What is Real Happiness
“Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling” the words of Margaret Lee Runbeck. Happiness, a subjective concept itself, is the goal of every human being. It is a feeling. It is an emotion. It is a state of mind that revolves around contentment. Mentioned by the Oxford learners dictionary happiness is defined as “the state of feeling or showing pleasure”. The idea of happiness is different for many people, but the only path that leads to true happiness lies within a person rather than what they hold in their hands or boast in their lives. Happiness is much more.
In the world today it seems that we have lost the true meaning of happiness. Often, we tend to contemplate on what makes us happy because we live in a world where we are constantly taught to seek for more. The media around us influences our happiness. It dictates how to act, speak and dress while disregarding a person’s true happiness. Ideally, one should try to apprehend what cultivates happiness and how to manifest it in their own life. Sonja Lyubomirsky and other researchers have identified some basic keys to happiness. They have discovered the importance of “building relationships, pursuing happiness indirectly, giving thanks and not focusing on material wealth” to reaching the all desired happiness.
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To be yourself is to be happy; however, the love of your family and friends can bring happiness and the best out of you. The great relationships that you have with whomever is something that you must embrace. If you surround yourself with people who love you, the love will come back to you. Happiness does not come from grand glorious moments, it comes from the day you decide that you will be happy no matter what the day brings you. You are going to make the most of it. Happiness is doing things the you naturally enjoy. Instead of constantly tracking how you feel, it is important to take what life brings you. Happiness is being thankful for what you have and reminding yourself that someone else is happy with less than what you have.
According to research “people who keep “gratitude journals” feel more optimism and greater satisfaction with their lives” (Lyubomirsky). Keeping track of your blessings is an excellent way to obtain a healthy well-being. Lastly, understanding that true happiness cannot be bought. Although possessing an innumerable amount of wealth may seem desirable to satisfy one’s emotions, it is not the sole determinant to happiness. Materialistic things are very much like drugs, once you buy that expensive thing it will give you happiness but, it’s a fleeting happiness. It’s a happiness that goes away after a while then you would have to seek for something else to bring you back to that level of happiness.
In the book “the art of happiness” the authors give an example how a friend has retired at an early age due to the company being bought for a large sum of money. The woman states that “after [she] got over all the excitement of making all that money, things kinda returned to normal” (Bstan-‘dzinrgyamtsho and Howard C. Cutler.). This comes to show how money, a man-made creation, has a way of distracting what’s important in life and cannot change your overall mental state of mind. Individual happiness and well-being should not be influenced by money or things, but by a positive mindset and a healthy lifestyle. Happiness is almost entirely mindfulness, not something you get from external things but, simply living your life.
Furthermore, happiness is different for everyone because people come from different backgrounds and cultures. Happiness is not just a state of mind. Happiness is not determined by what occurs around you, but rather what happens inside of you. Aristotle claims “happiness as a central purpose of human life and a goal in itself” (Park). Happiness is the goal for mankind. People often associate happiness with health. Happiness can instantaneously shift our mood, shift our perspective and allow us to find the joy that were looking for. In general happiness can bring positive life events. Because happiness is related to “better social relationships, intelligence, optimism, physical health, and creativity” (Seligman) they lead to greater successes down the line. The benefits of happiness are endless. Happiness is when you feel right with the world, not when you are discontent with your life. When you are happy you are easily motivated to accomplish things. When suffering from depression or anxiety it can be difficult to accomplish your goals. Being happy is not easy; however, getting through difficult times is what makes happiness difficult to obtain. Being content and grateful for everything you have in your life will create happiness in your life. Remind yourself that a benefit of happiness is happiness itself.
