“Ignorance is bliss” is a very common phrase, but is it really true? Being unaware of things and situations may be helpful in some cases, for a short period of time, but it does not equate with bliss or happiness. It is important to note here that ignorance means being unaware of, or not having the knowledge of something, whereas bliss refers to a state of happiness or extreme joy. Hence, it can be understood that ignorance can lead to reduced sadness or might help you avoid overthinking, but cannot give you happiness in its true form.
How Much Of Ignorance Is Healthy?
During COVID lockdown, when our televisions were blaring about the number of deaths happening around us, and we chose to consciously “ignore” that dreadful piece of information by changing the channel, it helped us cope and reduce our cortisol levels. It helped us to stay calm. Or for example, when we buy a house, and later learn that there are rumors of the house being haunted, being ignorant of information may actually be better!
However, there exists a line between healthy and dreadful levels of ignorance. In some cases, it can lead to serious consequences in life too. For example, if someone has been experiencing some symptoms, and chooses to ignore them, it might lead to a late or even a missed diagnosis of a serious medical condition. Or if someone is not aware of the harmful consequences associated with a substance or behavior, they may continue to indulge in it and may have to bear the consequences later.
The key lies in maintaining a balance and moderation. Not too much, not too little.
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What Is True Happiness?
So, if ignorance does not lead to happiness, what is the real path to long term, sustainable happiness? The pursuit of happiness through knowledge, understanding and persistence may be beneficial in the long term. Learning new things can be a source of joy and fulfilment, as well as helps us to develop new skills, broaden our perspectives and face life events being more prepared. It can also lead to a greater sense of control over our lives, as we gain a better understanding of the world around us.
The world’s longest running study on happiness, Harvard Study of Adult Development, has been investigating what makes people flourish. The researchers have concluded that the “good relationships” that people build with their friends, family and community are the major sources of happiness. So, when we are focusing on being happier, we also need to focus on how to be more connected and develop meaningful relationships with people around us.
[bctt tweet=”The researchers have concluded that the “good relationships” that people build with their friends, family and community are the major sources of happiness.” username=”paavanapp”]
How To Enhance Happiness?
Some common strategies for being happier are:
1. Prioritize your relationships and be present
We often believe that we do not have the time to indulge into leisure activities or spend quality time with our family and friends. But often, even when we are sitting idle at home, we spend a lot of time gazing into our phones or scrolling the social media feed. Giving attention to our family, is actually a gift for them. Some techniques for making even brief conversations more meaningful include, showing interest and curiosity, looking interested and listening carefully when the other person is talking. More meaningful relationships lead to a happier and more satisfied life, in the long run.
2. Do something that truly ignites the passion
we should try to do at least one activity that gives real happiness every single day. It can be reading a book for 30 minutes or choosing a job that aligns with your idea of happiness and passion. We often engage too much in work and fulfilling responsibilities, that we forget to give our attention to what makes us experience true joy.
Feeling grateful for things that help us navigate through the day and throughout our lives, is a very powerful technique, which is being used since ancient times for enhancing the feelings of happiness. You can maintain a gratitude journal, in which you can write five things that you are truly grateful for, before sleeping each night. You can also express your heartfelt gratitude by sending a handwritten letter to someone who has consciously or unconsciously, created a positive impact in your life. Brining a smile on someone’s face will bring a wider one on yours!
4. Take regular breaks
You do not have to wait till you reach a state of burnout, before you take a weekend getaway with your spouse, or go out for a dinner with your friends. By doing so regularly, we can actually avoid reaching that state. Including few moments of relaxation in our hectic schedules, plays a huge role in improving the overall satisfaction with life.
5. Happiness Lies Within!
We have a playlist on the Paavan App, in which we have discussed about enhancing happiness in our lives in detail. Watch this exclusive playlist to learn practical and easy solutions for happiness in life.
It is also important to note here that, if you have been experiencing extreme sadness, crying spells, decreased motivation, changes in appetite or sleep, and/or have experienced a major change in life, it is advisable to seek professional help at the earliest.
In conclusion, happiness and bliss and transient in nature. They do not come to us on their own, and we need to consciously chase them. Ignorance (in moderation) can help you avoid stress and stop you from entering a loop of negative spiral thinking, but taking steps to improve overall quality of life, is the path to real bliss.
About The Author
Psychologist and Founder, The Grey Couch