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American vs Asian Happiness Essay

Americans associate feelings of happiness with personal achievement, the Asian associate those feelings with an entire society’s harmony. Asian people feel emotion less often than Americans. Asians tended to rate their emotional events as more neutral than Americans rated theirs. Overall, Americans were more likely to see their experiences as “somewhat pleasant.” Asians respondents more often have mixed emotions in “predominantly pleasant situations” than Americans do. One reason suggested in the paper is that Asians seem to define advancement of social harmony as more worthy than mere individual success. Positive emotions are less important to Asian-born Asians than to Americans. The American dream is all about happiness, not careers or material goods, and it’s within reach. That bright-eyed view comes from teenagers on the cusp of independence and their own pursuit of happiness as adults. growing numbers of Americans are unhappy, unhealthy, and increasingly pessimistic. At the same time, there are some distinct differences between them and between other Asian and American accounts.

For example, the Asians seem more solemn and introspective, with more emphasis on spiritual cultivation and psychological transcendence. American’s seemed more uplifting, elated, exciting, and show more emphasis on enjoying life in the physical sense and present time. Asians appear to desire a more balanced life, with social expectations finely integrated into their sense of well-being. American’s appear to want personal happiness as the supreme value of life, and blatantly assert individual agency against social restrictions. Happiness is a dominant concern for most Americans indeed the American Declaration of Independence proclaims that the pursuit of happiness is an inalienable right of every individual. Happiness is not only the best reward for personal striving and hard work, as the ‘American dream’’ presents, it is also given many positive associations. For example, Americans believe that happy people are more likely to go to Heaven after death.

Happiness is also closely related to health and life satisfaction. The active and explicit pursuit of happiness is one of the best ways of living out an independent personhood, which masters and controls the external environment, identifies and realizes potentials, creates and achieves goals. The Asian perspective individual’s inner attributes, the gratification of personal needs and desires, the amplification of personal achievement, the creation and protection of individual uniqueness are not important concerns: instead, the fulfillment of role obligations in interdependent social relationships, the creation and maintenance of interpersonal harmony, the striving to promote the welfare and prosperity of the family. The Asian culture exhibits a ‘‘habit of hesitation’’ towards happiness. Asians follow the theory of the ancient Yin–Yang philosophy which takes a cosmological view that everything from the cosmos to human life is a never-ending, cyclic process of change, between good and bad, happiness and misery, well-being and ill-being.

Americans view Happiness in regards to money, family, and what can give them the most, Asians to me are more focused on the family and community. We as Americans really just see ourselves as happy when we have more than what our neighbor has, and that we have the perfect job, perfect family, friends are socially accepted. But the truth is even when we are at 100 % full of happiness we are not and the truth to the fact is sometimes we see happiness in our lives and we aren’t. I took a look at my life and realized that even though I am supposed to be happy I am I really? Who really is? In a society like ours where the more we make the more we need the more we want when do we say enough is enough.

My Asian friends are happy all the time they are happy with their lives because they are taught that it’s not the material it’s what you release into the world, and what you make with the information you have, spreading the world and paying it forward is what they are about and that and family bring them job, they are happy with the little things and that is what makes them happy and fulfilled with life. Asian culture engulfs the beliefs that the world is their gift and they are one with the world and what they offer to it and take from it are to be shared, and this is taught in their culture from when they are young. In contrast to us Americans that the more we have the more we want.

References:
Positive Psychology, by Steve R. Baumgardner and Marie K. Crothers. Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright c 2009 by Pearson Education, inc http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-sachs/america-and-the-pursuit-o_b_941870.html http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/The_Scientific_Pursuit_of_Happiness.html http://healthland.time.com/2011/05/04/why-happiness-isnt-always-good-asians-vs-americans/ http://jweinb2.wordpress.com/category/east-asian-cultures-share-similar-views-on-happiness/ http://www.adambohannon.org/crosscultural-differences-happiness-east-west/

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