I believe that happiness and health are related concepts, in the sense that if our health is compromised, so is our happiness and vice versa.
Health is an indicator of not just our physiology, but of our society too. Our society is unhealthy because it suffers from an obsession with profit, over consumption and materialism. What underlies this obsession is greed, and a society that encourages, manipulates and in the end, depends on greed is a toxic society.
How can happiness flourish in such toxicity, where it is confused with profit and materialism?
Over consumption and over-profiting do not make us over happy, simply because greed and happiness are not a compatible concept. To be greedy means to be unsatisfied with what you are, have or want and how can we be happy when we are constantly unsatisfied?
Unfortunately, the problem does not stop at our dissatisfaction. The way we live not only compromises our happiness, but also the planet, because the planet can meet everybody’s needs but not everybody’s greed. The only way to realize how toxic this lifestyle can be for both our happiness and the planet is to step away from it.
After spending a weekend hiking into the mountains of Snowdonia, away from every single superficial “necessity” and where there was no room left for greed, I realized how good it feels to interact with nature (cliché but true) and how pleasurable water can be. A sense of pure fulfillment comes with our interaction with nature, which has something to do with simplicity. Simple lifestyles surely decrease our everyday stress but most importantly, they allow for balance and balance is what we aim for. Interacting with nature is not only good for us, but for nature too, because by enjoying our benefits provided by nature, we may care more about it, and to care means to protect.
To conclude, for the sake of both our happiness and our planet, we need to change and the only way to get rid of our toxic lifestyle is to simplify.