Documentary Review: Happy

What is it that gives you fulfillment and actually makes you tick? Many times, we get so caught up in our daily lives that we forget to ask ourselves, what is the purpose of what we are doing? What exactly will this bring us? Happy is a documentary that overviews the scientific research and studies done of what actually makes humans feel alive. I also studied this in my social psychology class this past semester. Much of the evidence that was proven by science may actually surprise you.

Happiness comes in many forms, but surprisingly, social status and where we live has proven to have only a 10% effect on our overall happiness. It was also found that about 50% of our happiness comes from our genes that are passed on by our ancestry. So what is it that actually makes us happy? Why are some people who come from bad families the happiest people on Earth, while others who come from loving parents end up as drug addicts as adults? It turned out, according to psychological studies, that 40% of our happiness comes from ‘intentional activity.’ This means that what we do on a normal, everyday basis is what will actually determine whether we are happy or miserable in our lives.

Doing what we enjoy doing, with the people that we are drawn most to, has shown to bring the most enjoyment to our lives. It is the routines that we set for ourselves, and how they help us to achieve our goals. Also, trying out new things and developing new interests has shown to give us a brew of happiness. As narrated in Happy, even taking a different route to a routine event has shown to increase our happiness, by exploring. Simply spending time with those we connect with most in our social circle has been charted to also increase our fulfillement in life as well. So if any of you are unhappy or depressed right now, take a look at the people you spend the most time around. It might mean it’s time to make some changes to your social circle.

Watching Happy really took me aback and made me think about all of the current activities I am currently doing in my life. Was this actually making me grow and giving me fulfillment? It made me immediately want to cut anything out that was not giving any long-term benefit, while searching for new activities that would be based upon more of my natural strengths. Mindless activity was shown to bring less happiness, because of the feeling of being on auto-pilot, and not actually feeling alive. In this case, Happy advocates the idea for us to make all of our activities intentional, as a way for us to think on our feet better and to feel more lively. I hope you watch this for your mind and well-being.


Documentary Review: Minimalism

Ask yourself this. How much value do you put your material possessions?
Now compare that to the value you place in your relationships and your personal growth. How do all of your life elements and priorities add up? How nice would it be to have less stress and worry in our lives? To only possess the things that matter most to us, and clean out the rest of the clutter? Minimalism is a 90 minute show that will mentally and emotionally move us. Ryan Nicodemus and Josh Milburn share their personal story of how they went from the everyday ‘rat race’ of living for a paycheck to creating a life of more meaning.

In Minimalism, Ryan and Josh decide to quit their high-paying corporate jobs and decide to pursue a life of greater purpose and relationships. They throw out everything they accumulated over their working lives, except for things that are neccessary for survival. If something did not add value to their lives, it was automatically donated, sold, or thrown out. This allowed them to downsize their lifestyles and living spaces to only what they absolutely need. For example, Josh and Ryan decluttered their closets to only their favorite clothing, as they can wear what they like most all the time. It also helped them not spend as much time questioning what they were going to wear. Josh shared a personal story where his mother became real sick in the hospital and was not able to get off work. She died soon after. This was the moment he realized he was trapped in the ‘rat race’ of keeping up with the joneses and was putting off what was really important.

Minimalism also shows stories of other couples who decided to downgrade their lifestyles and found them to be much happier and fulfilled after the process. One lady was interviewed, and mentioned how nice and intimate it was to actually share a closet with her husband. She also mentioned how unhappy she was about driving over an hour to work everyday, sitting in a cubicle, and becoming overweight. This was a couple who went from a mansion-sized home to an approximately 200 square foot tiny house. She also shared how nice it was for she and her husband to walk together everywhere and be more in-tune with the world. Another lady in the documentary mentioned how it allowed her to become closer to her friends. She would normally go out and buy a dress that she would use once and never wear again, but would now ask friends to borrow an outfit. Following the principles of Minimalism seems to bring people closer together, while creating more love and interdependence.

This documentary was a real eye-opener to me. It made me think of what was really important in my life and to prioritize what I deep-down value most. Minimalism made me think about how pointless it seems to be to try and become bigger in material possessions, in order to impress everyone. Dave Ramsey has a quote that pertains to problems in many lives of people, “we buy things to impress the people we don’t even like.” Becoming more self aware about what things will add value to our lives also helps save money and worry, which proves to be emotional and logical. Personally, I would rather live a fulfilling life that is free from massive stress and contains room to grow as a person! Happy watching!