"Happiness is the exercise of vital powers, along lines of excellence, in a life affording them scope."
I'm beginning to think that what we call "happiness" is a modern invention, something along the lines of marriage for love (uncommon until the Industrial Revolution). When you are starving, hungry, living in fear of war, disease, plague, revolution, crime can you really be happy? Maybe content that you are living a good life providing for a family, sure, but happy? Very, and I mean VERY recently, humans were one step from the grave. A broken bone meant that you did not work and if you did not work you starved; in the extreme case your family starved along with you. Women had ten kids... only to bury 6 of them on average before they hit puberty. Old people were rare, but they did exist, only they were for the most part invalids unless they were born into wealth and lived a wealthy lifestyle. Polio, measles, smallpox? All gone in my lifetime! Chickenpox vaccine is only 15 years old or so now and the pox used to be deadly and kill thousands.
We live soft lives of comfort, for the most part. Even people in poverty live better than we did even 50 years ago. Only the worst of the worst off live in danger of disease, the elements, malnutrition etc. Major wars that kill percentages of people in a country are no longer a thing in the industrialized world (Ukraine may have a claim on the exception). But for the last 100,000 or so years, we lived on the edge of death and danger. Our brains are wired for that fight or flight reflex. When that reflex, when that environment stops existing, how does the brain react? We've been removed from the danger for about 100 or so years, only four generations. The hardware is not caught up with the software.
When I see the people who are not "happy" for a better word, I also see people complaining about boredom. The people who don't complain about being happy are the people who DO SHIT. They teach, they build, they create, they innovate, they work toward a goal. Can you imagine someone 150-200 years ago complaining about being bored? Yea, I can't see that either. Maybe, and this is a pure anecdotal speculation, that "happy" means movement. People who start exercising have better mood and less depression
I'm happy in my life. Could things be better? Fuck yea they could be. I have several long term goals, I'm involved in charities, I do things. I work at a job that fulfills me. I am not at all bored. Is that why I am happy? I think I had a point in here, but it is late and I rambled. Sorry.