Happiness is something we all want – but what is it? And how do we feel it more often?
Essentially happiness has two factors:
- The current experience of feeling an emotion of joy or pleasure
- A more general sense of emotional wellbeing as a whole such as having meaning, purpose and fulfilment.
Think of happiness as an umbrella with many different colours:
These colours are positive or pleasant emotions that range from contentment to intense joy and euphoria. They also include life satisfaction, well-being, thriving and flourishing.
Contributing elements to happiness
There are several contributing elements to the colours of happiness, and ideally, you focus on balancing and prioritising them…
These elements include:
- Knowing and living in alignment with your values
- Feeling fulfilled and purposeful
- Getting satisfaction from your work or career
- Looking after your health and wellness
- Learning and growing
- Having supportive and meaningful relationships
- Being financially secure (note having lots of money does not make you happy; it can have the opposite effect!)
- Having your basic needs met and feeling safe
- Regularly experiencing positive emotions
- Focusing on what you appreciate about yourself, your body and your life
Happiness has been pinpointed to be what humans most desire.
Aristotle sought to answer ‘what is the ultimate purpose of human existence?’
Many people seek pleasure, health and a good reputation and whilst it is true that those have value if we dig a little deeper, they are all means to make happiness happen. Aristotle said that happiness is always an end in itself.
Sigmond Freud said that all humans strive after happiness and that we restrict the possibilities of achieving happiness because we ‘are so made that we can only derive intense enjoyment from a contrast and very little from the state of things.’
So, in other words, how do you know what summer is if you have not experienced winter? How do you know what joy is if you haven’t experienced sorrow?
One of the important things for us to be aware of is that endlessly pursuing happiness or expecting ourselves to feel happy all the time can actually make us very unhappy!
Just the same as any feeling such as anger, sadness, frustration, or excitement, happiness comes and goes and is up and down.
If you want to feel happy more often, it is important to acknowledge and listen to ALL of your feelings. I’ve once heard that ‘what you feel you can heal and what you repress becomes stress’.
I encourage you to create a list of at least seven things that help make happiness happen for YOU, e.g. listening to the birds in the morning, cuddling loved ones, whether they be two-legged or four-legged, listening to music, doodling with coloured pencils, cooking a yummy meal, completing a work task or project, volunteering your time, getting your nails done, tinkering with DIY projects, enjoying a refreshment with good friends…………
Take some time to create your list and notice how much more often you will be aware of your feelings of happiness… even the small ones. As the saying goes – from little things, big things grow!
Are you ready to make happiness happen?
A.R.T Your Life programs can help you improve and enrich essential elements of your life so that you feel happier with yourself, your choices and your life. The tools, insights and strategies taught in our programs are empowering for teams, workplaces, families and for YOU!