What is Happiness?
Everyone wants to be happy. Everyone has experienced happiness at different times in their lives and knows what it feels like to be happy. It is an emotion to be strived for. But what is happiness?
Each person’s definition of happiness is different. Each individual has an idea of what they feel they need in order to be happy. However, there are others who have everything they need in life but are still unhappy.
A happy person enjoys life. They are a magnet drawing others in and are pleasant to be around. They have a contagious smile. They most often have something nice to say or a helping hand to offer. A happy person carries a positive psychology, encouraging others around. Their lives are a reflection of goodness.
True happiness comes from within. It is how we feel about ourselves. It is not
conditional, based on money, status, or materialistic possessions. Happiness is something we all choose to experience. It is feeling of contentment and joy that titillates the body from within and exudes to the outside.
You don’t need to wait for some event to take place in your life to find happiness. Finding true happiness begins with gaining control over your thoughts. Remember, your thoughts ultimately decide your actions. By changing the way you think you can make you happier than you’ve ever been in your life. Your negative thoughts attract negative emotions and unhappiness. Your positive thoughts attract positive emotions and happiness.
The Comparison Trap Repels Happiness
As humans, we place conditions on our happiness. We carry the thought that when we have achieved _______ we will be happy. Then we finally get what we want but the happiness is short-lived. You compare your life and circumstances with others and in no time you feel unhappy again. This is a trap we are all guilty of. Happiness runs away from this kind of mentality. It is a common trap and one we must stay clear of it.
Happiness is contentment! If you are content with your life each step of the way, you will achieve happiness each day of your life. True you have your ambitions and goals you aspire to. You may want more money, a better job, or a nicer house. But does that mean you have to wait until you have achieved these things in order to be happy? No!
When working to achieve your goals in life, you must be able to enjoy your efforts and hard work each step of the way and find the happiness within. However, if you perpetually compare yourselves with others and what they have achieved you will never be able to find the happiness in whatever you do. Your efforts will always seem futile. You will feel as if you are making little progress. You will become dejected and unhappiness sets in.
If this is your strategy in life, you will very seldom find happiness because as soon as you have achieved one goal, there will be someone else you can find to compare your life with. It will be impossible to find anything meaningful in what you do. You lose patience and become desperate to find that instant gratification. Remember, success is a journey. Nothing happens overnight. So enjoy each step of the way and find happiness in each stride of the journey.
If you are truly in the pursuit of happiness, you have to remove the conditions you place on your happiness. You have to avoid the comparison trap. You must begin to see your life in an optimistic light. You must give yourself credit for your efforts. And if you feel your efforts are not gaining ground, seek some direction. We all need assistance from time to time to get us back on target.
Happiness is a Choice!
True, many of us genetically carry a happy disposition. But even the happiest of persons experience sad days. The good news is that we can choose how happy we want to be.
When you feel unhappy, you automatically assume it is due to a lack of something. You immediately begin to desire material things hoping it will fill that void that you feel. Maybe it’s a new car, or a new house, or a new job. You begin to anticipate these things, waiting for your happiness to arrive. When the quick fixes don’t arrive the unhappiness still exists.
The root of the problem stems from a distorted self-perception. The perception you carry of yourself can sabotage any chance you have of happiness. The first step in choosing a life of happiness begins by changing your self-concept.
You must believe you can be happy at whatever stage of life’s journey you are at. When I suffered my stroke at 37, it was a very trying period of my life that made me feel very fearful and sad. The recuperation from brain surgery left me feeling helpless and unhappy. I didn’t know how long my recuperation process would last but I realized I had to do something to bring some joy and happiness back into my life.
I made the decision to work with the impoverished, helping to restore a clinic that was destroyed in an earthquake. My happiness was instantly restored. I felt happy for life and living. I recognized that happiness is a choice and I chose to do something to bring back some joy and happiness to my life. I felt happy for each breath I was able to take. I gave thanks each day for the chance to awake to see my family.
You too can claim your happiness. You too can make that decision to find happiness in your life. No one expects you to be perfect. You are the one that hold yourself to perfection. Find ways to restore peace and joy in your life and observe how much more success you will achieve. Events in your life will flow smoother, relationships will be more meaningful and life will be sweeter.
The sooner you accept that happiness is a choice, and that you can choose to be happy, the sooner you will begin to feel happiness flowing through you. Make that choice today!
How to Choose Happiness
Choosing to be happy is being able to recognize the simple things in life that we can derive happiness from. I am providing this list in hopes that you can look inside your life and recognize the happiness that already exists and how you can bring it out or how to bring more happiness into your life. Here’s how you can choose to be happy.
Having good health – Don’t take your good health for granted. Be happy for the blessings of good health and be good to your body, don’t abuse it. Moderation is the key.
The friends in your life – Cherish the friendships in your life and the happiness they bring. Don’t take your friends for granted. Invite them over for a dinner party or barbeque. Let them see how appreciative you are for having them in your life.
Family – Strengthen the family bonds you have. Your family can bring a lot of happiness to your life. If the bonds are broken, work on mending them.
Meditation – This is a technique you can use to remove the unnecessary clutter and negativity from your thoughts that can cloud your ability to recognize happiness in your life. Clear the cobwebs and learn to think clearly again.
Biofeedback- If you have difficulty in choosing your thoughts, this is a technique you can use to bring more positive thinking in your life. Remember controlling your thoughts and removing negativity can bring you instant happiness.
Feed your spiritual void – When we are spiritually full, we are transcended into another realm of thinking. We discover ways of finding more meaning and happiness in our lives more easily. We dwell on positive things and discard ugly habits such as judgmentalism, criticism, cynicism, bitterness, and strife. These things harbor unhappiness within.
Have a sense of direction – We must have projects, work, something to feel productive about in our lives, or a set of goals that we aspire to. This brings happiness into our lives. The feeling of nonproductivity leaves one feeling useless and unhappy.
Find an emotional connection – Having a meaningful relationship with another person can bring a lot of happiness to our lives. We are social creatures that need to be with others and not always alone. Loneliness breeds unhappiness. To love and be loved is happiness in a bottle.
Avoid conflict – One way to remain happy is to maintain good relationships with people. Whether it is with a coworker, a friend, a family member, or the cashier at the grocery store. When you are hostile to others it has a way of coming back to you like a boomerang. Be patient with the people you encounter and be good to your fellowman. This will bring peace and happiness into your life.
Do for others – When you do kind acts for others it bounces back to you in the form of joy and happiness. No matter how small, go out of your way to do something nice for someone. It pays big happiness dividends.
Be thankful each day – When you wake up each morning give thanks for the wonderful things in your life. Send those sentiments of gratitude out to God or to the universe and watch how much happier you feel throughout your day. We have a tendency as humans to dwell on the negative and see the glass as half empty rather than half full. By giving thanks for all the blessings in your life, big or small, you are allowing more room for happiness to reside.