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The Brutal Truth about Happiness in Modern Society Told in Less Than 5 Minutes

How happy are you with your life and the world around you?

If you’re feeling spiritually drained in today’s society, you’re not alone. After all, we tend to get so caught up in earning a living and keeping up with our spending habits that we can often feel unhappy (1), no matter how much work success or wealth we accrue (2). We may also seek comfort in material things, only to be disappointed when we do not find happiness in materialism.

Just ask internet-famous, UK-based illustrator and animator Steve Cutts, who specializes in sharp, gritty criticism of modern life, materialism, and consumer culture (3). Perhaps best known for producing this quirky 80’s-style Simpsons couch gag (4) and this powerful commentary on mankind’s impact on the environment (5), Cutts has accrued over 50 million views on his insightful and deeply relatable animated works. In his newest viral animated short, Happiness (6), Cutts demands that his audience step back from their busy lives – and reflect upon “consumerism, greed, corruption and ultimately our self-destructiveness” (7).

Watch this thought-provoking piece about happiness for yourself:

The bottom line? The “rat race” will not make you happy. After all, happiness isn’t found in material things – and certainly not in the obsessive pursuit of “true happiness” (8). True happiness comes from taking care of yourself and loving others.

So if you’re in need of a pick-me-up, try these tips for healthier and happier living:

  • Choose fresh, whole, natural foods. Following a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables can improve your mood and increase happiness (9). So reduce your intake of processed foods – and get plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats like coconut oil and avocado every day.
  • Get 30 minutes of exercise every day. Poor health can leave you feeling unhappy (10), whether by a poor diet or a lack of exercise. So try your best to get some exercise every day, even if all you have time for are light exercises and substitutions, like walking to work, chair exercises, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Set aside some time to relax. Taking regular breaks to reduce stress and take care of yourself could make you happier (11). Squeeze in meditation and breathing exercises whenever possible – and aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night (12).
  • Volunteer more often. Practicing kindness and compassion, as well as helping others, can make you feel happier (13, 14). Spare some time to assist your local community – or put more time into helping family and friends in need.
  • Make more time for friends and family. Strengthening your social bonds will help you feel happier and increase your social network (15). Try your best to make time for your loved ones on a regular basis.

In other words, remember to take a break from your hectic schedule every once in a while to make more time for things that really matter in your life. You’ll be glad you did!

Looking for more tips on living happier?

  • Read these 35 pieces of wisdom that take sixty years to learn!
  • Check out the incredible life advice of a 105-year-old doctor on how to live longer and happier!
  • Learn these 8 brutal truths about life that will help get your life together!


Bauer, M., Wilkie, J., Kim, J. and Bodenhausen, G. (2012). Cuing Consumerism. Psychological Science, 23(5), pp.517-523.

Diener, E., Lucas, R. and Scollon, C. (2006). Beyond the hedonic treadmill: Revising the adaptation theory of well-being. American Psychologist, 61(4), pp.305-314.YouTube: Steve Cutts. (2017). 

Steve Cutts. (2017). About. [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 Dec. 2017].

YouTube: Fox Animation. (2017). LA-Z Rider Couch Gag From Guest Animator Steve Cutts | Season 27 | THE SIMPSONS. [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 Dec. 2017].

MAN. [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 Dec. 2017].

YouTube: Steve Cutts. (2017). Happiness. [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 Dec. 2017].

Sharples, G. (2017). Moby Releases Powerful Video for “In This Cold Place”. [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 Dec. 2017].

Mauss, I., Tamir, M., Anderson, C. and Savino, N. (2011). Can seeking happiness make people unhappy? Paradoxical effects of valuing happiness. Emotion, 11(4), pp.807-815.

Lesani, A., Mohammadpoorasl, A., Javadi, M., Esfeh, J. and Fakhari, A. (2016). Eating breakfast, fruit and vegetable intake and their relation with happiness in college students. Eating and Weight Disorders – Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity, 21(4), pp.645-651.

Liu, B., Floud, S., Pirie, K., Green, J., Peto, R. and Beral, V. (2016). Does happiness itself directly affect mortality? The prospective UK Million Women Study. The Lancet, 387(10021), pp.874-881.

Whillans, A., Dunn, E., Smeets, P., Bekkers, R. and Norton, M. (2017). Buying time promotes happiness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(32), pp.8523-8527.

Hirotsu, C., Tufik, S. and Andersen, M. (2015). Interactions between sleep, stress, and metabolism: From physiological to pathological conditions. Sleep Science, 8(3), pp.143-152.

Otake, K., Shimai, S., Tanaka-Matsumi, J., Otsui, K. and Fredrickson, B. (2006). Happy People Become Happier through Kindness: A Counting Kindnesses Intervention. Journal of Happiness Studies, 7(3), pp.361-375.

Kahana, E., Bhatta, T., Lovegreen, L., Kahana, B. and Midlarsky, E. (2013). Altruism, Helping, and Volunteering. Journal of Aging and Health, 25(1), pp.159-187.

Fowler, J. and Christakis, N. (2008). Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network: longitudinal analysis over 20 years in the Framingham Heart Study. BMJ, 337(dec04 2), pp.a2338-a2338.

Image and video sources:

YouTube: Steve Cutts. (2017). Happiness. [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 Dec. 2017].

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