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Happiness relates to how we feel, but it is more than just a passing mood. We are emotional beings and experience a wide range of feelings on a daily basis. Negative emotions – such as fear and anger – help us to get away from danger or defend ourselves. And positive emotions – such as enjoyment and hope – help us to connect with others and build our capacity to cope when things go wrong.

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Trying to live a happy life is not about denying negative emotions or pretending to feel joyful all the time. We all encounter adversity and it’s completely natural for us to feel anger, sadness, frustration and other negative emotions as a result. To suggest otherwise would be to deny part of the human condition.

Happiness is about being able to make the most of the good times – but also to cope effectively with the inevitable bad times, in order to experience the best possible life overall. Or, in the words of the biochemist turned Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard: “Happiness is a deep sense of flourishing, not a mere pleasurable feeling or fleeting emotion but an optimal state of being.”

Research a selection of characteristics that contribute to being human e.g. Being Competitive, Being Social, Creativity, Happiness etc 

Discuss how happiness can contribute to being human - use your own conclusions and compare and contrast with other notable comments on happiness....even be current such as Pharrell, Happy.

Conclude by pulling out the main themes from the information you have given and invite the audience to add any of their own thoughts.

This is just a quick way to get started by establishing a structure and also giving you a couple of ideas to begin researching.


It doesn't. Happiness cannot be bought or achieved from the outside. Happiness is an impermanent and ghostly idea. Work, family and truth are the paths to satisfaction- but happiness is fleeting.

It could be said that one of the (many!) differences between the state of being human and that of being another mammal or life form are the variety of emotions that we are capable of feeling and articulating.

Human beings are capable of feeling happy without that being related to the satisfying of purely physical sensation satisfaction such as hunger sated or sexual congress to take two examples. Happiness for humans extends beyond the merely physical; it can be created from being with a certain person or place - think of what makes you happy - and this is why this particular feeling - which extends beyond existence and being in the here and now (when we recall moments of happiness, we can feel that happiness again), contributes to being human.

Try looking at this article from The Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/nov/03/why-does-happiness-matter

We need happiness to be human - we find happiness through entertainment, friendship - family: these are things that make us human & makes us different from fish (for example) who basically have more instinct based lives.

Happiness according to me is something that keeps us away from anxiety and cheered up. If you go to see all our activities are based on deriving enjoyment. For example, we eat so that we can relish the taste of food, we talk because we just enjoy expressing ourselves. So, all these activities we do as a part of being human is to enjoy throughout our life. The four main things eating,sleeping,defending and mating are common to us and animals, but the only thing that differentiates us is the intelligence. We can choose the activities based on our experience and intelligence so that we can derive maximum happiness.

I would suggest to start by breaking down the question and considering how to interpret the meaning of individual words in the context of the question itself. Firstly, what is happiness and how can it measured? What challenges arise when trying to define and measure happiness? What does it mean to "be human"? What type of "contribution" does happiness make to our lives? Is it what motivates us or is that something else? It may be useful to make a distinction between other animals and humans to consider the "contribution" that being happy makes in our life. Humans, as self-reflective creatures, spend a lot of time thinking about and seeking out "happiness", but whilst most animals feel pleasure and pain they do not actively seek out happiness as humans do -their overriding instinct is that of life and reproduction. Aristotle said that humans are unique from animals because of their ability to reason. He then deduced that humans are only truly happy when they're using their power of reason. Do you agree with this? What other interpretations of human happiness are there? Spend some time brainstorming your ideas and thinking carefully about the question before structuring your response. 

Happiness contributes to being human in many different ways. Firstly, happiness can be defined as positive emotions that are experienced when in a mental or emotional state of well-being. This suggests that happiness it therefore a personal phenomenon. 

There are many benefits research have found related to happiness, including better physical and mental health. Additionally, recent studies have suggested that happiness affects occupational success. 

Many factors can influence ones happiness, which differ among individuals. Examples can include money, climate conditions or social aspects of that individuals life. 
As a result, it can be argued that happiness is the purpose of life and the aim of human existence. 
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