What is Happiness
Of course there are textbook definitions of happiness, which we absolutely need in order to really wrap our heads around this whole thing. And I’ll give you that in a second, but what I truly want for you, is to give you a full fledge association with every spectrum of the word and its’ associations. So then what is happiness?
Which comes with the scientific approach, and the metaphysical as well.
Happiness by the webster definition is – a noun
- The quality or state of being happy.
- good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy.
- : the state of being happy
- : an experience that makes you happy
With the textbook definition out there – I can tell you, there is much more to being happy and gaining happiness which you may have experienced once in your life.
The experience may give you insight into how a textbook definition is useless and cannot be put into words, yet keep reading so we can both come to a conclusion about this.
You see, we usually feel a fleeting emotion of happiness when it just happens. Through a set of emotions and feelings within the body. Joy, satisfaction, pride, and gratitude are just some to note.
Yet in order to understand the reason we feel these emotions, there had to first be some definition.
Researchers use the term in many different ways. One being “subjectively well or subjective well-being.” As a means of making them believe in self happiness.
In other words, it refers to how folks “experience the quality of their lives, with positive emotions and judgements.”
Yet, you may have felt like happiness is watching your child do what he/she loves, or when you first hold them.
Maybe when you first get married and the bells and whistles are ringing.
Regardless, there are plenty of physical feelings ways which we cannot truly explain – but we will most certainly try.
Like accomplishing your diploma when someone doubts your every move. Keeping hardened focus on your goal and achieving the seemingly impossible.
But don’t mistake those feelings for a moment of satisfaction, or pleasure. They are moments to cherish forever and should be noted, but there is more to a living a life of happiness.
One researcher and psychologist, Sonja Lyubomirsky says this about happiness:
“The experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile”
Happiness is, in most cases, when your life fulfills your needs and are content with everything going on.
When you feel fulfilled and satisfied, or enlightened. It takes time to find your meaning, but it is possible.
Pure bliss and enlightenment are not as hard to find compared to keeping it. There is a spectrum of emotions from depression, to pure happiness. It is up to you to find and maintain the feeling as much as possible.
Can You Study Happiness?
Researchers believe you can actually study happiness and the pursuit of happiness to some key elements.
According to Martin Seligman, happiness has three dimensions: 1) Pleasure and Gratification 2) Strength and Virtues 3) Meaning and
Purpose. Which he refers to as “The Pleasant Life, The Good Life, and The Meaningful Life”
The first dimension, The Pleasant Life, is all about dealing with your past and accepting yourself with positive energy and emotions. Making peace with yourself. Then being present and happy in the moment. Getting rid of negative emotions and being optimistic about the future.
Also dealing with gratification of everything. Understanding what you have in a positive light.
The second dimension (The Good Life), comes the engagement, which can be linked to actually living a good life. Which deals with work, family, hobbies and such.
Apparently good character is linked to high happiness levels. Specifically there were 6 virtues linked to the highest levels of happiness around the world. They are:
- Wisdom and Knowledge
- Love and Humanity
- Spirituality and Transcendence
Seligman believes that strength is the main reason these virtues lead to happier lives. The strengthening of these virtues vs inherent talent leads to better lives. For example most people believe painting and art to be within the artist from birth. But if someone practices and strengthens their artistry without any “talents” inherited from birth, would make him happier and more content.
Using your strengths and virtues daily will help you build “abundant gratification and authentic happiness”
There are happiness surveys to look up on his website.
The third dimension, Meaning and Purpose, refers to using our greater abilities to contribute to a much larger purpose in our lives. Using the strengths and virtues and much larger scale than just one person’s life. Helping and giving your virtues and strengths to more and more people to enrich their lives.
To a degree of so much happiness of others, you forget about your own happiness.
Seligman believes all three dimensions are very important, yet meaning and engagement are the true factors of happiness.
Now, researchers also study the day to day measurement of happiness. As if to be happy on a daily basis means exactly what we think about in the moment. Versus the past, when referencing memories.
So, if you had a good day – we would question if we are happy people, or living a happy life.
Daniel Kehnemen, a Psychologist goes deeper into the this difference. Especially “experiencing self” (in the now) vs “remembering self” (past). Regardless there are continuous studies for both in order to get deep into the psyche of daily occurrences leading to a happy life.
What Happiness Is Not
Apparently there are tons of misconceptions when it coming to being happy or becoming happy. This usually makes us think we’re happy, when in all reality we are just feeling a simple rush of endorphins in most cases.
Having a fun party, great sex, or even the companionship at times. These experiences are all well and should be appreciated, but to think it comes from happiness may leave you high and dry.
Don’t mistake pleasures for true happiness.
Chasing pleasure will leave you wanting more each time. You will adapt to feeling of those external pleasures if you find them often.
