Articles Mental Health

Why Are So Many People Unhappy In 2023?

Uncertainty of the Next Moment

The COVID-19 pandemic has made us sitting ducks and forced us to stay in our homes for the past two and a half years without any contact with the outside world. It has pushed the current medical facilities as well as the human psyche to their respective limits without any respite. And of course, it has killed 5.5 million people. So far, I mean.

A hidden yet deeply troubling effect of this pandemic is that it has brought a lot of uncertainty in our life. We don’t know whether we will survive the next day, let alone if we will be able to return to our workplaces or enjoy the overpriced popcorn in the theaters. Public sentiment was already dwindling since the past two decades due to increasing workplace pressure and educational competition as well as the intermittent pandemics like SARS and MRSA. COVID 19 has ultra accelerated this trend and the repercussions of this negative sentiment can be seen in the current market trends and sharply increasing inflation.

The Unending Rat Race

School is a place to mug up facts and college is to chill and avoid parental interference while gradually moving towards a restless existence. When after studying for 16-18 years of his life a person steps out into the real-life he is greeted with grueling work hours, growing education debt, and a monotonous and repetitive lifestyle. This is not the introduction to a psychological horror but the reality of today’s society.

You ask me why everybody is unhappy. I ask you how can they not be when they don’t even know what is happiness and how exactly can they achieve it?

Life in the 21st century has become a rat race and that too without any particular goal in sight. Our educational institutions and workplaces have become a battleground for the fittest and most extroverted person to excel while everybody else just wades through the waters. Everyone wants to beat everyone else not for any prize but just for the sake of winning. The residents of the world are disillusioned by the concept of success because no one knows what being successful means.

A Move Up the Maslow Ladder

50 years ago and 50 years before that the primary goal of an average person used to be to make enough money to have three square meals a day for him and his family. Two worlds wars and several small ones made sure that the world population was being culled at a regular rate. Clean drinking water and dependable sanitation facilities were a luxury. In a world such as that, it was enough for a person to have an averagely paying job that allowed him to fend for his family while trying to give his children a good education.

In the year 2022, the average paycheck might have gotten a few extra zeros but the challenges remain the same. Just they have moved from our body to our brain. The population is well beyond what the earth can handle and the third person you meet on the street is from a famous college and doing a well-paying job with an ultra-cool designation. Let’s face it. The 21st century has many problems; being afraid that you might not get food at the end of the day is not one of them. Well, unless you are in Afghanistan.

In this world, where almost everybody has crossed the first two steps of Maslow’s hierarchy we as a species are gradually stepping up from physical comforts towards self esteem and self actualization goals. As one takes care of the basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter the problems become more intrinsic. With social media and photo-sharing apps like Instagram and Facebook, happiness has become superficial and limited to sharing a pout-selfie with your friends. We have forgotten how to find happiness in the smallest of things and for this, we are sure to pay in a big way.

Where’s That Health At?

Everyone seems to be an expert in health and bodybuilding except the person who is an expert. Rumors and fads have replaced healthy eating and balanced diets. In this time when an incurable disease is also paving way for the sale of useless immunity boosters and questionable tablets, it would be an understatement to say that we are giving our health its due time.

We are way off the mark and need to give some quality time to our bodies and minds. If you were suffering from Corona and have survived you might have hopefully realized that these all-nighters at the office and networking with colleagues and leeches for friends are of no use because when you truly need help neither your boss nor your bank balance will help you. It’s your family and your own body that will support you. So stop spending 12 hours in a 9-hour work window. Give some time to your family and true friends. Most importantly give some time to your health.

No Time for Ourselves

While outside I always notice something. The roads are bustling with cars who are honking at each other as if irritated by each other’s presence. They appear to be in a hurry to reach somewhere but if you stop them and ask I bet they won’t be able to answer why they are so adamant to get on to wherever they are going. If you call someone on the phone the second thing they say after saying hello is inquire about your motive to call. So if you are just calling to catch up be sure that it might not be a long call as he like everybody else is busy.

Why are we busy?

Nobody knows.

Not even us.

We have become so engrossed and even drowned in the supposed important works that surround us that we no longer have any time for ourselves. In this world that lauds outgoing and outspoken people, introspection has lost its importance. There was a time when yin and yang were considered equal for together they created a balance. However, nowadays we have become anxious to feed the engine of progress without stopping for a moment and asking ourselves if we really need this progress or things are better as they are.

We Have Forgotten How to Live

In the quest to make preposterous amounts of money and catch the elusive tomorrow, people have forgotten to live in the present. In a race to find the next best thing, we have sacrificed what we have here and now. People give their workplace more time than their family, keep hoarding materialistic things while letting the real happiness go away, and like motivational quotes on Instagram while exhausting all motivation they have left.

Today’s world is a strange place where we buy unrealistically expensive phones just because of hedonistic attributes and haggle prices with local vendors. We have forgotten how to live or maybe we didn’t have any clue in the first place. Whatever may be the case, we need to stop suffering through this monotonous life and look for the one we are meant to live. It doesn’t hurt to walk on the less traveled every now and then.

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