"Happiness may have different meanings for different people. But we can all agree that it means working to end conflict, poverty and other unfortunate conditions in which so many of our fellow human beings live."
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Abraham Maslow was one of the first psychologists to investigate the foundations of human happiness. He dedicated his time researching and understanding what he saw as the best and brightest in human history and society in order to determine human potential for an individual working as their “healthiest self.”
From this study Maslow developed the renowned “Hierarchy of Needs” that outlines a list of basic human needs that have to be fulfilled for maximum psychological health (happiness). Maslow had 5 levels of transition starting with food and shelter through safety, belonging and self-esteem to self-actualisation. He said each level must be satisfied before the individual can grow to the next.
In our day-to-day lives at SunnyKids we are well versed in Maslow’s theory and work largely to assist our clients fulfil their most basic physiological and safety needs. Once they have sufficient access to food, water, housing, employment and health services we can then future-plan so that they have the understanding and opportunity to transition to the next levels. For most, being able to fulfil the first two levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy creates the sense of community belonging they need in order to begin reaching for new levels of achievement and happiness.
Happiness is a personal pursuit and for each of us the joy in life is found in different places. This month take sometime to appreciate who and what brings you happiness in your life. Then ask yourself how you can share some happiness with others and do it. For many of the people we meet happiness is as simple as a warm cup of coffee and a safe bed to sleep in.