This being said…
Importance Of Being Happy
There happens to be many reasons to actually be happy. If for any reason you need to get yourself out of a rut, here we’ll get into why it will help in every part of your life. Even some you may not have ever thought of.
On average, happier people tend to be more social and likable, live more fulfilled than others, have better experiences and, of course, have higher salaries. Overall it seems like happier people are more successful in life than unhappy folks.
But why should we even bother with being happy? Why is it important? Should it be a priority? Through my research, I’ve found it very important to pursue happiness. Not only for yourself, but for your children friends family and anyone you’ve ever cared about.
Happiness broadens your mind to opportunities and keeps you flexible to the problems that may come about.
Health and Happiness
It’s been known that people who live happier are also a bit healthier than the average nay sayer. If for any reason, your health is a very important part of your life to take care of, then I’d consider thinking about becoming a little bit happier at least.
Maintaining happiness on a regular basis gives you more energy to do those physical activities you’d dread if you normally are filled with dread and despair. Also, you’ll be more likely to live longer and have a lower chance of getting sick.
Did you know that laughter is the biggest stress relief you can have. There’s a saying “We don’t stop laughing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop laughing.”
There are many connections with happiness and health, such as strengthened immune systems, joint pains, and longer living.
Now, anyone could argue that getting over a disease, or actually eating well is the cause of becoming happy – but there are some studies about the direct connection with health and happiness.
Family Living and Happiness
Your family loves you, despite what may have happened. With your new found happiness, you’ll attract a stronger deeper connection with those you love. The get togethers will be filled with your joy instead of depression and disappointment.
When you can radiate with happiness, you bring the best out in your family. There are exceptions of course, we are human, but for the most
part – you’ll become a strong pillar in your family colosseum.
Just like you can sense the unhappy vibes a family member may have – they can sense it within you. If you’ve ever been asked “what’s wrong?” Even when you’re just going about your day, then you know what I mean.
It can be toxic to those who love you the most. Even if you don’t mean to have others feel bad, it will radiate.
But like I said earlier, your joyful happiness can inspire and affect your family in a great way as well.
And remember to never let anyone take those feelings away from you. No one can make you feel sad, angry or miserable without your permission. Don’t give it, and you’ll reap the rewards and satisfaction of true happiness.
Finances Relating to Happiness
The law of attraction isn’t just a crap chute. There is some weird validity towards getting more in sync with your financial situation.
With a happier outlook on life, you’ll gravitate towards more productive activities naturally.
Maybe by asking yourself better questions such as “how can I solve this issue?” or not thinking in negatives like “wow, my life sucks” all the time.
There are plenty of studies and theories around happier employees are more productive. Productivity can lead to initiative and higher salary wages.
Regardless, you’ll be on a path to more wealth because of your hardcore beliefs in your emotions and feelings towards life. If you are focused on becoming better, you will move closer to the outcome you want.
The key is to be deadly serious about changing your life. If you’re broke and only focus on how broke you are, then nothing will change.
But if you focus on becoming better with vivid images, and ask yourself how to make things happen – you’ll have a better happier future.
It’s nothing to shake a stick at.
Giving Is Better Than Receiving (You’ve heard it before, I’m sure…)
If you’ve ever felt the satisfaction of giving, you know how great the feeling is. The joy of helping someone in need, or watching their face light up when you know you’ve helped them.
It just feels so good.
Being happy brings more thoughts of contribution to those you probably never thought of before. Those friends and family members close to you who’ve done so much for you, but have taken for granted – up until now of course.
You’ll have a chance to really give yourself happiness by helping others out. So in essence, you’re giving yourself inner peace and a dose of happiness with every giving act.
It could be wishy washy, if you don’t care. But if you’re here looking to find out ways to become happier, this one point could be a huge milestone for you.
Along with your health being overall better, a large part of staying healthy is keeping stress levels down. Stress will make you age at twice the normal rate.
Everyone around will ask if you’re feeling alright. The grey hairs will come faster, the bags will shine more and you’ll look 50 when you’re 40, or 40 when you’re 30.
Stress can truly take a toll on your health. In a 2005 study participants were supposed to rate their happiness levels 30 times per day. Then 3 years later they had to test again their happiness levels. The happier folks had lower heart rates and blood pressure than the more stressed.
Relieving stress is a great way to consider starting your pursuit of happiness. Stress can kill you faster than almost anything. The same study showed high stress levels are linked to increased cortisol levels. The happier participants had 12% higher blood clotting protein as well.
Excessive blood clotting can lead to stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, and much more.
Being happy and living a happier life can and will alleviate these things.
Misconceptions Of Happiness
I can’t change my happiness
Unfortunately research has proved otherwise. You can in fact, change your perception of happiness, and have it work in your favor – If you so choose.
