20
Jun
08

Are you miserable?

Hi it’s Farhana here, I work on Newshour.

The reason I ask is because here in the UK a government minister has started this debate. He wants to know, when the British are relatively wealthy, safe, healthy and long-lived, why are we so miserable?

In our Newshour programme tonight we’d like you to help us look at this question. Do you live in less happy times than your parents and does money make you happy?

One psychologist thinks today is the happiest day of the year. Let us know what you think.


17 Responses to “Are you miserable?”


  1. 1 Nelson
    June 20, 2008 at 16:30

    Being miserable is a thing of the mind. If certain factors at play in any individuals life suit him, being miserable would be out of the question. But if these factors dont suit the person, being miserable could come in to question.

  2. 2 Nelson
    June 20, 2008 at 16:32

    People get miserable when the issues of life work against them and they allow it to get to them. Personally every thing’s working out well for me. So i am very very happy 🙂

  3. 3 Jessica in NYC
    June 20, 2008 at 16:42

    I would not say I’m miserable, but have less than a feeling of pure bliss. I come from the south, so am not happy that the sun does not shine in NY. There are also those pesky little pressures to succeed that sometimes get in the way of being incandescently happy.

    I’d agree that today is the happiest day of the year, because we found out a dear family member does not have cancer. Drinks on me!

  4. June 20, 2008 at 16:56

    Hi WHYSers/ Newshour:

    I live in Jamaica and I would say that the issue of happiness is really about how and what you feed your mind. I find when I get tired and the challenges of life come at me fast and furious it is very easy adn tempting to loose sight of the critical things and focus instead on unhappiness and misery.

    Certainly, money and the modern comforts of life make one more happy, by degrees. However, that is no guarantee. Indeed, people need people (some to make us happy). One has to make a conscious decision to be be and remain happy. Your joy is basically all that you own. How you choose to farm it out is a decision that each individual has to decide on his own terms.

    Happiness, I think, is about the extent to which we actively decide how we feel about our circumstances, noting but not being arrested by them.

  5. June 20, 2008 at 16:56

    A spirit of gratitude is extremely important in this regard!

  6. 6 steve
    June 20, 2008 at 16:59

    Materialism breeds misery. Nothing is ever enough. “If I had this, then I’d be happy” then they get it, and want something else. You, especially in the west, should be thankful you have drinkable water, a roof over your head, enough food to eat, but no…… Need that McMansion, the BMW, but then only the best stereo for it, and of course only the best clothes, the best TV, a PS3, and an iphone, and and of course the newest lateds iPod..

  7. June 20, 2008 at 17:05

    I try to think positive and see light in everything no matter how bad the situation. Most of my friends think its wierd, I’m just an overall happy guy. No sense in living the short amount of time we have here in a bad mood. Im real though and aware of situational variables which may put pressure on me to make me miserable or put me down, but even in solving those problems or pressures, I can go at them with a positive mindset and positive attitude, or I can solve them in a bad mood.

    Plus if your miserable you tend to bring those around you down too. I like to make people laugh and smile so miserable doesn’t really work well with that 🙂

  8. 8 Will Rhodes
    June 20, 2008 at 17:35

    He wants to know, when the British are relatively wealthy, safe, healthy and long-lived,

    Is that a serious question?

    OK – let’s assume that it is.

    1) Wealthy: The majority not the minority are in fear of losing the limited wealth they have due to policies by a “very badly led government” that tax the British people to death, both in direct and indirect taxation. They see prices rising at an alarming rate and do not know where they will find the money to pay those prices. Starter home at around 90k, the cost of fuel through the roof etc, etc.

    2) Safe: I did giggle – but would he define ‘safe’? If he means safe as a society, on the whole he is correct 60 plus million people are safe, but the individual doesn’t feel safe! The individual feels that their very rights to be British are being eroded, the majority feel that an elite are dictations, not leading, what the individual can and cannot do – this is fine in basic laws such as not murdering another citizen and lesser laws like rape ect, but the government are trying to dictate what people can do in their own homes. By dictating these petty laws it makes people feel that everything they do is illegal – as as that is the case they feel everyone else is doing something illegal which means they do not feel safe.

    A perfect example is the bloody ID cards – they are so hated because the majority do not want them and the government uses terms like “to stop terrorism”, ” to stop organised crime” as if it is prevalent in the British society – it isn’t! That makes people feel unsafe!

    3) Healthy: Well that is all well and good until you look at how the NHS works and who is in charge of it. People are scared to death they are going to lose the NHS to privatisation. Get government out of the NHS and let the Dr’s run it so the managers in the NHS are all fired and that money can then be reinvested into the NHS.

    4)Long-lived – OK I will give him that one, we do live a little longer than they did in the Edwardian times.

    One thing that would make people feel so much happier – get rid of the Labour government for one term so they can refocus on what the British people really need – four or five years of a Tory government will give the British people time to reflect and vote in aLABOUR, not new Labour, government!

  9. June 20, 2008 at 17:57

    Cynically, however, and after review of the above I am tempted to say that – of course, we are all unhappy!

    The world in which we live is almost always forcing us to compare ourselves with others, in part, because that relativism “destabilises” our realiities and commodifies us as units of production in the global market place (of ideas). We are increasingly constructed as non-human elements in a sea of contested and competing ideas. In this battle of supremacy/ wills, the more we think we want, is the more we consume and consumption, of course, is the hallmark of the West. It is a key part of what makes us who we are.

