Are Nigerians really the happiest people or are we just good at masking our feelings and emotions?

I have been away from this platform for too long. Way too long! And this has given me time to think about why I started blogging in the first place. In the process I got into a conversation with a colleague and somehow, we got talking about emotions and how people respond to their peculiar circumstances. As the conversation progressed, I was reminded about a lot of the thoughts I hold dear. Some of these thoughts I have shared on this platform in the past. So I pleaded with her to please put her perspective in pen and paper so that others can learn from it. So today’s post is brought to you by Kofoworola Bada.

They say Nigerians are the happiest people in the world. Well that was some years ago, I don’t know if the statistics will still be the same. However, I doubt that Nigerians were or are really the happiest people in the world. 

What is our definition of happy? Is it just going about smiling? Is it the ability to laugh easily? Is it absent of complains? Many people are just managing to get by under so much stress, economic downturn, unending traffic gridlock, incessant power outage, to say the least. Many Nigerians are walking on the street today looking perfectly happy and perfectly okay, but in reality, how many of them are truly happy and perfectly okay?

Stress is a major factor that many people tend to overlook and in the long run can lead to a mental breakdown. Different people have different coping mechanisms for stress but it gets to a point where your coping mechanism may become ineffective. That is why sometimes you hear of something ridiculous that someone did and you can’t just understand because the person looked happy and okay to you. If looking happy and smiling was all there was to truly being happy, someone like Robin Williams wouldn’t have committed suicide. But Robin Williams is not my focus today, besides he’s not a Nigerian.

A lot of Nigerians commit suicide that we don’t get to hear or read about and if you ask their family members or people who were close to them, they probably didn’t exhibit any symptom of being unhappy or being depressed or being mentally stressed out. When people have a mental breakdown, it’s not something that just occurred out of the blues, it’s a process. Little by little, their coping mechanisms begin to wear out and before you know it, there’s a major breakdown or display of emotions to the extreme.

When mental health is mentioned in Nigeria, a lot of people don’t want to be associated with that topic because in our own understanding, mental health is synonymous with insanity. But that is what a lack of knowledge can cause. And because people are good at masking how they really feel for personal reasons, nobody really knows if the situation is one that requires urgent attention.

We need to be on the lookout for people around us. For instance, if you have someone who’s constantly moody and gets to snap easily at every little thing, that might be a sign of a bigger issue the person is dealing with. Even someone that is constantly happy and laughing and smiling may be dealing with a bigger issue that needs some digging to unravel.
So are Nigerians really the happiest people or are we just good at masking our feelings and emotions? We need to be able to identify our emotions and realise when it’s tending towards the extreme. That’s where emotional intelligence comes in.


About Kofoworola Bada


Kofoworola Bada is a Nigerian woman with a passion for adding value to lives and wants to make her country a better place. She is the initiator and coordinator of the English Dictionary Project (EDP); an initiative under Inspiring the Future Initiative, that reaches out to students in Public Secondary Schools to help them have access to personal dictionaries.
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