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Why We Need Pain To Experience Happiness

February 2018Words by Mr Ashley Clarke

Photographs courtesy of Penguin

Our day-to-day lives have never been easier. We’re living in an age where you can have food delivered to your door, order a taxi within seconds, and shop for things without ever having to interact with another soul. But it’s questionable whether any of the stuff we think ought to be making us happier actually does – social media is making us miserable, while the painkiller and anti-depressants market continues to grow rapidly.

What’s more, we tend to associate happiness with success, and unhappiness with failure, not taking into account that nobody – not even those grinning faces in the unrelenting spool of your Instagram feed – can be happy all of the time. Our warped sense of what happiness actually means is something that Mr Brock Bastian tackles in his new book, The Other Side of Happiness. Mr Bastian, a social psychologist specialising in happiness, pain, morality, and how these things work together, picks apart the ways we think about being happy in contemporary society. We spoke to Mr Bastian, who told us why we’ve got happiness all wrong and how we can change our outlook on failure and pain.