PHARRELL Williams sings about it. Will Smith is in a movie about it. Philosophers debate it. Writers write about it. Advertisers tell us we will be it if we buy their products.
And, yeah, we all want to be it.
When we leave something in our lives, whether it is a place, a job or relationship, often we say that it is because we are not feeling ‘happy’. Ultimately, happiness is what we want.
This begs the questions, what is the happiness we all seek, and how can we get it?
My idea of happiness is different from your idea of happiness. I love going to work, exercising and going out for dinner with friends. In fact, sitting here writing this article makes me happy.The people I love are well and I have my cat asleep in his spot next to my desk. So in this very moment, I am pretty damn happy. But to other people, my little moment of happiness here wouldn’t cut it (particularly, if you’re no cat fan).
So what does happiness mean to you as an individual? And once you are happy, how does that impact you and the world?
Have a think about it; think about your mood when you are feeling good. How do you act? How do you feel? What are you doing in your life when you are feeling like this? What effect does you being happy have on other people around you? You will find that that there is a formula there for your own personal happiness.
What makes us happy is subjective. We all have a different happiness currency, and contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t always come from external pleasures. Some of the happiest people on Earth live in the most impoverished places. This demonstrates that happiness may come from something internal.
Happiness is not always something we have to keep chasing and pursuing in the outside world, but which perhaps resides inside of us, like an inner pilot light. It has been there the whole time, we just didn’t notice.
So thinking more about your own happiness; going beyond the usual ‘stuff’ you think will make you happy (Hawaii holiday, Porsche and whatever else you have your eye on) perhaps is the way to go. Before you roll your eyes at me (I know what you are thinking), these external pleasures are all fabulous, and we deserve them sometimes, and this makes us happy, but really the happiness gush that comes from them is not always sustainable. Don’t tell me that after previous purchases your initial endorphin rush doesn’t wear off quickly before you are off sniffing for another new path to making yourself happy.
American psychologist Martin Seligman believes that humans are happier through: pleasure (eating nice food, taking a warm bath); engagement (participating and engaging in a pleasurable activity; relationships (having social ties that you are a part of); meaning (belonging to something bigger than yourself) and accomplishments (having achieved tangible goals).
Other ingredients from other perspectives also site helping others, having peak experiences and having the desire for others to be happy. Ask yourself whether you are doing any of these.
Being happy makes you feel psychologically and physically well.
So it’s well worth the effort into finding out what makes you it, and then putting the time in to get you feeling it. The flow on effect of your own internal happiness is going to be creating happiness in others. When you are happy you are more likely to be a better ‘you’ in every role you have. Whether it be husband, wife, friend, lover, father, mother, child, grandparent, worker or carer.
Find what makes you happy, and start trying to be it.