HAPPINESS has always been a very interesting topic for me & I am always curious about what truly makes people happy.
So with our current pandemic, it has been fascinating to see more and more people outside. It truly makes my heart happy that people are getting out more. The natural world has soo many benefits, so it is great to see people outside.
While I was on a walk with my daughter we ran into one of our neighbors and chatted for a minute. She has little kids so her world is definitely different from mine, but it was funny to hear her say, “Yes, its great to have more family time, get outside, but how do we avoid the boredom.”
I was a bit taken back by her comment and have been reflecting on this. This world situation has changed so many of the moving parts within our lives and for some it is harder to find purpose and happiness.
According to the happiness international organization, “Happiness is when your life fulfills your needs. In other words, happiness comes when you feel satisfied and fulfilled. Happiness is a feeling of contentment, that life is just as it should be. Perfect happiness, enlightenment, comes when you have all of your needs satisfied.”
Action for Happiness had People discuss the importance of being spontaneous and playful; of making a difference to others; of making an effort to be happy in everyday life, and of being kind to oneself and others.
To find out what being happy means to you, ask yourself what’s important to you in your life.
What is meaningful to you? What are the things that give you a deep sense of satisfaction and as a result, bring you happiness?
It’s often the little things that bring great joy. Reigniting old passions such as painting, writing, photography or a sport; spending quality time with family and friends; changing a habit or routine or doing some voluntary work in your community.
Making an effort every day to explore what’s possible is the very thing that renders our life meaningful and happy. It is essential for our wellbeing.
Some people’s definitions of happiness that I came across online:
Emma Donovan, Therapist and Coach: I used to believe that I could earn happiness by maximizing my full potential, both personally and professionally. What I’ve realized, though, is that failure, disappointment, personal shortcomings, and uncomfortable emotions are part of life. Happiness is not about transcending them through accomplishment, but rather embracing the messiness that comes from being a flawed human in an unpredictable world. Happiness is not achieved, it is lived as I embrace each moment.
Dana Evy, Marriage & Family Therapist: Happiness is the ability to experience gratitude and meaning amidst all experiences. Happiness isn’t a life full of perfection but rather finding the good or the purpose within whatever the circumstances – as flawed and as imperfect as they may be. That is what generates happiness. Life will give us all sorts of experiences, but if we can exercise a grateful heart within it, we can have happiness in any given moment and to have happiness in each moment, is to have it fully. We can never have total control over what happens to us, so if we can find an ounce of gratitude and meaning in all scenarios, we can thrive and be happy regardless.
Carla Manly, Clinical Psychologist & Happiness Expert: I have found that happiness comes from exploring and being in touch with our best selves. When we consciously devote time and energy to being attuned to that which provides peaceful, lasting internal joy, we tend to be happier in the long term. As well, those who are happiest tend to focus on the present – being in the here and now – rather than getting stuck in the past or being anxious about the future. Indeed, those who learn that happiness exists in this very moment – not in the future or in the past – tend to radiate with joy.
For more expert definitions go to Tracking Happiness https://www.trackinghappiness.com/what-happiness-means-to-you/
Some other definitions I liked: According to me happiness lies within our self and not in other materials . If I’m satisfied from my heart and mind & living my life without any fear then no matter at what situation I’m in…my eyes will always be able to find or create some source of happiness. -Kiran Gupta
Happiness will mean something completely different to everyone so there is no one set route to feeling happy. What makes me happy might not make you happy. Any feeling comes from within and it stems from who you are as a person. -heruniqueglow
After ‘googling’ “What does Happiness Mean to You” it was wonderful to read different forums and feel the stories of how the various meanings have played out in their lives. One woman had a dear friend from college die in a tragic train accident after just seeing him, so being grateful for LIFE was a big source of happiness to her. She thinks of her friend whenever she needs a reminder.
Another woman was in an Indian market and came across a young girl selling pens. She watched for a while to see this girl almost proud of her station in life. After a while the woman approached the young girl about her pens & found out the girl use to be a beggar on the streets because she doesn’t have much. The young girl decided she didn’t want to beg anymore and worked very hard to buy some pens to sell and feels much better about her place in life. The woman was so proud of the young girl & took a picture together to remind herself how blessed she is & that no matter what you can always strive to be better.
Another person shared seeing someone do a kind deed and the sincere smile shared, the genuine connection that we all seek.
So many beautiful stories.
