REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Regional Australia: Our obsession with the pursuit of happiness

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People constantly trying to catch it are too busy chasing it to appreciate it when it's there. Picture: Shutterstock

People constantly trying to catch it are too busy chasing it to appreciate it when it's there. Picture: Shutterstock

What is happiness to you? It might seem like a frivolous thing to ask ourselves in the midst of a pandemic when there are more important things to be concerned about.

But then again, maybe it's the perfect time to be checking-in with our values around what "happy" actually means to us?

Aristotle, that philosopher from an era long since passed, identifies happiness as the main purpose of human life and as a goal to achieve in itself.

The pursuit of happiness is something we've been raised to strive for - in America it's even been etched in the United States Declaration of Independence as a right..."Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". Oh, and there was that movie with Will Smith, too.

Happiness, and "finding" it, seems to be ingrained in every fibre of our culture and the pressure of having it, or at least appearing to have it, can sometimes lead us so far away from "our own version"' of it that we lose sight of what happiness even means to us.

So maybe, we should stop chasing the happiness rainbow all together.

Careers consultant and un/employment advocate at impressability.com.au, Zoë Wundenberg says as humans, we seem intent on measuring our lives.

"Are you successful? Are you making a difference? Are you useful? Are you happy? We measure our lives by imagined abstract yardsticks," Zoë says.

"But why do we have to weigh and measure ourselves? Why do we have to compare the measurements of our lives to each other's?

"I am finding it increasingly astonishing that the very basis of our understanding of who we are is based on a constructed idea of what we should be. In order to be accepted, we have to conform - and yet the people we admire are the people who stand out as different. It is, perhaps, one of the greatest paradoxes of human society.

"To spend one's life chasing rainbows when one could take stock at any moment and revel in the beauty of the colours that light up the sky, is to miss the point entirely. Life is a series of moments.

"Whatever your goals in your life are, pursue them for the journey. Happiness tends to capture us when we aren't looking," Zoë says. To read her full opinion piece, click here.

Leanne Reeves learned the art of skull painting at home in rural New South Wales and is now bringing it to North West Queensland.

Leanne Reeves learned the art of skull painting at home in rural New South Wales and is now bringing it to North West Queensland.

As much as seeking your own journey to happiness can seem like a very personal road to walk, it's also pretty significant when you get to witness someone else living their happiness journey.

Like Leanne Reeves up in North West Queensland.

For Leanne, painting is her passion. But more specifically painting animal skulls in a way that shares the beauty of unique country and western designs through art.

Spreading joy and sparking happiness in others is also a reaffirming path on the old happiness journey.

Bendigo's St John of God Hospital has welcomed its own furry, four-legged healthcare worker. Picture: Kate Monotti Photography

Bendigo's St John of God Hospital has welcomed its own furry, four-legged healthcare worker. Picture: Kate Monotti Photography

There's no doubting the power of joy that dogs can bring, and one hospital in Bendigo, Victoria, is bringing canines on board to spread a little joy to health care works on the frontline.

The hospital is taking part in a program with Dogs Connect that will see Rosie the Groodle work there two days a week.

The young pup's job will be to help healthcare workers deal with mental health issues due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Go Rosie!

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