We often wonder what to do to be happy as well as what to do to be fit and healthy. It can be said that happiness and health are the key elements of a good life as no matter what country we come from or what we believe in, we always wish each other health and happiness on different occasions.
These two h-starting notions are strictly connected. Although it is a common knowledge that happy people are healthier and live longer, we often ask ourselves what happiness really means and how to be happy? Some people say they are ok, they feel quite happy but they do not really know why they feel this way. In other words, they cannot realize what makes them truly happy. Other people seek happiness trying to perform really difficult tasks, challenging themselves or experiencing outstanding adventures. If they fail to do one of the things, they can feel depressed and disappointed and in consequence it can lead to problems with both mental and physical health.
We asked some of our students what makes them happy as we wanted to check if young people in times of virtual reality realize the fact that real happiness can be so close to them and it is not necessary to look for it in a special and often unreachable way.
To our surprise, most students can find a real joy of life in very simple things that are around them such as family, friends, love, sport, travelling, self-development, healthy food, playing with a dog and cooking. It is really worth noticing that they are grateful for what they have as in the era of advanced technology and the trend to want more and more, our students enjoy things which have always been regarded as universal values.
It is still really important to them to have a supportive family and trusted friends with whom they often meet face to face, not through social networking sites. They like talking to their parents during common meals and somehow they find time for their children even if they work really hard. What makes them really happy is the time spent on talking to their friends about their joys, problems and even trivial things.
John Lennon once sang “All you need is love” and this old truth is still prevailing. It seems so clear, especially for girls, that having a beloved one makes their life meaningful. They need warmth and support, even if they feel ill or have some difficulties, the awareness that there is someone who cares about them makes them feel better and it is much easier for them to find solutions to various problems.
However, being in love does not mean that teenagers lose their freedom and independence. Developing passions and getting to know new things stand for another crucial component of happiness. Most of them like doing sport and again, instead of surfing the net they play volleyball, work out, swim or go jogging at least three times a week. They know that being physically active contributes to being fit and healthy. Moreover, sport gives them satisfaction and opportunity to fight stress and forget about their problems. Some of them also like cooking, especially healthy dishes and it is not just a trend or fashion but it is a result of their knowledge about healthy diet. They realize the importance of eating good, healthy, real food instead of convenient one full of empty calories, fat and sugar. They know that healthy eating habits contribute to feeling happy as food is one of the most needed things in our life so if we eat healthy we are healthy and much more likely to be happy. Proper diet can even cure some dysfunctions, not to mention benefits such as keeping right weight, looking good and having higher self-esteem. Sport plus healthy diet make most of the people happy so if these elements are combined, happiness is just around the corner.
In addition, they are keen on developing their knowledge on the world, mainly through travelling. They are eager to find out about other cultures and meeting new, interesting people, but they also feel pleased when they can find solutions to different problems, when they improve their language skills and achieve their goals. It means they are ambitious and know that knowledge brings freedom and ability to live happily and healthily.
Romanian teenagers also enjoy simple everyday things such as playing with their dogs, feeling the taste of mandarins and chocolate and seeing a smile on strangers’ faces. It means they know what to do in case they need to improve their mood very quickly thus fight a stressful situation. They also like meeting other happy people who will respect them because they dislike the feeling of being ignored.
In conclusion, it can be stated that young people from smaller towns or villages do not need to be taught how to be happy and healthy. They know it is just enough to be grateful for what we have- people we love, healthy food, healthy bodies for being physically active and what is the most important- the ability to realize it. If we all appreciate our private happiness and if we care about it all the time, our life will be joyful and we will live long enjoying it to the fullest.
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This study among Liceul Tehnologic Constantin Brancusi students, Satu Mare was made within the Erasmus+ project “Cook Healthy, Eat Healthy, Live Healthy”, coordinated by Olivia Pop.