On the 23rd of December, I was fortunate to attend Busan’s annual Happiness Insight Conference as a youth speaker. ‘Happiness’ is an incredibly broad term, one that is difficult to be defined, as it is valued and determined according to unique individual perspectives. The conference, however, aimed to incorporate a range of these perspectives to perpetuate the discussion on what it means to be happy, especially in a world that is dynamic and rapidly changing.
In December, this discourse was initiated by Robert Waldinger, the director of a Harvard study that is evaluating what truly makes people happy. The study began eighty-three years ago and it’s most notable participant is John F. Kennedy. Dr Waldinger shared that the greatest indication of happiness is the quality of the relationships we maintain with those around us. Other notable speakers included Mr Jai-Chul Choi, former ambassador to Denmark, and neuroscientist Dr Dong-seon Chang, who shared the biochemical effects of happiness in the brain. I was personally part of a presentation and panel discussion that focused on ‘Generation Z’s Perspective on Happiness’. Myself and two others shared our views on what happiness means to us and what factors influence our happiness the most. My presentation focused on the tumultuous year that was 2020, and the immense impact community and connectedness can have on wellbeing. Isolation and loneliness are the factors that have proved to be most detrimental to my personal happiness, and I reflected on how joining the BFS community, in particular, has altered and improved this.
Overall, participating in the conference was a pleasure and an honour. It allowed me to truly reflect on how community and support enable us to thrive, even when presented with the most daunting of challenges.
By Anna Schier (Grade 11)