What is Happiness?
The better question would be what is your definition of happiness? It’s clear that it can have a different meaning for each of us. There is no simple, one-size-fits-all answer to what makes us happy. Research indicates that a happy person is someone who experiences frequent positive emotions, and infrequently (though not absent), negative emotions. Happiness is also related to life satisfaction.
It’s important to note that positive emotions do not omit the absence of negative ones. A "happy person" experiences a spectrum of emotions just like anybody else, but the frequency of which they experience the negative ones may differ. It could also be that "a happy person" doesn’t experience as much negative emotion because they process it differently. In fact, using the phrase "happy person" is probably not entirely accurate because it assumes that they are naturally happy or that positive things happen to them more often. Nobody is immune to life's stresses, but the question is whether you see them as obstacles or opportunity.
Regardless of where you are on the happiness scale, each person has their own way of defining happiness.
In my opinion, it is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy life that makes happiness.
In fact, the happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.
Happy people focus on what they have whereas unhappy people focus on what’s missing or what they lack.
When you meet an authentically happy person, their eyes seem to be alive (full of light), they smile and laugh a lot and they exude an aura of warm energy that bounces off them in every direction.
You feel their energy ‘rub off’ on you, which makes you feel great when you are with them and lifts your spirits. In fact, just as a person who is sad can affect us negatively, happiness can also be contagious.
The environment in which we grow up in during our formative years clearly has a bearing on our idea of happiness. Our family, teachers, and friends all have an influence on our belief system. Many of which are presented to us as their truth which we then adopt until such a time that we recognise that we have a set of beliefs that don’t belong to us and essentially don’t feel right. At this point, we challenge them and reintroduce beliefs that are more empowering and serve us in a much more positive way.
So if we were lucky to be born into a nurturing, calm environment where we are loved and provided for, supported, stimulated and taught positive beliefs and values, there is a strong likelihood that we will grow up to be happy.
Similarly, if we grow up in an unhappy, unstable environment it is likely that we may grow up having to work at being happy or learn to define a new version of happiness.
Whatever the circumstances of childhood, it is possible to unlearn unhelpful patterns of behaviour and learn how to be happy. Sometimes, it is as simple as making the decision - “I am happy”.
Through personal development programmes you can create new habits. It is generally quite simple but it’s not always easy and requires consistent, persistent work. A gym membership doesn’t get you the body you want - you have to take action by going and working out. The same is true of retraining the mind.
Life can deal us some tough blows, but they don’t have to define us. Many of us have learnt to stay stuck in what has happened to us in the past, but, so long as you are prepared to take action, take charge of your life, stop blaming other people and situations, you can change your life.
You are solely responsible for how you choose to feel.
If you have any questions, please get in touch.