What is Happiness?

A Serious Series About Happiness
Exploring the Determinants, Benefits, Measurements, Myths and Formulas for a Happy Life 

For a long time I have been exploring the Science of Happiness – absorbing the information faster than a kid eating cake on his birthday. Because of this, I am really excited to be able to share this information with you in a series of blogs that explore the determinants, benefits, measurements, myths and formulas for a happy life. Part 1 of “A Serious Series About Happiness” will explore what happiness is and common misconceptions or happiness myths. 

 

Part 1: What is Happiness?

We all want to be happy – happiness is a word we throw the word around like a hot potato but rarely do we stop and think about what it actually means.

Happiness has been promulgated by the media and manipulated by advertising companies for so long that we can barely tell the difference between authentic happiness and happiness myths anymore.

Scientists across the globe have dedicated their entire careers to exploring the science of happiness and it's and it's all good news!

Happiness involves the subjective culmination of two things

  1. The experience of positive emotion like joy, love, pride, hope, contentment, interest, compassion, fulfilment, gratitude, inspiration and awe
  2. Having a sense of satisfaction about your life and how you are progressing towards your life goals.

Positive emotion and life satisfaction are rarely given the same time or energy as the pursuit of pleasure. The pursuit of pleasure is what motivates us to eat that bar of chocolate or  investigate if we are eligible for an iPhone upgrade, even when we know our current model is perfectly OK. Pleasure is often tied to a thing and it is things that offer limited (if anything at all) positive emotion or life satisfaction. 

In a similar vein, we often label the folks who immerse themselves in their work or hobbies and exhibit little emotion as depressed. This assumption is nothing short of false-a-roo. Flow and meaning are genuine paths to life satisfaction and result in loads of positive emotions.

 

The problem is that we associate pleasure with happiness to the detriment of all other positive emotions and life satisfaction.  

 

Happiness Misconceptions

In spite of the happiness definition outlined above we still believe all the hype falsely created and promoted by the media, society and commerce. Happiness myths that tell us

  • I’ll be happy when I am married
  • I'll be happy when I get the dream job
  • I'll be happy when I have children
  • I will never be happy until I am rich and successful
  • I will be happy when I get a new car 
  • I will be happy after I lose weight 

Happiness is not something that you have or don't have, it’s not something that can be found and it’s not related to our circumstances.  

Once you realise what true happiness is (and isn’t) it is possible to develop happy habits and make choices that will create life long happiness. 

Happiness takes work but it's about the journey and not the destination, right?.

Part 2 of "A Serious Series About Happiness" will explore what determines happiness, and how you can take control of your happiness !

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