What Is Happiness
Psychologists, theologians, philosophers and even economists have long attempted to define happiness. People have been trying to find out the real definition of happiness for centuries. Since the 1990s, a whole branch of psychology known as “positive psychology” has been focused on pinning down the meaning of happiness as well as propagating it.
According to research, happiness is not brought by bouncing from one joy to another. The term is often used interchangeably with “subjective well-being.” This is because happiness is measured by the level of satisfaction that a person has with his own lives and the degree of positive and negative emotion that he is experiencing.
The 2007 book called “The How of Happiness” by Sonja Lyubomirsky describes happiness as the experience of joy, positive well-being or contentment that comes with a sense that one’s life is worthwhile, meaningful and good.
Money is considered as an important element to achieve happiness although this is only up to a certain point. It can help us to be free from worry by allowing us to afford life’s basic necessities such as food, house and clothing. Other things that influence our level of happiness include genetic makeup, achievements, life circumstances, social relationships, marital status and neighbors.
At times, people see happiness as something that is elusive. This is because there is no exact recipe for it even though we want it so much and many scientific studies had been conducted to help us gain a better understanding of happiness.
Happiness Is Not
Perhaps one of the ways to define happiness is to understand what it is not.
First, happiness is not being rich or being able to afford everything that you want. Money cannot buy happiness. However, if you have a lot of money and you spend it on experiences with other people such as going on some weekend getaways with family or friends, you can achieve a happier state of being.
Next, happiness is not feeling good all the time. According to research, focusing too much on trying to feel good all the time will undermine your ability to feel good at all. This means that no amount of feeling good can be satisfying since those things that you expect at all times are not physically feasible for most people.
Third, happiness should not be treated as a final destination. Remember that it takes regular effort in order to maintain happiness. Most life events such as getting married or being promoted can make us happy but only in the short-term. These things fade over time while we learn to adapt.
Striving to be happy is not just doing the things that give us so much joy. It also revolves around undoing things that make us feel miserable and less happy. There are many things that you should learn how to stop doing if you want to be happier from this day onwards. Perhaps you already know what they are and you just need a friendly reminder.
Have you ever wondered why other people seem happier than you? Do you feel like you’re more successful, more educated and more privileged than anyone else but you still feel less happy? If you answered yes to any, chances are you are causing your own unhappiness. You need to stop doing certain unhealthy habits and focus on things that are more substantial and fulfilling.
Stop comparing. Never use other people’s achievements as a basis to measure your own self-worth. Stop feeling less successful if other people have bigger houses, nice cars, etc. This habit is an instant happiness killer.
Stop validating your self-worth from others. No one has the right to put his judgment on you. There may be people who have heard your stories and believe that they know you well. However, they can’t feel what is really inside you and have no real knowledge of what you are going through. Just forget what they think and what they say about you.
Stop putting off your dreams. It’s true that dreams can be scary. You have no idea how other people would think of it. You are afraid of failing, succeeding and everything else. The best thing that you can do is to make that first step to achieve your dream. There’s no need to wait for a grand opportunity.
Stop criticizing. So you think you are more educated. Perhaps you also think you’re better than anyone else. The truth is, these things don’t make you smarter or more insightful. It’s really just about you and your uniqueness. This uniqueness is found in everyone else, including your subordinates. Remember that everyone is different. No one is better or worse than the other, just different. Learn to appreciate these differences and avoid focusing on the shortcomings.
Stop dwelling in the past. You can never change past mistakes but you can let them go and learn from them. Use your experience as an opportunity to learn something you didn’t know. Likewise, if someone you know makes a mistake, use it as an opportunity to be understanding, forgiving and kind.
Stop pleasing everyone. Just trust yourself and live your life fully. Remember that other people can come and go in your life. Be careful not to fall in the trap of listening blindly to what other people have to say particularly when they are criticizing you.
Stop whining. Don’t waste time whining about your problems. Fix it now and exert an effort to make the situation better.
How Can I Be Happy
Traditionally, happiness has always been deemed as an elusive pursuit. Some people even believe that achieving happiness can be a lifelong chase with little or no assurance of success.
Research shows that happiness is determined by certain factors such as genes (50 percent), circumstances in life (10 percent) and daily activities (40 percent). A sense of happiness is absolutely good for your health.
The good news is you can simply start by first choosing to be happy. Once you have decided that being happy is what you want in life, everything else that would try to hinder its realization will just become a challenge as opposed to being an obstacle.
Build social connections. Studies reveal that building good social connections including one that has the element of romance is an essential key to happiness. When we have someone closest to us such as a person we can confide in and give us authentic support, we should make time for them and nourish the relationship.
Take a rest. Working too much and losing hours of sleep can take a toll not only on your health but also on your level of happiness. A study also revealed that getting another hour of sleep each night puts a greater impact on happiness as compared to getting a salary increase.
Enhance your physical side. It turns out that exercise is also good for the mind. When we perform a physical activity regularly, it results to a multitude of benefits such as increased happiness and self-esteem and reduced stress and anxiety. It can also help in lifting symptoms of depression.
Be more thankful. Knowing how to count our blessings and doing it regularly can be a very powerful tool in achieving happiness. Start by keeping a gratitude journal and by writing a “gratitude letter” to someone who you have always wanted to thank for anything but haven’t really done it properly.
Connect with nature. People who enjoy spending time in nature such as those who like to go hiking, fishing, camping or any nature-based activities tend to experience life satisfaction, vitality and positive emotions more easily.
Learn to forgive and forget. When we dwell on our past mistakes and how we hated ourselves for committing those mistakes, we are also blocking our chance to feel good and happy. As humans, it’s all right to feel hurt and endure some pain but we should also learn how to overcome all of these negative thoughts and feelings so we can appreciate more of the good things that life can offer.
Push beyond your comfort zone. Research suggests that we can be more productive when we go beyond our comfort zone. Learn to take risks and become more resilient. Challenge yourself and develop the skills of adaptability and flexibility in handling unforeseen changes.
Practice mindfulness. When we savor every moment and become more aware of our feelings, thoughts and external circumstances, we can become happier and enjoy greater satisfaction in life.
Show kindness. When we do nice things for others, whether for someone we know or a random stranger, our brains tend to glow in areas connected with reward and pleasure.
Invest by buying social experiences. Learn to spend your money wisely. Instead of keeping up with the latest trend in fashion and gadgets, go on a vacation with the people that matter to you.
Hang out with successful people. These people are some of the happiest people on earth. They tend to radiate positivity and inspiration to the people around them. Learn their secret of achieving success and find out how you can apply the same in your life.