Sustaining happiness can be a difficult task because life is a rollercoaster. Unfortunate events may occur that will kick you down; however, keeping positive will allow you to maintain happiness of the situation. Artist Pharrell Williams sings in his song called “Happy” about how happy he is, and how nothing is going to defeat that. The singer sings “Here come bad news, talking this and that (Yeah!) by demonstrating how life is not easy and things will happen that might bring you down. Williams continues with “Well, give me all you got, don’t hold it back (Yeah!) No offense to you, don’t waste your time, here’s why because I’m happy…”. In tough times, it can feel impossible to be positive or optimistic; however, maintaining a positive outlook on life will remind you that there is light and happiness at the end of the tunnel. In the article “How to teach happiness”, professor Laurie Santos course on happiness has a major effect on the students. One of the students stated that “it was acknowledged at the beginning that you can’t drastically change your life… it’s essentially going to be a lifelong journey” (McBain) to happiness since that is the course being taken. Therefore, professor Santos was able to effectively educate her students to understanding that there is always going to be something that would make one unhappy in life.
Experiencing hardships will implement strength through every rough situation and it will allow one to acknowledge that life is characterized by contrast. Happiness comes with being unhappy and being able to get back up and strive towards a positive outlook on life. As we know now, emotions are not what we truly are, we are not looking to feel happy were looking to be happy. Choosing the bright side of every situation makes you stress less about the small stuff, leads you to greater opportunities, and helps you reach moments of true happiness.
Additionally, happiness comes with giving yourself a choice to be happy. When seeking for a goal in life you would do your best to attain it right? Well according to Dan Gilbert’s happiness TED talk he states, “It turns out that freedom- the ability to make up your mind and change your mind- is the friend of natural happiness, because it allows you to choose among all those delicious futures and find the one that you would most enjoy”. Happiness is all about yourself. It is about giving yourself options and going with what makes you happy. Happiness is not doing something that does not suit yourself, it is putting yourself first to remain feeling good. From the time of early English settlement in America, the government was expected to provide protection to Americans from “invaders” such as Indians. During the time, “Happiness was construed as personal freedom, especially freedom from outside intrusion” (Kaminski).
The government negotiated with the natives to suit the needs of the people and settle happiness. Happiness is being comfortable and at peace with your surroundings and yourself. Everybody wants to feel free, empowered and good. Freedom and empowerment are the key to happiness. Happiness depends on you. Freedom is happiness because one is allotted choices that allow you to be happy. Happiness is personal experiences and life lessons. Happiness is not chance it’s a choice. Freedom brings happiness because it allows for self-expression. Freedom is peace of mind and no constraints on our self-expression and happiness.
Choosing and making the right decisions will bring contentment and freedom from worrying. Having freedom allows for a person to be able to live life the way they wish, to be able to make their own decisions and to be different in pursuance of happiness. Being captivated to somethings does not truly represent happiness. Happiness is letting go of distress and being content with what you have. Happiness is being free physically and psychologically. True happiness comes from freedom, doing what you want and being able to have comfort.
Additionally, happiness is something we can all have. Real happiness is never found outside of us, it is not found in possessions or wealth either. It lurks within us. Therefore, it is important to remember that things happen for a reason. The greatest measure of success that you receive will be the level of happiness you feel consistently. Not money, not cars, not materialistic things.
As you go live, changes may occur in life that will lead to anxiety, depression, sadness and frustration; however, training your mind to look on the bright side will allow you to stay happy. Happiness is being content with all the emotions life brings. Staying content and mindful as you endure certain circumstances that cause dismay to your heart will allow you to achieve happiness as the result. Happiness varies between different people. It is key to deem on the fact that happiness depends on yourself and your outlook on life. Happiness comes easy to those who are willing to work hard for it.
Given these points, we come to think what is happiness? Essentially, the meaning of happiness is determined by your own mindset. We each have this feeling, state, or mind of what happiness is individually. We experience happiness throughout life no matter the circumstances. Overall, our life’s purpose is to search for what fulfills our contentment. Happiness does not depend on anything or anyone. Happiness could be anything, sometimes it is a laugh or a person. Happiness is an essential thing in life that one experiences internally. As a human being, you should be able to embrace who you truly are and give out positivity because ultimately the happiness will come back to you.