Living a happy life is not something far-fetch. It is possible, and everyone can achieve this.
A common saying says, “happiness is a state of mind”. Which in other words, mean everyone can live a happy life – including Nigerians.
“Being a Nigerian is abysmally frustrating and unbelievably exciting”, Chinua Achebe (1967).
The average Nigerian is always stressed, either financially, emotionally, mentally or other ways. Whichever it is, the stress is constant, and this makes you frustrated. The exciting part is the ability to suddenly find some reason to smile and laugh amidst the troubles.
You see them starting funny trends on Twitter, the skits on Instagram, etc. You are confused and seemingly proud to belong to such a happy community. It’s no lie; research shows Nigeria is the 23rd happiest nation on earth.
The truth about happiness
Genuine happiness isn’t something that can be bought; it has to come from the heart. Many Nigerians grow up under a roof that never rains silver, less to talk of golden spoons to go around every family member.
Despite this, they joy in the innocence of their childhood, discover happiness and build on it to find the purpose of life. And this goes on to defy the common notion of money guaranteeing happiness.
How does the Nigerian Society influence Happiness?
Living happily in Nigerian society could be difficult. There are challenges to scale past to attain maximum cheerfulness. These challenges exist in different ways;
The unfriendly Societal Norms
The Nigerian society is a judgmental one where living a life that doesn’t conform to any particular cultural norms attracts immense and harsh criticisms. Generally, the Nigerian society is a harsh one. If simple ethnic differences cause unrest, how much more lifestyle choices that conform to no societal norm.
For example, men wearing braids and earrings, being homosexual, it is just not possible. But hey! You shouldn’t live your life by other’s rules because, in the end, you can only be defined by who you think you are.
People’s opinion of you is not your problem. Listen, smile, agree and do whatever you want to do anyway because people will always talk.
- The Delusion of Money
The Nigerian society has conditioned our minds to believe that financial buoyancy is where happy living lies. Holding this belief in high esteem will lead to inevitable disappointment.
Real happiness is paramount. It is the only thing people need because, in the end, money’s purpose is just to make ends meet, which could bring happiness.
For sure, money doesn’t guarantee happiness. However, there can never be maximum happiness for someone who is financially challenged to the point of failing to make ends meet.
For example; how can some who can’t take care of his medical bills stay happy? In Nigeria, so many people fall under this category because of the poor circulation of wealth. This challenge is responsible for the misguided notion of money guaranteeing happiness.
Tips to live a Happy Life in Nigeria
You shouldn’t look down on relationships. You can hardly go a day on Nigerian internet space without seeing 2-6 “fuck haters” memes or posts.
If the eternity of friendship is uncertain, hostility as well is definitely temporary. Why then should one keep enemies when friendship is much more profitable? One could obtain every possession in the world. But in the end, friendship is more valuable.
With friends, you get to make ideal lifestyle choices, bounce back stronger from setbacks, and friends get out of depression card. They shouldn’t be traded.
Surround yourself with happy people
Happy people are positive people, and positivity is contagious. Having such people at your disposal means no room for negativity.
Study shows that pursuing happiness through social means (e.g., spending more time with family and friends) is more likely to be effective than other methods. Bid good riddance to negative people and say hello to positive vibes.
Get a hobby
Busyness is a myth; it’s all a matter of priorities. If your health is of high priority to you, you should find time to relax and engage in fun activities. Fun evidently contributes to sound health.
What do you love to do? A hobby should be based on activities that are appealing to you. It’s important you find out the right hobby that aligns with your interests, objectives, and values.
Research shows that engaging in hobbies helps people enjoy better moods, feel eager and zealous, and have less stress, and lower heart rates.
Practice courteous Habits
Little gestures can go a long way. It starts by being nice to people showing kindness, expressing gratitude, even to yourself by maintaining optimism.
When you begin to take this modesty as a habit, it inevitably attracts pleasant emotions, productivity, and positivity, leading to happiness. Making yourself happy is a goal, but radiating happiness is a greater goal. Scientists call this prosocial behaviour.
Beliefs, thoughts, emotions, and desires are what constitutes the spiritual life. An excellent spiritual life amounts to inner peace and felicity. One way to connect to your inner life is through religion.
Everyone should have a religion or spiritual belief- people who have a sort of spiritual belief or religion turn out to be happier than people without.
Catherine Sanderson, a psychology professor at Amherst College, said;
Religious beliefs give people a sense of meaning, it also gives them a social network, it gives them a sense of well-being or comfort.
The pursuit of happiness comes with a lot of challenges. From misguided notions to cultural barriers to other factors; in the end, happiness is obtained by focusing on one’s desires.
Benjamin Franklin said;
“The Constitution only guarantees you the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself“.
Meanwhile, in the pursuit of happiness, ensure to do it the right way as chasing blindly will only lead to disillusion and heartbreak. Make your pursuit one with a purpose – a meaningful one.