    We believe that bigger equals better and that “better” will make everything right. And we will go to every extreme as a culture/ society to do just that! So, yeah, we are one very unhappy bunch! Or is that, a very sorry bunch? We actually classify progress and development in these outrageously narrow terms! Little wonder we are steadily killing off ourselves as a planet with greenhouse fumes and the like, as part of this overwhelming desire to be “happy”! How very sad for all of us!

    Indeed, what I am never certain of is whether the people who fashion these acquisitive, overly materialistic values with their largely externalised self value felt that they, themselves, were happy? Or is it all one big trick that they are playing on us? Should we wait for the punchline? Or, is it that we need to actively combat these feelings of helplessness and desperation that are enshrined in Western intellectual science as part of the myth of progress, development and advancement?

    How do we get back (?) to a place of centredness and wholesomeness? Are those even words that a necessary in this conversation? Is religion the answer? God? Or, do we just need more money? I would be interested to know.

  10. 10 Lubna
    June 20, 2008 at 18:09

    Hello to all of you my Precious friends.. Actually I’m overall a sad person, not to the extent of being miserable though.. I do believe that even if you were sad, then that shouldn’t prevent you at all from celebrating other people’s happiness and joy… My personal life without going into much details has always been so difficult and hardly bearable, so I guess that sadness has just become a part of my nature, a part of who I am.. But it’s ok, inspite of all that I can laugh, I can smile, I can joke, and I can always manage to keep up hope alive inside my heart… Besides, my sadness has helped out me alot regarding sensing and understanding other people’s pain and suffering.. May be that’s why I entered the medical school in the first place.. With my love.. Yours forever, Lubna..

  11. June 20, 2008 at 18:35

    @ Lubna,

    Thanks for your very honest insights on this matter. I must say that I am agreed with you about the happiness/ sadness dichotomy that I hear you articulate. In fact, I would go so far as to say that there is a very real way in which happiness or sadness is not measured in any real degree by the extent to which you are either one or the other.

    There is almost always some counter-veiling experience for the dominant emotion which occupies us at any one moment. That makes us able to reflect our complexity as a people insofar as we are a combination of different emotions registering in different way. After all, sometimes, like you noted above, you are able to laugh through the sadness and possibly the tears. I would even venture that such experiences add character, depth and personality to who and what we become. Is that the same as being happy? I am not sure.

    However, I find for my part, that I am curiously happy. There is so much that I could be unhappy and stressed out about but make an active choice not to. In that regard, I completely empathise with what you say. After all, like I noted above, there is almost always a way in which you are being dragged into this endless sets of comparison of yourself in relation to others. Personally, for me that is just more than I care to take on. So, I note it and let it be…most times!

    …Of course, we are only humans, right? LOL!

  12. 12 Julie P
    June 21, 2008 at 01:30

    I wouldn’t trade my problems for anyone else’s.

  13. 13 Shakhoor Rehman
    June 21, 2008 at 11:56

    You are only as miserable as you allow your intellectual powers to make you so.

  14. June 21, 2008 at 14:14

    Yes,
    Iam really miserable,
    when i see around,
    burning housees and humen bodies,

    When i see,
    innocent disabled childs
    bagging on the roads,
    they are disabled,
    due to explosion blasted
    any public place,
    hotel,
    roade side,
    or public meetings.

    What they had done.
    what/
    they committed no crime
    they commited no sin
    why they awarded punishment?

    Miserable,
    I am really miserable,
    when i see my country
    sinking in ecnomic sea.
    people,
    i mean poor people
    drowning in it,
    the conditions they fasing
    can not be explained
    into words.

    The justice,
    the sign of justice
    are wondering helplessly
    in my country.

    God forgive me
    if my country has become failed state
    who would be rsponsible?
    people?
    religous parties or groups,
    politicam parties,
    sitting under the glorious roof of parliment
    and enjoing power,power sharing.

    Miserable,
    i am really misrable,
    my country is great ally of &nited States
    on the war of terror
    but
    the nato forces killed our soliers
    targeting through Dron.

    Miserable ,
    I am really miserable,
    as watching as hearing,
    Iran has lost last chance by great offer,incebtive,
    exersizing of war planes gas begun,

    Who says,
    this war would turned the glob
    into FIRE BAL,
    so i am miserable ,
    really misrable.

  15. 15 steve b - uk
    June 21, 2008 at 15:58

    I have noticed how unhappy people seem to be. I cannot understand it myself as I find the UK a most fascinating place with its fine universities, history, democrary, legal system, literature, beauty, talent, music etc.
    I am often amused by the sour comments of ex-pats but then I guess they have to convince themselves they have done the right thing to quit dear old UK.

  16. June 22, 2008 at 11:05

    Deng francis
    Being miserable comes when thing are not going smoothly as someone have said above i absolutelly agree with him. and the fact is when your seeing alot of inhumanities being practice by your government you feels completely miserable as you are seeing your brothers/sisters ,Aunts cousins and ect being killed in your presence.one example is zimbabwe where the people are deprived tortured and seriously intimedated you feel like you should not be in that country because what is happening is a totall violation of human rights and human dignity.therefore, i advise the people of zimbabwe to continue fighting for their rights from mugabi.
    many thanks,


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