What Sparks Happiness In Your Life

To be happy is to inhabit a favourable emotional state (Haybron, 2013). Happiness is relative and not a linear concept nor can it be understood in quantitative terms. In an increasingly economically stable society such as Singapore, we focused on amassing wealth and material well-being over the years. However, at what expense? While all may be seeming cheery as ranked 2nd happiest in Asia (Helliwell, J., Layard, R., & Sachs, J., 2019), diving deeper, we uncover the hidden facets of Singaporeans and understanding the true mental health of our people.

Haybron brought up excellent points regarding “Happiness” and laid them out superbly in Happiness: A very short introduction and I particularly resonate with the importance of fulfilling states of Engagement and Attunement in achieving happiness.

Engagement in happiness concerns a fulfilment of our emotional needs and it provides us with an avenue to channel our heart and soul into doing an activity we feel good about and being in the zone (Haybron, 2013). Attunement, which incorporates the notion of confidence and tranquillity ties in very well with Engagement.

As a student, it is important to attain engagement as we can take a step back when stressed in order to reset ourselves and have a more positive inner state.

I think a significant number of youths to working-age Singaporeans feel miserable and a portion of our unhappiness stems from our inability to be truly content. Our materialistic culture causes us to be constantly unsatisfied with our possessions. Our success has blinded us to what we have, and we are in constant motion of wanting more due to shifting goalposts as we age – good grades, successful career, bigger house, more expensive car, more exotic holidays.

Hence, in the process we tend to overlook our happiness and mental well-being in the pursuit of materialistic goals that we often mistaking success with happiness.

In conclusion, as a student in Singapore’s competitive society, we shouldn’t underestimate the importance of mental health. Individuals with happier emotional states in life tend to be more engaged with their schoolwork, more resilient to academic challenges, and have greater tendency to succeed in life. As I reflected on Haybron’s reading, I found flashes of insight. It has provided a holistic understanding of happiness, and expressed compelling notions of happiness I could not agree more towards. I’ve learnt that happiness is not an end goal. The journey and mindful pursuit of happiness is what paves our path to fulfilment in one’s life and contributes to a peace of mind.


  1. Haybron, D. M. (2013). What is Happiness? Happiness: A very short introduction. (pp. 14-30) Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  2. Helliwell, J., Layard, R., & Sachs, J. (2019). World Happiness Report 2019, New York: Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
  3. Pang S, Liu J, Mahesh M, et al. (2017) Stigma among Singaporean youth: a cross-sectional study on adolescent attitudes towards serious mental illness and social tolerance in a multiethnic population.


I decided to choose the reading by Daniel Haybron on What is Happiness as it well reflected my views of happiness being multi-dimensional. It raised the topic of depression which I felt related to me as a representative of youths in Singapore where unreported cases of individuals with mental health issues are commonplace due to the stressful nature of our society and our desire to succeed and compete with one another. This writing gave me the opportunity to highlight the pervasive current situation of mental wellbeing amongst Singaporean youths yet reflect what I feel is necessary to achieve happiness.

A study by the Institute of Mental Health Singapore on how Singapore’s youth perceives mental illness revealed that youths prefer to keep their distance from identified individuals due to ideology of sufferers being unstable or ‘dangerous’ (Pang S, Liu J, Mahesh M, et al.,2017). This results in youths perceived social stigma against seeking necessary help and being unaware of suffering from possible mental health issues. Such a culture should be eliminated in order to introduce greater happiness levels among youths.

The greatest difficulty I encountered was to highlight and curate content that was impactful, not too overbearing, yet, have balance between the complexity and load of content. Moreover, I found utilising the most suitable vocabulary to persuade my instructor in a more passive way challenging.


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