Sunshine and Happiness

Released in 1963, Lesley Gore released a song called “Sunshine, Lollipop, and Rainbows”. In this song, she states that these three things are what she feels when she is with her significant other. Therefore, the phrase “sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows” is synonymous with the term Happy! But there is there any truth to these lyrics? Can sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows make you feel happy? While the jury is still out of lollipops and rainbows, the truth of the matter is that sunshine (or the vitamin that our bodies create from sunlight) can indeed make you happy!

Well, that’s also not entirely true either. Vitamin D deficiency (when your body doesn’t make enough vitamin D) can cause depression. There have been several studies that show that in the winter people become more depressed because their bodies are not able to produce enough Vitamin D. Therefore, scientists believe that the converse is true. If you are feeling depressed, stepping outside into the sunlight, or eating vitamin D enriched foods can improve your mood. Vitamin D is also used to help regulate cell growth, maintains the immune system and protects bones.

For those who are fair skinned, we do not expect you to stand outside and get sunburnt because I don’t think that would make you happy. All it takes is 10 minutes a day of sunlight to help ensure that you are making enough Vitamin D. And for those who are just adamant against sunlight eating things like eggs, salmon, swordfish, mushrooms, and milk can help boost your Vitamin D as well.

So the next time you listen to Lesley Gore on the oldies music station, just remember that when she sings about sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, she’s singing about how happy she is!

What is Happy According to Religion

For many people in this world, the idea of happiness is a rather simple concept in theory. Most of the time, it involves doing things or being in positions that make us feel good. Some of us associate happiness with having a good job that allows us to provide for a family. Some of us think about traveling the world and experiencing exotic cultures. Some of us are happy just being able to bring others to that state through means such as community service and volunteering. And while these are all viable options of achieving happiness, it doesn’t really answer the question of what happiness exactly is. Is it as simple as just being in a state of well-being that is the polar opposite of being in an undesirable state? Can it be characterized or quantified? Is it even real, or is the entire effect just a placebo to stave off something else?

From a religious standpoint, the idea of achieving happiness seems to have deep roots in ethical concerns and, as St. Thomas Aquinas states, “an operation of the speculative intellect.” More simply, a contemplation of what are considered divine matters. Many religions believe that true happiness does not necessarily occur for the self, but rather through the self in acts of outward kindness and the betterment of circumstances for those around him or her. This is why ethics seems to play a crucial role in religions and spiritual beliefs such as Confucianism.

In many religions, happiness – true happiness – is not something to be attained be in the mortal world. Rather, there are those who might say that the struggle for happiness is a life-long endeavor, because true happiness is only attainable in the afterlife – Heaven, as many religions call it, particularly Christianity, Judaism and Islam. All of these religions offer specific aims in life, ways for those faithful to them to live and to treat others. The ideal for all of these is the effort of appealing to God, receiving judgment at the time of our deaths and to be found worthy of entering Heaven.

For other religions such as Buddhism, happiness is a matter of “settling karmic debt.” Buddhism encourages following a code of guidelines known as the Noble Eightfold Path – some may this is similar to the structure of something like the Ten Commandments in Christianity. However, Buddhism also places emphasis on the concept of rebirth, a concept that usually leaves many people confused as some differentiate it from reincarnation. The general goal of rebirth in Buddhism is to attain a state known as Nirvana – complete freedom from desire, jealousy and ignorance. It is described as a state of pure contentment and understanding.

The common thread in many of these religions is that, while being happy does exist in the realm of mortal lives and while many may interpret happiness as a state of mind, true happiness as far as many religions seem to define it or its ability to be attained is with service, compassion and understanding toward a divine power and outwardly to others. In some cases, such as Buddhism specifically, this sort of attained happiness – or peace or bliss – can take several lifetimes to achieve. When this state is finally reached, the necessity of death and rebirth no longer exists, and one knows true happiness as an end state.

TV Characters Who Were Just TOO Happy

Yes, sometimes you’re watching your favorite TV show or movie masterpiece and there’s one character that just grates on your nerves. Not because that character is actually poorly written, not because you actually love to hate or hate to love them, but because they just won’t stop smiling. How can that be realistic? What is he hiding? Sometimes, you just want that character to see the more miserable side of the world. Of course, that never happens. These TV characters were way too happy for whatever reason and cruel reality never got anywhere near them.

We’ll start with the barest, most obscure memories. Do you remember the Sidler on Seinfeld? He was that guy–always smiling–who would sneak up on Elaine without really meaning to, and it bothered her so much that she ended up giving him a case of tic-tacs to carry around as a sort of alarm system. When she told him the reason for the tic-tacs was his bad breath, he didn’t get the slightest bit offended. He smiled, said thanks, and they went on their way. Naturally, Elaine got tired of the sound of tic-tacs.

Maybe we should explore the darker side of things. Even on a drama about a serial killer like “Dexter,” there had to be one character who always had a smile on his face. Look no further than Masuka, the lead forensics investigator. Sure, most of his smiles–and they were endless–came to light after a crude sexual innuendo or terrible joke, but the show definitely needed him for some well-placed comic relief.

You probably won’t be too surprised by these others. Happy the dwarf deserves a spot on this list. I mean, when your very name is “Happy,” what choice do you really have? He was the guy who always smiled and always saw the best in everyone, and he was the guy who didn’t know how to frown. Sure he was a cartoon character, but who cares? Happy represents a good life lesson for the rest of us. No matter how bad things get, there are still things that matter all around us–and we should focus more on those.

Then again, Baloo from The Jungle Book might top even Happy the dwarf. This guy knew how to have a good time even when the world was chaos all around him and his little friend. With a positive outlook and the right way of looking at even the worst of situations, you never know what the powers-that-be might have in store for you next. Baloo epitomized this philosophical viewpoint, and maybe we should try to be more like him.

Who did you think was just too happy to be on TV?