According to Sandra Meunier, France is the World Champion of pessimism.
Research has shown that despite enjoying a high standard of living, the French are very unhappy and occasionally boastful of their ability to complain. But Sandra Meunier is trying to change that.
As an art therapist, Meunier works in the comfort care departments of hospitals, helping elderly patients and cancer patients who are nearing death. In her inspiring TEDxCannes talk, Meunier told stories of different patients she worked with and how they were able to find happiness. If someone on their deathbed can find joy in life, she asks, why can’t we?
“Happiness is simple,” she said. “It’s joy… and joy, is something you need to practise every day.”
When working with patients Meunier dresses up as a “neztoile”– a clown-like fantasy character trained in creating therapeutic relationships. She has learned how precious life is, and how important it is to live in the moment.
Meunier’s look on life is certainly admirable, but also privileged. Finding happiness can be extremely difficult, especially for those who have depression or anxiety.
Is happiness really as simple as she says it is?