For centuries we have tried to understand what happiness is and wondered how to ensure our own lifelong happiness. You, like many others, may spend your life chasing happiness, believing that this is achieved by finding the ideal life partner, or by buying a new car, or pursuing a successful career and that when you do manage this, that you are guaranteed to wake up each day happy. But, when you finally manage to check all the boxes, you still aren’t happy…

So, What is This ‘Happiness’ We are Pursuing?

According to psychology researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky happiness is “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.” What is important to note is that there are fleeting emotions associated with happiness, AS WELL AS, the more permanent sense that life is good, meaningful and worthwhile. This means that although there will be these fleeting highs, you will still experience lows like everybody else in life, the difference is that overall you will have a sense of satisfaction and contentment in your life.

“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” ― Jim Rohn

Why Should You Strive for Happiness?

Research has shown that happiness has the following benefits:

  1. Happiness makes you feel good.
  2. Happiness is good for your relationships – happy people have more friends, are more likely to get married and have a fulfilling marriage.
  3. Happy people are more creative.
  4. Being happy is good for your health, you are less likely to get sick, and enjoy longevity.
  5. Happy people deal with stress and trauma better.
  6. Happy people are more productive at work and tend to earn more money.
  7. Happy people tend to be more generous.

Myths About Happiness

  1. Happiness comes when you can afford everything that you want – while being poverty stricken makes it challenging to remain positive and happy, it does not mean that being rich ensures that you will find lasting happiness. The raise in salary or new car brings happiness, but this is temporary and fades leaving you wanting more.  
  2. If you are happy you feel good all the time – being happy doesn’t erase all of life’s challenges, it merely alters the way that you think about them and face them.
  3. Happiness is a destination that you arrive at – many people believe that you work towards happiness and that by achieving certain things you will ‘arrive’ in a permanent state of happiness. Unfortunately the reality is that you need to consistently work at it – forming healthy habits to encourage the positive state of mind.

By Debbie Taylor