My inquiry question was: What does it take to be happy?
In my first round of research, I looked at: What is happiness? (scientifically speaking)
In my second round of research, I focused on: How is our happiness affected by our environments/lifestyles?
In my final round of research, I asked myself: What do other people think? What is my opinion?
What challenges did you overcome throughout this inquiry project? How did you go about
overcoming these challenges?
One of the things that I found a little difficult was finding reliable sources to use for my research. When talking about psychology, many articles are opinionated, and not based on facts. The difficult part, is that it’s hard to tell these articles and scientific articles apart at times. Because of this, I made sure to check the authors of every article I used to make sure they are qualified in the field.
How did this inquiry change the way you think?
This project has changed the way I view happiness and success. During my first round of research, I discovered that happiness isn’t necessarily what I thought it was. We tend to refer to happiness as a temporary emotion, so it’s easy to get confused when wondering what it takes to lead a happy life. What even is a happy life? When we follow the idea that happiness is a temporary emotion, it’s easy for us to make the assumption that in order to lead a happy life, you have to try and feel only happy emotions. However, as I now know, there are different degrees to happiness. We shouldn’t be using the amount of temporary happiness we have to conclude whether we lead happy lives. Instead, we should focus on the third level of happiness, which is about finding your sense of purpose, or feeling a certain sense of freedom. It is perfectly normal to feel all sorts of good and bad emotions, and feeling negative emotions does not make your life less happy overall. One of the reasons we have this distorted view of a happy life is because of social media, which only shows people having a good time. Having learnt this, I was able to confront my own misconceptions about happiness, and gain a better understand of what it means to lead a content life.
How did this investigation impact your future decisions?
Since I am in grade 11, it’s time for me to start deciding what I want to do with my future. It’s a scary decision, and I didn’t quite know where to start. However, I did know that whatever path I chose, I want it to lead to a happy life. Through this research, I have gained a better understanding of what leads to being happy with your life, and I am going to use the information I learnt! Instead of searching for a future career that matches the criteria that society deems important, I am going to focus on picking something that will make me feel fulfilled, and give me a sense of purpose. I’ve always wondered what was more important: following your passions or pursuing a more comfortable “successful” lifestyle. Now I have my answer! From now on, I will follow my passions, since I believe it’s one of the ways to truly become happy.
What impact will this investigation have on others locally and/or globally?
I think that many students struggle with the same dilemma I faced. Through this research, I’m hoping that I was able to help my peers navigate this problem as well, and find their own solutions. One big thing I learnt is that everyone has a different path to happiness, and that no two people are alike. Because of this, I included many things in my research that I don’t think apply to me, but that may help out my readers.
Thank you for reading my post, and good luck to all of you on your future inquiry projects!