choosing happiness (it’s as important now as it ever is)

choosing happiness (it’s as important now as it ever is)

via Psychology Today by Kristen Fuller

  • How many times have you told yourself, “I just want to be happy?”
  • There is a plethora of research about the science of happiness, and results conclude that each one of us can work towards the goal of happiness. But what does it exactly mean to “be happy?”
  • Is happiness a fleeting emotion or a state of mind?

The word “happy” is an adjective that was derived from the noun “hap,” which means “chance” or “fortune” in most languages. This derivation poses an interesting question: Did our ancestors believe that happiness was mainly a byproduct of luck?

The present-day definition of happiness refers to a feeling that relates to contentment and satisfaction. Happiness is a state and not a trait, meaning that it is not a long-lasting or ingrained permanent feature but rather a changeable state depending on our mindset, environment, and circumstances. 

Happiness vs. pleasure

Although happiness is not necessarily ingrained or a permanent state, it does differ from pleasure, which is more visceral, an “in the moment” feeling. As humans, we take pleasure in sensory-based feelings such as physical touch, eating a good meal, or receiving a compliment. Happiness is more stable than pleasure as feelings of happiness usually stay around longer than a few moments. Pleasure can come and go in seconds. Also, we may experience moments of pleasure when we are unhappy. For example, we can be extraordinarily stressed but indulge in pleasurable activities that can bring us moments of hedonistic escape. Pleasure can contribute to happiness, and happiness can enhance or deepen feelings of pleasure, but the two can also be completely mutually exclusive.

What creates happiness?

Have you ever come across someone who always seems to be happy? Have you ever wondered how this person is always happy, regardless of the current state of society? There are a few ingredients that contribute to happiness and although it is not necessary to have all of them, having at least one of these ingredients while working towards another can lead to a state of happiness:

  • Individual income (up to about USD 75,000 a year)
  • Physical health
  • Employment
  • Experience of positive emotions
  • Social relationships
  • Moral values
  • Family
  • Basic access to safety and social equality

Can you choose to be happy?

The simple answer is, YES. We can achieve a state of happiness by working towards improving the status of each of these ingredients above. For example, you can work on obtaining a higher salary or seeking a job that brings you innate satisfaction and purpose, on improving your physical health by exercising and eating whole foods, and on building stronger relationships with your friends, family, and community…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE