This article was co-authored by Nicole Becker and Ashlynne Pomerich, staff writers for the In LFHS section of The Forest Scout.
Happiness is a complex thing, it’s not just a smile, or laugh, but rather a state of mind. Happiness to most people means living a good life filled with meaning and satisfaction.
Usually, in order to feel happy you need to meet basic needs so that one doesn’t have to worry about food, shelter, or clothing. Most Lake Forest High School Students meet all their basic needs and then some, so they question the idea of buying happiness through material items Research shows that once a household exceeds a salary of $75,000, one’s marginal happiness actually declines. Being too spoiled can lower your happiness because if you get everything you want all of the time, it can undermine the little things.
Also, if one does not struggle than they will never be able to fully appreciate the good times. So, does this make some Lake Forest households more unhappy, or does living in such a privileged an affluent community make LFHS students happier than most?
Research shows that a lot of happiness comes from personal control, so some LFHS students told us what little pleasures make them happy. Here are some quotes from students we talked to:
“Friends, food, Netflix, and music brings me happiness.” Sydney Guest
“Good grades, the first bite of food when I’m really hungry, and achieving a goal.” Brigid Brennan
“Coffee, hugs, comfy clothes, hot showers, warm weather, a perfectly cooked over easy egg, a good sweat, a compliment, satisfaction, and reconciling with friends.” Elly Larson
“Cold pillows, the smell of grass, rain on the asphalt, full ice cream tub, glossy lake, hiking, sleeping, and skiing.” Kallin Hermann
“Kansas basketball winning, intramural basketball, and flag football.” Luca Fontanini
“Friends, when I have no commitments, food, working out, video games, sports, and music.” Rory Robb
“Friends, family, and sports.” Christophe Wetterman
“Dogs, food, warm weather, and friends.” Hannah Jones
“Food, being alone, and exercising sometimes.” Natalie Allen
“Friends, eating, and having time.” Jessica Zarek
“Friends, donuts, sleep, pasta, and sunshine.” Adele O’Neill
There are also many factors that can get in the way of feeling like our best selves that can make us appreciate our happiness even more. Here are some examples of things that ruin these people’s happiness:
“School, and nightmares.” Kallin Hermann
“Homework.” Christopher Wetterman
“Negative people, and cold weather.” Hannah Jones
“Ignorant people, high school peakers, self centered people, poverty, existential crises.” Natalie Allen
“Haters, people correcting me.” Jessica Zarek
“Luca, too much hw, the cold.” Adele O’Neill
“Stress, being busy.” Rory Robb
Recently, a survey was sent out that reached every grade level, and overall, most Lake Forest students are, in fact, happy! What was measured within this survey was overall happiness, and we saw trends throughout the survey that contributed to people who said they had higher levels of happiness. Something interesting that was noticed is that most happy people had medium to high levels of stress, had an average of 1-3 hours of homework a night, did 1 or 2 sports, and workout more than 6 hours every week.
This was found to be compelling considering happier people had more rigorous schedules, were focusing on self-improvement, and do things on a daily basis that make them feel successful—even if hard work needs to be put in. These people also reported that they don’t restrict themselves to what they eat; or, they usually eat healthy but treat themselves and eat the foods they crave in moderation.
Music is also considered to be a huge factor, and the most common music listened to is country, hip-hop/rap, and pop. Psychology studies show that listening to music and being happy actually relate, being a way to facilitate social connections and be an outlet for our emotions. Happier people also donate time to hanging out with their friends. 2-3 times per week was the most common answer given when asked how many days people hang out with their friends. Our research shows that overall students roam the halls with roughly 67% of the student body rating their body image 7 or higher out of 10.
Link to survey results: https://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-CBPHFDM3/