Count your blessings

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 September, 2009, 12:00am

Hongkongers live long, healthy lives and are generally financially secure.

Despite everything we have, our sense of well-being is often quite low.

This should not be the case when we compare ourselves to others. Think about, for example, the low literacy rate on remote parts of the mainland, the dire malnutrition in Laos, the serious poverty in Ethiopia or the war in Iraq. We are aware of these situations, but not affected by them.

And yet we still don't seem very happy.

Well-being is an abstract idea - it comes from appreciating what you have and realising how lucky you are. It is internal - just because you're rich, you won't necessarily be happy. Someone with just enough money for food and clothes but who is satisfied with their life can be very happy.

Look at your life and realise how lucky you are - and your sense of well-being will increase.

Sherman Wong

From the Editor

Many religions tell us to thank God for what we have. Very few people do this because they think it's a waste of time, and they believe their lives are pretty miserable anyway. But many philosophers believe happiness starts with wanting what you have.

A person in an impoverished country experiences joy and satisfaction just by obtaining let's say fresh fruit. But for us, it is nothing special. We know if we want fresh fruit, we just have to get it from the supermarket. So our capacity to experience joy is undermined by our circumstances.

The best way to counteract this is to express our thanks to God or our parents every day for the lives that we lead, and we will begin to appreciate it more.

Susan, Editor