lunes, 21 de mayo de 2012

Quality of life may not be what you think

By: Fernando Guízar Pimentel

Even though there are several definitions and meanings of the term “quality of life”, widely understood as the average healthcare, cost of living, and climate of a region or country, my own take on the issue includes some other concerns.  The popular conception of quality of life as described above is heavily influenced by the political discourse, which shows a tendency to equate infrastructure and economy with welfare. They are certainly crucial factors , but in no way are they decisive to measure the quality of life enjoyed by individuals and societies. An indicator such as personal happiness should be taken into account because it showcases authentic well-being.
To engage in a debate to determine what is happiness would be futile; there are as many definitions of happiness as there are persons and social groups. Nevertheless, a balanced state of mind is characterized by systematic pleasant emotions and  sensations of well-being, which are almost the same traits that most people would use to define happiness. The wide range of detonators of well-being include hanging out with friends to watch a film or enjoying a tasty meal. Even if happiness or other positive mental states are widely considered to be relative and subjective, it is arguable that quality of life is closely tied to them.
The Western worldview lead people to think quality of life should be seek in public facilities. For instance, Sweden and  Denmark are nations usually classified as providers of the best quality of life to their respective inhabitants who, paradoxically, suffer from the highest rate of depressive disorders.  The Eastern perspective, by contrast, holds that happiness is not to be found elsewhere except within ourselves
Among the many practices that may help to achieve a greater well-being are contemplative disciplines of oriental tradition, such as yoga and mindfulness, which encourage us to stay calmed to listen to our inner voice, completely ignoring the American right to pursue happiness; by raising our minds to a higher state of consciousness, we are enabled to be reached by it.