Happiness and Other Survival Techniques: Happiness

This is the third – and best – part from the fantastic exhibition at the Design Museum, Happiness and Other Survival Techniques.

Six-year-old prettiest smile contestants in America. Those are all fake smiles… creepy. Bottom right looks like Britney Spears. People who smile more live longer. And people who smile genuine smiles live even longer. They didn’t say this in the exhibition but happiness makes a difference of nine years to your life expectancy whereas smoking makes a difference of three.

Funeral therapy. Think it will come to England? Think it could be taken seriously? If people could get over how bizarre it is, I think it could work.

That’s what drugs do to you: produce serotonin. Apparently it doesn’t alleviate depression though. We don’t know that much about depression scientifically.

During laughter yoga people go about making funny actions and laughing. Jiten Kohi from India popularised laughing yoga and it’s now practiced globally – there are even monthly groups in North London! If you want to hear a wonderful laugh, do play that last video.

The main thing from this part of the exhibition is that we don’t know much about depression and we’re not surviving it very well. Every three seconds, someone tries to commit suicide in the world. One out of seven succeeds. Drugs sometimes work but they’re not perfect and don’t work for everyone. Brain implants sending electric shocks, stimulating certain parts of the brain, work for 1 out or 4 people (though since it’s a pretty drastic step, only 150 depression sufferers in the world have tried it). Laughing yoga is an interesting and funny idea that does work for some people, and being in love makes you happy too – but they make happy or neutral people happier, they don’t cure depression.

The show has succeeded in raising awareness and bringing to light some funny and interesting facts – but there is still so much work to be done in all three of these areas. It appals me to find out about some living conditions in the world. We’re such a wealthy country – we need to give our help.

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