Students find their inner happiness

Unhappy students, take note: Seek out new experiences; become a part of something bigger than yourself; make meaningful connections to loved ones.

These are some of the keys to happiness, according to the documentary Happy, shown at Stamp Student Union Saturday as part of “World Happy Day.”

Screenings of the movie occurred all over the world Saturday as part of a global effort to examine the root causes of happiness.

Because much has been done to advance the studies of mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, film director Roko Belic wondered why conditions like these have been “measured,” and happiness has not, said Health Center Coordinator of Triage Services Jeri Boliek. His department hosted Saturday’s screening.

“I was skeptical at first,” said junior criminology major Jennifer Major. “It’s kind of an odd concept to designate this day to be happy, but after watching the movie, it’s cool that there’s science behind it.”

According to the film, while happiness level is 50 percent determined by genetics and 10 percent due to life circumstance, each person has the ability to improve the remaining 40 percent of mental well-being.

By giving viewers a look into the lives of a family living in a co-housing unit in Denmark and a woman who endured 30 facial surgeries after being run over by a truck and a community in rural India, the film looks at reasons why people of all different backgrounds are happy. Overcoming adversity, enjoying time with family and friends, breaking out of everyday routines and engaging in physical activity were common factors in some of the happiest people.

“I really liked how they were talking about the different cultures and happiness levels and how that affects it,” said junior English and psychology major Jennifer Robinson. “In America, we tend to focus on privacy instead of community.”

— Lauren Kirkwood

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