What is happiness?
Do we want to be happy?
Do we know what makes us happy?
The dictionary defines Happiness as that feeling that comes over us when we know life is good and we can't help but smile. It's the opposite of sadness. Happiness is a sense of well-being, joy, or contentment. When people are successful, or safe, or lucky, they feel happiness.
It is a well-researched topic and many benefits of good health and longevity are believed to be linked to happiness. Interestingly, studies seem to indicate that happiness plateaus after certain level of financial achievement. Many studies also indicate the below characteristics exhibited by happy people –
Satisfying Social Connections
Looking at the bright side
Having a meaning and Purpose in life
Adequate rest and physical activity
But again, what is happiness?
Is it objective or subjective?
Is happiness the absence of sadness? Or do both co-exist?
Is it in small joys or the big moments?
Is remembered happiness more cherished as compared to current happiness?
Are there levels of happiness – is it the same in small and easy to achieve tasks vs big but difficult to get tasks?
Is it a goal or it comes from achieving ones goals?
Is it defined by our genes or is it an attitude that one can cultivate?
Can we influence it or is it defined by the environment we are in?
Is it in being selfish (doing things for oneself) or in selflessness (doing things for others)
Is it fleeting or everlasting? Or somewhere in the middle?
Is it in keeping control or giving it up?
Can one be worried and happy at the same time?
Is Happiness in the journey or the destination?
As you see I don’t have the answers. Like most emotions, it’s complicated. If we are able to look inward and better understand ourselves, I am sure we will know what makes us happy. In my case I have come to realise that I cherish the time spent in misery to achieve something that gives me happiness rather than doing things that give happy moments now but create dissonance later (eating sweets and not working out, binge watching, procrastinating on an important task etc).
So what makes you happy? Go figure.