Concepts of happiness 幸福的概念

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幸福是什麼?研究認為,在西方文化中,個人的愉悅感是公認的幸福定義。而在東亞文化中,人們傾向於將社會和諧視為幸福。在非洲和印度的一些地區,幸福感更多地與共享體驗和家庭相連接。本集內容討論人們對幸福的追求,以及人們可以在何處找到幸福。

Vocabulary:  human characteristics 詞彙: 人類特性

How are you feeling today? Our emotions can vary considerably depending on many factors, including our health, wealth, relationships and where we live. But sometimes we need to take a step back and think about what happiness really means and how we can find it.

Maybe we should take a leaf out of Finland’s book – last year the UN’s World Happiness Report found the country to be the happiest place on Earth. The report looked at ‘subjective well-being’. That’s how happy people feel they are and why – based on factors such as, economic strength, social support, life expectancy, freedom of choice, generosity, and perceived corruption.

This is just one way of measuring happiness. Research has also suggested that while personal feelings of pleasure are the accepted definition of happiness in Western cultures, East Asian cultures tend to see happiness as social harmony, and in some parts of Africa and India it’s more about shared experiences and family.

Author and journalist Helen Russell has been looking at the positive characteristics of a country’s population to see what makes them happy and found Japan to be one of the most content. She told the BBC that this was due to their concept of wabi-sabi – “this traditional Japanese concept around celebrating imperfection… it’s this idea that there is a beauty in ageing, it’s to be celebrated rather than trying to disguise it.” So, basically, we should be happy with who we are and rejoice in our faults and individuality. That’s something to put a smile on our faces!

But if you’re feeling down in the dumps because your home country doesn’t have a happiness concept to follow, consider some self-help ideas that the BBC programme Hacking Happiness has been looking into. These include being virtuous, finding something to be passionate about, enjoying the here and now and being altruistic – helping others.

However, our pursuit of happiness could make us miserable as we try to meet society’s expectations and goals, making us anxious and stressed. Also, having too little experience of negative emotions can make us less adept at facing new challenges.

詞彙表

take a leaf out of someone’s book 效仿(某人/物),向…學習
well-being 幸福
generosity 慷慨,寬宏大量
pleasure 歡樂
social harmony 社會和諧
content 滿足的
concept 觀念
imperfection 缺點,弱點
ageing 變老,衰老
fault 弱點,缺點
individuality 個人特徵,特質
down in the dumps 情緒低落,鬱悶、不高興
virtuous 品德高尚的
to be passionate about 對…喜愛的、充滿激情的
altruistic 利他的
miserable 痛苦的
anxious 焦慮的,不安的
adept 遊刃有餘的

測驗與練習

1.  閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. Which organisation found Finland to be the happiest country on Earth in 2018?

2. According to some research, what provides most happiness in East Asian cultures?

3. According to a traditional Japanese concept of happiness, why is ageing a good thing?

4. True or false? Anxiety and stress can actually make us happy.

5. Which word used in the article is a synonym for ‘celebrate’?

2.  請在不參考課文的情況下完成下列練習。選擇一個意思合適的單詞填入句子的空格處。

1. I can’t believe my brother’s _________ – he’s paid for us all to go on holiday to France.
pleasure    generosity    well-being    imperfection

2. You should __________ out of your sister’s book. She does all her homework on time and then she can go out and enjoy herself!
leaf taker    taken a leaf    take a leaf    take a book

3. I’ve always tried to lead a ________ life by not drinking alcohol or smoking.
miserable    virtuous    adept    well-being

4. It’s no surprise he’s feeling __________ – he’s lost his job and can’t find another one.
dumped    down at the dump    dumped and down    down in the dumps

5. It’s great to have her working in customer services because she’s very _________ at dealing with complaints!
adept    anxious    altruistic    miserable

答案

1.  閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. Which organisation found Finland to be the happiest country on Earth in 2018?
The United Nations’ (UN) World Happiness Report found the country to be the happiest place on Earth.

2. According to some research, what provides most happiness in East Asian cultures?
Research found East Asian cultures tend to think of happiness as social harmony.

3. According to a traditional Japanese concept of happiness, why is ageing a good thing?
Wabi-sabi is a concept that celebrates ageing because having imperfections is a good and natural thing.

4.True or false? Anxiety and stress can actually make us happy.
False. Our pursuit of happiness could make us miserable as we try to meet society’s expectations and goals, making us anxious and stressed.

5. Which word used in the article is a synonym for ‘celebrate’?
Rejoice. It means to celebrate something in a happy way. (“We should be happy with who we are and rejoice in our faults and individuality.”)

2.  請在不參考課文的情況下完成下列練習。選擇一個意思合適的單詞填入句子的空格處。

1. I can’t believe my brother’s generosity – he’s paid for us all to go on holiday to France.

2. You should take a leaf out of your sister’s book. She does all her homework on time and then she can go out and enjoy herself!

3. I’ve always tried to lead a virtuous life by not drinking alcohol or smoking.

4. It’s no surprise he’s feeling down in the dumps – he’s lost his job and can’t find another one.

5. It’s great to have her working in customer services because she’s very adept at dealing with complaints!