Communication and Happiness
Dr Jonathan Haverkampf
Communication is a basic function of life. But there are many misconceptions about communication, often because of misunderstandings of what communication really does. Communication by itself did not build the pyramids or makes someone buy an article in your shop. However, it is a process that can provide people with a necessary tool to be successful and happy in life. ‘Success’ essentially means living according to one’s values and doing the things one is interested in and enjoys. This makes happy.
Maximum extroversion is not always a desirable goal of social interactions, nor is becoming an expert in reading body language. Important is the exchange of meaningful messages, the information that brings about a change, if only tiny, in the recipient. The better one becomes at communicating, the more one sees in the world and the better one can make oneself understood. This often requires eliminating the things that are unhelpful or even a hindrance to communicating in a constructive and successful way.
Happiness is a state in which you are in optimal contact with yourself and your environment. For many people this sounds like an idyllic yet unreachable point. Our busy lives leave little room for reflection and experimenting. However, to prevent burnout and various mental health problems it is important to learn to better communicate with oneself and the world around.
Communication should not be regarded as an end, but as a process that enables one to bring about happiness, whether this is through internal communication or by bringing about a meaningful change in the world around us. Happiness comes about when we feel ‘in sync’ with ourselves and the world around us, whether in a peaceful spot of nature, in front of a crowded auditorium or in a quiet moment with one’s partner. Since we spend much of our time communicating with others and ourselves, happiness depends very much on how we communicate.
The quality of one’s communication with oneself and other depends on many factors, but it helps to acknowledge that it is at its core a very simple process, the sending and receiving of meaningful messages. Essentially we communicate through a filter of our past experiences and our present state. More precisely, we form connections between the present and past experiences and then use this information to encode the message we want to send to another person and decode the messages we receive. For our happiness and our success, we depend on other people, to do it effectively we need to find out how past experiences rather than our values, interests and aspirations color our interaction with the world.
© Dr Christian Jonathan Haverkampf. All rights reserved.
Psychotherapy & Counselling, Communication, Medicine (Psychiatry); Dublin, Ireland
This article is solely a basis for academic discussion and no medical advice can be given in this article, nor should anything herein be construed as advice. Always consult a professional if you believe you might suffer from a physical or mental health condition.