Want to be 25% happier? Try this. Gratitude makes your life better…it is a fact!! If you took the challenge of writing down five things a day you were grateful for within ten weeks you would be 25% happier. Do you believe it? Try it! According to a study done by Robert Emmons and Mike McCullough (from the University of Miami)… At the end of the 10 weeks, participants who’d kept a gratitude journal felt better about their lives as a whole and were more optimistic about the future than participants in either of the other two conditions (negative group and a neutral group). To put it into numbers, according to the scale we used to calculate well-being, they were a full 25 percent happier than the other partici- pants. The study also noted those in the gratitude condition reported fewer health complaints, exercised more, and also got a better nights sleep. -Greater Good, Pay it Forward, Robert A. Emmons
Money WONT buy you happiness: However, after basic needs are met, increasing your disposable income follows the law of diminishing returns.The impact on happiness from 100 more dollars when you’re already rich? Close to zero. In happiness research, there’s something called “set-point theory.” It states that the increase in someone’s happiness in response to life events, such as winning the lottery or moving into a bigger house, will return to its baseline after time. This theory teaches us that we should enjoy the journey, not the destination, of life events. It’s important to remove the illusion that there is any one thing in this world that will make us permanently happy.
— Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute and author of The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living
I even read an article that talked about people winning the lottery & someone becoming paraplegic had the same happiness level after a certain period of time.
HEALTH.com experts Say: According to Health.com It turns out that for a deeper, enduring sense of happiness, you must focus on the feeling itself—and do so consistently. In other words, boosting your happiness means cultivating it through your everyday activities and thought patterns. To help you do that, we asked researchers, doctors, and psychologists to distill happiness into its essential elements, and suggest ways to build each one into your normal routine.
Gratitude: While researching his latest book, The Art of Making Memories: How to Create and Remember Happy Moments, Wiking collected more than a thousand happy memories from people around the world. He found that although milestone events, such as the birth of a child, predictably showed up, so did seemingly smaller experiences, like enjoying cake with Mom. “Our lives consist of these tiny moments, one after the other. That’s how we build our stories and a sense of self,” Wiking says. “The tiny moments are actually the big things in life.” LOVE this idea! How to develop it: Paying attention to the good stuff requires a regular, conscious effort, at least at first. The familiar advice to keep a gratitude journal—where you write about who and what you appreciate—really can help train your brain to focus on the positive in your day-to-day experiences. And at the end of each year, reflect back on the past 12 months by celebrating what Wiking calls “the happy 100.” Look through the zillions of photos on your phone, choose your favorite 100 memories, and put them in an album. Invite family and friends to participate too— make it a ritual!
Social Connections: Wiking says, people to practice the “3D greeting”: Whenever you meet someone, make eye contact, ensure there is some form of physical contact—a handshake, or a hello hug—and say something meaningful, like: “It’s so great to see you. I’ve missed you.” [this may be tougher with social distancing, but still connect]
Sleep: If you’re struggling to get the recommended seven to nine hours of z’s a night, he suggests going to bed and waking up at the same time every day (yes, even on weekends). While it’s tempting to try to catch up on rest when you can, an inconsistent sleep-wake schedule throws your circadian rhythm out of whack and may leave you even more depleted in the end. Also, no caffeine after lunch—sorry.
Moments of Meditation: Why they matter: Meditation is pretty magical. Studies show it can actually physically change your brain to make you more open to happiness.
Self-Compassion: When you mess up, do you give yourself a break? Or do you bring yourself down, using harsh language you’d never unleash on a friend? Many of us do the latter—but those who are compassionate with themselves tend to have greater happiness. How to practice it: In times of failure or challenge, Neff says, notice the tone you use on yourself, and strive to lead with warmth and kindness—the way you’d calm a loved one. (Instead of “You’re an idiot,” say, “You had a moment of forgetfulness, and that’s OK.”) “Your heart goes out to yourself, which is so key,” Neff says.
Nature: Researchers have found that being outside has a profound effect on our brains. Nature soothes us; it decreases the production of stress hormones and sends positive emotions soaring. And it doesn’t take long: A 2019 study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham showed that spending just 20 minutes in a park was enough to boost well-being.
Free Time: How to find it: Instead of clicking on a news alert or scrolling through Instagram, play with your dog or cat, read a chapter in a book, sketch the scene outside your window—or just do nothing at all (a concept the Dutch call niksen).
Give back: Making others happy makes you happy: fact! “Research shows that people who are more compassionate and generous end up being happier and healthier than others— and may even live longer,” says Emma Seppälä, PhD, science director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and author of The Happiness Track.
Movement: It’s no secret that a good, hard workout can induce a euphoric feeling, thanks to a rush of endorphins, endocannabinoids (yep, your body makes its own cannabinoids), and other neurochemicals that trigger positive feelings. But lower-intensity exercise can buoy your mood too. A recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that the equivalent of one hour of moderate activity (such as brisk walking) a day reduced a person’s risk of developing depression by 26 percent.
FREE HAPPINESS: Most Popular Course through YALE is now available to anyone. Sign up and learn something new about ways to find happiness and better well-bing https://www.businessinsider.com/coursera-yale-science-of-wellbeing-free-course-review-overview