Cultural Variants In Health And Happiness

1220 words - 5 pages

As people, we tend to be products of our culture. This is very much the case for me. I have been shaped and molded by the outside influences that surround me. I have recently noticed that my American cultural views are very different from other cultures and that perhaps my view may not be the best. In fact, there may not be a best culture or view in life.
This semester we have heard multiple lectures which centered on the Chinese or Daoist cultures, which have multiple similarities and are in many facets built on each other. In the lecture about Daoism, Dr. Ronnie Littlejohn, spoke of transcendent bodies and concentrated mainly on qi (Littlejohn). While Dr. Yuan-ling Chao’s lecture about Chinese medicine was about maintaining balance by avoiding the extreme aspects of life (Chao). Happiness in both cases is found through balancing all aspects of life, including: temperature, diet and emotions (Smith). We also heard a lecture titled “Health and Happiness: Reducing Stress,” which covered how to manage stress in the American culture and ended up going slightly off topic into the prevalence of academic enhancement substances in college (Foss, Gebert and Asbury). These lectures showed me, in vivid detail, the differences between the mindset the American culture and Chinese culture.
Across the globe there are noticeable differences in cultures. Chinese cultural beliefs on happiness stem mainly from the three main religious views in the country. These beliefs promote living a balanced life style in which everything from meals to emotions are in balance leads to a happy individual. In China, illness stems from imbalance; and is essentially the root of all problems in a person’s life (Lu and Gilmour). While most people in China hold the same beliefs, this is not true in the United States. America is often referred to as “the melting pot.” This is due to the large amount of migration into the United States creating a wide variety of cultural influences that have created a culture of its own that can vary from state to state and person to person (Zimmermann). American culture, despite the beauty of such diversity, has some draw backs. As nation, we are amongst the least healthy in the world with an alarmingly high percentage of obesity. This could very well be a byproduct of our culture. As for other aspects of our culture, American’s tend to be very motivated in life with goals that are often success and wealth oriented. These goals are focused on the individual person; however, Chinese people tend to be focused on the community and family. They look to each other for support throughout their lives and this is where the achievements that Chinese people strive for is oriented around (Lu and Gilmour).
Despite the differences, each culture has its own way for people to strive to find happiness. Each way must also have some basis because neither country is void of happy and healthy people. This brings the question to mind, how can...

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