if you're happy and you know it - take this survey / by Esaf Commitee

Agnes Török

Tell me a bit about your show?

It’s essentially a show that I premiered at this year's Fringe Festival and it won a couple of awards. This is the first time I am performing outside the Fringe. It's a spoken word show about happiness. I am a student at Edinburgh University and what I have just finished doing is my research on is happiness and well being. Especially how people can deal with crisis or trauma and come out the other side and dealing with it in the best way possible. Partly from personal experience and partly from the science behind it. It is a funny and light show but it also touches on some serious topics. There’s quite a bit of politics in there as well. It is a one hour show with me and a couple of big pictures of drawings I have done with sketch figures and stick figures. It’s based on a longer version of a TED Talk I did.

So where did this idea come from?

Well I started studying the etymology of happiness and I really liked it so I decided to spend 2015 living according to current happiness research. When I got the opportunity to do a TED Talk it kind of became this test run. That sounds exciting can you tell me a bit more about the TED Talk you did? Yeah it was a lot of fun actually! It was at St Andrews and I was invited as an outside guest. It’s been up on YouTube for a couple of months now and it's been doing quite well. Essentially it was me trying to summarise what I have learned from studying happiness but in chat and poetry. It is light and engaging and I come up with key points as to what I think are the key things we can learn about happiness. One of them is to think of happiness as resilience. We build happiness to deal with the bad times, not something we have when everything is perfect.

So what do you think the core fundamentals of happiness are?

I think a big part of it is recognising that happiness is not perfection. Happiness is not everything being great all the time and there being no difficulties because no one has that. Another big part of happiness is surrounding yourself with people who allow yourself to ask for help when things aren't easy and getting some daily habits in that make you able to to appreciate what is good for me. That's been stuff like writing poetry and writing art, for other people it might be something else. Having regular things that make you stop and appreciate what there is and gather the strength that you need to deal with things that aren't quite right.

Do you think happiness is a constant or something that comes and goes?

I think happiness is sort of a scale which means that part of it is always there most parts of your life are usually good, you know? Most of us don’t realise that we have aspects of our life that we should be happy about. We have our health or we have people that care about us. These are good things that we can be happy for but there can be other aspects of our lives that can be really hard and challenging and make us not particularly happy. I think some aspects of happiness are always there.