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The Happiness Hypothesis ‘And Haidt’s Stronger’ Essay

Kanye West’s 2007 hit song, “Stronger” uses Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger”. In his novel, The Happiness Hypothesis, Jonathan Haidt states his hypothesis that people must endure all the hardships of life in order to grow in all aspects. I agree with both Nietzsche and Haidt that through perseverance of all difficulties that occur in life, we can develop a stronger physical, social, mental, and emotional state. I find Haidt’s suggestion interesting because many hardships I have endured and am continuing to endure, prove his suggestion valid.

When playing a high level of a sport one becomes familiar with the term, “conditioning season”. Those whom are unfamiliar with the term, “conditioning season” is defined as “the process of training to become physically fit by regimen of exercise, diet, and rest” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. During this training athletes push and stress their bodies, some to the point of throwing up or others upmost physical exhaustion, in order to ready themselves for their actual playing season.

Similar to the experiences of conditioning, people face issues that prove difficult to them on a physical level normally in life. Means of physical challenges, like any other hardship in life, make tasks and life more challenging. Those with physical disabilities or physical health problems can testify that they suffer more difficulties that make simple daily things harder, such as walking up stairs or using the bathroom. Not only do these once simple tasks make life harder for those physically impaired but they suffer daily reminders of their hardships.

In spite of how difficult and challenging it may appear, some people who suffer from physical disabilities were found to be happier despite their physical impairment. Tiffiny Carlson, a writer who suffered a spinal injury in her early teens, posted an article on The Huffington Post testifying the happiness she found years after her accident finding happiness through her loved ones and being alive. My grandmother, who suffered a stroke when I was seven years old, smiled almost every day despite her condition.

My cousins and I took care of our grandmother and she never ceased to amaze us with her jolliness and positivity. Tiffiny Carlson and my grandmother both suffered physical disabilities but still found means to happiness and personal growth. In my personal opinion when it comes to social hardships no one struggles more than teens and young adults because it seems that we’re the group to use social media the most. An Edison Research shows that over 70% of the nation has a social media profile as of the first of January this current year.

The Pew Research Center published results of a survey that shows 92% of teens, identified as 13-17 year olds in this survey, go online daily. From this research we can see how affected young adults and teens are affected by social media and although social media affects all sorts of people, it seems that social media affects young adults and teens to a greater extent. In a survey published by the National Crime Prevention Council, around 40% of teens were cyber-bullied. The social issues teens face differs from feeling insecure about themselves to feeling pressured about always looking their best.

Some find the use of a “selfie” as empowering while others use it as a measure to determine their worth by how many like or hearts they receive for that “selfie”. Although the online world manages to a produce solid amount of social hardships, the real world produces still produces its share of social issues. Face-to-face bullying is still common and teens are still facing the social issue. While bullying, whether online or in person, seems to result with more deaths in suicides than actual happy endings, there are those who still have endured their share of social problems to become happier people.

Some of these people have led themselves to being idols that teens admire such Taylor Swift and Demi Lovato. Both these stars were bullied in high school, Taylor Swift for not being “cool enough” and Demi Lovato for weight issues, worked towards overcoming their insecurities to become who and what they are today: happy and successful role models. Serious social hardships can lead to mental hardships, but so can hardships in general. Mental illness affected around 18% of the nation in 2013, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Mental illnesses prove their difficulty through because they remain in your mind as a constant reminder; it’s not like a bully that can disappear when you arrive home, but more like the simple task you have to do like using the bathroom. Mental illnesses like depression have taken such toll on friends of mine. They’ve expressed to me how depression feels similar to that of a black hole in that their depression basically sucks up everything, particularly all the positive things in their lives.

It’s not easy talking about the topic for my friends, but when they expressed their feelings they told me they felt much better after doing so. I’ve noticed many articles and discussions on social media focusing on acknowledging depression and mental illness, in general, as something serious and an issue that needs to be understood for everyone. Despite all the tales of depression my friends told me and the articles I read, I couldn’t really understand how people survived depression until I went through depression in my sophomore year of high school.

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