Today, there’s a lot of talk about happiness and the search for happiness. It seems that everyone is after this thing called ‘happiness’. Some people believe that material goods will give them happiness, or perhaps high status will make them happy. Perhaps fame is what’s needed for happiness. And yet, some people appear to have it all – and they’re still unhappy.
There’s no universal agreed definition of happiness. When researchers have asked people what makes them happy, their answers have been as unique as they are as individuals – there are commonalities, but happiness as an emotional state is different for everyone.
The challenge – How to Find Happiness
Because we’ve been socialized to believe it’s something that’s hard to achieve – and possibly fleeting – we might be discouraged about working on our definition of happiness. We might buy into this idea that we can’t really ever achieve true happiness.
To meet this challenge it’s worth looking at what other people say about their happiness – and how they achieve it.
Ben, a 45 year old married man says, ‘I’m happiest when I’m at home in my garden. I love getting my hands into the soil and feeling the earth. It’s very energizing yet grounding and keeps me going during the week when things go wrong at work or in life in general.‘
Renee, a 30 year old single woman says, ‘I get real happiness from a deep sense of peace I feel when I’ve done a meditation session. I also get a lot from prayer. Meditation and prayer help me in my everyday life – things become less stressful and I seem to have fewer problems and have more solutions to things.’
Dean, a 50 year old divorced man says, ‘I get a lot of happiness from playing the piano. It makes me feel light and easy and it’s a private pleasure that nobody can take away from me. Playing the piano s few times a week helps me see life better.’
Irina, a 52 year old married woman says, ‘ For me, happiness is being able to do the things I love. I love long walks and I love tapestry. My grandmother taught me and every time I sit down with my tapestry I feel a connection to her and a real sense of calm.’
As you can see, these comments differ in their definitions of happiness. But there are some common features.
Some basic ingredients of happiness
- a sense of personal worth
- a sense of purpose
- a feeling of calm
- a feeling of energy
- a sense of hopefulness
- forward motion
Achieving happiness – develop your state of mind
Achieving happiness is a state of mind because it requires you to discover what really matters to you – and to set an intention to do those things that matter.
Happiness as a state of mind involves:
- setting an intention
- pursuing a direction or passion
- connecting at the deepest level to heart, mind and soul
You can read more about how to eliminate stress and achieve calm in Stress-less: Your guide to better living.
Begin to achieve your happiness state of mind now by reflecting on:
- what is happiness for me?
- when am I at my happiest?
By reflecting on these questions, you’ll work out for yourself what happiness means to you and by recollecting previous experiences of happiness, you’ll empower yourself in the knowledge that you can achieve a state of happiness.
Bio: Zita Weber, Ph.D. is an author and honorary academic, and has worked as a counselor and therapist with individuals, couples and families. She has researched and written about communication, relationships, sexuality, depression and loss and grief. More information about her work and books can be found at: http://zitaweber.com.
Picture: Camdiluv ♥