Everyone wants to be happy, but few people actually know what will bring us joy. As humans, we constantly distort our memories and expectations of happiness and constantly push towards something more. Mark Manson’s “A Brief Guide on How to Be Happy,” is a well-written article that probes the specific mechanisms that prevent us from being as happy as we can be. One of the main problems people have with directing a happy future for themselves is that we are horrible at recording our happiness. Manson cites studies performed during elections showing that humans in general remember their past emotions as more extreme than reality and predict their future emotions to be more extreme than they really will be. In doing so, we emphasize the most memorable moments of our past, forgetting what we really went through, and what we really felt.
The United Nations World Happiness Report shows that while the US has become richer over the last two years, it has become less happy. As expected, countries experiencing hardships like Greece and Egypt showed the biggest drop in happiness. Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden ranked as the happiest countries while many African countries found themselves ranked among the world’s least happy countries.