Although the pursuit of happiness is a growing concern in the modern era, it’s definitely not a novelty concept. One of Aristotle’s most influential works is the Nicomachean Ethics, where he presents a theory of happiness that is still relevant today, over 2,300 years later. In his eyes, ‘Happiness was the ultimate end and purpose of human existence’.
But does everyone agree on what happiness means? Or should there even be one empirical measurement for that? Once you understand these three easy steps, happiness will be just around the corner.
What would it take to make you happy? A different job, a bigger bank account, or maybe finding the perfect partner?
For some, their happiness, or unhappiness for that matter, is external and by that is always depending on something. Have you ever said to yourself: “I’ll be happy when I’ll…. find that perfect partner, get rich, get a new job, buy that house, own XXX”.
If your happiness depends on what somebody else does, I guess you do have a problem | Richard Bach
If you’re not happy with YOU nothing will make you happy. Sure – it does sound easier to be happy sipping cocktails in the Maldives or when having nice things but you’ll still be you in that fancy house, driving that car, sipping that margarita.
What does your happiness depend on? what if I told you it doesn’t have to depend on anything but yourself? Just being happy for no reason – Doesn’t it sound easier that way?
Marci Shimoff states in her book ‘Happy for No Reason‘ that no matter what happens to you in life, you tend to return to a fixed range of happiness.“There was a famous study conducted that tracked people who’d won the lottery — what many people think of as the ticket to the magic kingdom of joy. Within a year, these lucky winners returned to approximately the same level of happiness they’d experienced before their windfall. Surprisingly, the same was true for people who became paraplegic. Within a year or so of being disabled, they also returned to their original happiness level.”
Researchers posit that 50 percent of our set-point comes from genetics, while 10 percent is determined by our circumstances (like our job, marital status, wealth). “The other 40 percent is determined by our habitual thoughts, feelings, words, and actions. This is why it’s possible to raise your happiness set-point. In the same way, you’d crank up the thermostat to get comfortable on a chilly day, you actually have the power to reprogram your happiness set-point to a higher level.”
So you know it’s up to you to crank up that happiness volume button. But now you are wondering how to turn up that knob?
Research in the field of positive psychology and happiness often define a happy person as someone who experiences frequent positive emotions and infrequent (though not absent) negative emotions while the dictionary defines happiness as ‘Good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy’.
But is it enough to just lead a pleasurable life? When you’ll look back and contemplate on the happiness of your life – would it just be based on how much pleasure you’ve experienced?
In an article in ‘Psychology Today’, Psychology experts divide this complicated definition of happiness into four central types of happiness: Hedonic happiness (also known as pleasure), Life satisfaction (equates happiness with being satisfied with your life) , Eudaimonia (describes a life driven by virtue and good fortune. An “objective” view of happiness) , Desire fulfillment (Is the extent to which you have gotten what you want).
Can you relate to any of these definitions? Is your own happiness definition a combo of some of these?
Each person has their own way of defining happiness and I think happiness can mean different things to different people. It can be a combination of pleasurable things and finding your purpose in life but could also be just getting what goals you set for yourself and having good fortune. In order to make ourselves happier, we first need to know what makes us happy. We need self-knowledge.
You can’t hit a target you cannot see, and you cannot see a target you do not have | Zig Ziglar
Take some time to reflect on your own definition of happiness. Get clear on what happiness means to you, and then it will be easier to create or to recognize it when it comes.
So once you figured out what makes you happy – Just do it. If you know what makes you unhappy – even better – just try to avoid it.
You must be thinking ‘oh come on – it’s not as simple as that’. Well – it kinda is… Sure, obligations and responsibilities and life, in general, can weigh us down but I believe that life is about the choices we make. If you want to be happy, choose happiness. Remember, it’s 40% depending on the thoughts and actions you choose – that’s A LOT.
Place a priority on your happiness.
Although kissing is definitely a happiness booster lol
This is a design principle noted by the U.S. Navy and my personal intake of life. It basically means that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated; therefore simplicity should be a key goal.
If you’ve decided you want to be happier – why not make it as easier on yourself as possible? I know how tough life can be sometimes – daily struggles, constant worries, self-doubt – these are all things we deal with on a daily basis without me even mentioning – financial worries, self-esteem issues or world politics.
Make your outside as happy as you want your inside to be.
Try to avoid toxic or negative people and overall people who bring you down. You know who I’m talking about – the ones that just drain all the energy out of you. Trust me – no matter how important you think these people are to you (close friends or even family) once you reduce their part in your life your happiness set-point will Immediately rise!
Instead, surround yourself with people who make you happy – the people that make you laugh, who support and encourage you.
In order to be happier you do have to go too deep- just start with the basics: get enough sleep, eat right, exercise, take time off when needed, make time for leisure etc.
Need more ideas? Try one of these “70 easy ways to feel happier”
It sounds a bit counterintuitive I know… But what I mean is, you can’t be happy ALL the time. Just accept that there will be ups and downs in life and that’s ok.
Just remember that no matter what you do – ‘Practice makes perfect’. There will always be happier and unhappier times in life – you just need to keep figuring out what makes you happy and keep choosing that.
What did you think about choosing your own happiness? Please feel free to leave me a comment below