic woes and by extension reduce social ills such as drug abuse and addiction and boost employment and marriage,” he said, urging executive bodies “to promote a culture of hopefulness and happiness as decreed in Islam.”