Folks with hard life situations can become happier than those who have all the riches in the land. Our happiness level is determined by our own choices and actions. Which you have full control over.
Think about your thoughts on a bird taking a poop on your head. There are two ways to think about it. Become angry about the dirt and disgust around the fecal matter on your head, then mope around telling folks about this horrible disaster.
Or, you can say – “well that was hilarious” clean it off and appreciate the fact that you’re alive to experience funny things like that. Maybe how a bird has to scrounge for food and feed it’s young with scraps just to survive.
When you can just head down to the store and pick up some fruits that were farmed for your convenience.
Perspective can help changing your happiness.
Find out what the research talks about here
Happy Folks aren’t very bright
Apparently there are folks who believe this stereotype, of happy people not being so bright. Again, this is absolutely false. There is no relationship between intelligence and happiness.
The older you get, the more miserable you become
Contrary to popular belief the “miserable old man” joke is not usually true either. Reports show, as we get older the level of happiness increases depending on many variables.
FOr example, life understanding and appreciation. Circumstances greater than normal, companionship and other forces.
Apparently younger folks experience a higher percentage of negative emotions like anxiety, shame, and anger. As we get older, those feelings seem to fade away.
Only money can make you happy
Yes, money can buy a lot of things, but it’s not the only factor which contributes to your happiness level.
There is a common theme the rich folks tell the up and comers. “If you’re not happy broke, you won’t be if you’ve got money either”
It’s true, after having secured your basic needs such as: food, shelter and water (being above poverty) the difference of happiness is totally up to you.
Whether you appreciate life or have a miserable outlook has nothing to do with it. Although folks with more money are the slightest bit happier than average (due to buying time)
Folks who win the lottery get a huge rush initially, but as you may have heard many times over, fall right back into the pit of despair they once were in.
Those with more money get more satisfaction from earning and giving away than just relentless spending.
I’ll be happy when I can just….
It’s easy to look at the future and believe you’ll be happy when you get there. Yet there is a huge problem there, because chances are you’re not on the path to achieving that goal.
People naturally aren’t very good at predicting how “happy” they’ll be in the future, which is why we are surprised after anticipating an event of some kind – and fall short or it simply doesn’t turn out to be how we “envisioned” it
But we are very good at adapting to change when the time comes. So even if we become happier in the moment, we tend to revert back to the old happiness levels.
Essentially, happier people tend to really enjoy the journey getting to the “happy place” creating the experience and positive emotions on the way.
It’s the journey which provides the true experience, not the end goal.
People who try to be happier with themselves are just selfish
Well, I’m sorry to burst that bubble, but becoming happy is the best thing you can possibly do for yourself and others.
Happier folks radiate their good vibes to everyone in the room. Usually by not focusing on the negatives of life and their own selfish problems. They strive to be strong with positive emotions like: forgiveness, gratitude, etc.
All without letting outside forces knock them off the horse.
The Keys To Being Happy
Self acceptance – Understand that your past does not equal your future. You can forgive yourself and accept yourself for exactly who you are.
It’s okay and you’ll be fine. The key here is to have some peace with yourself because nobody is perfect and that’s what makes you who you are. Your uniqueness comes with the flaws.
Once you can accept yourself, then you can move forward and dominate in your life.
Mind control – If you’re the type to get lost in your own head, this may be keeping you from really finding your true power.
Your mind is a very powerful thing, but if there is no control over it – you’ll destroy your every existence by listening to what it tells you.
The doubts, fears, misunderstandings, conclusions, and false assumptions are all made up from the mind.
Ever hear the expression, “you are your own worst enemy?” Well, now you know why. You will get in your way a LOT more often than anyone else will.
And this is why – a high priority key is to work on controlling your wandering thoughts and mind to achieve a higher happiness level. Don’t let it control you.
Gratitude – If anything at all makes you smile, you have something to be grateful for. Understand why you have a glimmer of hope and what keeps you going in the morning when you may think it be impossible to keep going.
This key is essential to being happy and humble. Being grateful will remind us why bonding together can make us great.
Hope and understanding – Although the wandering mind could be detrimental to your growth, there is another type of mind control which can help you move forward.
Knowing there is a better way out there. Finding what will work for you, being change of location, or just greener pastures. If you have hope for something better, you will strive to get closer.
Remember, things will get better – if you allow it.
Be present – This is a hard concept to grasp, but is very important to finding true happiness.
The notion that there is no future when you are living right now seems odd. For a second, just think. You’re reading this now, not in the past or the future.
So that means you’re present. You’re experiencing the now.
If you wander off into the future, or dwelling on the past – it is literally impossible for you to appreciate anything going on at the moment.
In whatever situation you’re in, be there and experience all it has to offer and appreciate every second good or bad. The more you understand this principle, the better you’ll have at increasing your happiness level.