Happiness is that feeling that comes over you when you know life is good and you can’t help but smile. It’s the opposite of sadness. Happiness is a sense of well-being, joy, or contentment. When people are successful, or safe, or lucky, they feel happiness. The “pursuit of happiness” is something most people strive for. Different people feel happiness for different reasons. Whenever doing something causes happiness, people usually want to do more of it. No one ever complained about feeling too much happiness.
Diving further in to this fascinating field has yielded some interesting information. Did you know that there is now a whole science dedicated to the study of happiness? That people attend workshops to study and learn how to be happy? That according to some the word happy itself carries too much ‘stuff’ so it is best to use other words like wellbeing, flourish, even mindfulness? That having an ‘attitude of gratitude’ has a very positive impact on happiness? That the neuroplasticity of the brain responds by actually developing new neural pathways for happiness? That Jordi Quoidbach and June Grüber studied Emodiversity which is “ the variety and abundance of emotions humans experience” ?
Through Dr Google I stumbled onto this, and a lot more, in Barbara Graham’s article “What is happiness anyway?” Seemingly it is named after my question, although I can’t claim any credit for it J It’s an interesting and thought provoking read. Here’s the link – what-is-happiness-anyway?
So, an innocent, or perhaps a naïve and simple question, has all of a sudden become a lot more complex and deep. Now I was really curious. I delved deeper into Google. My goodness ! There is so much to choose from floating around in the clouds of the net. It can actually be a little overwhelming. It got me to thinking some more. Perhaps a dangerous pursuit given the detours, highways and byways that have opened up.
Are we overcomplicating life is the question that keeps popping into my head. Why do we have to be taught something that comes so naturally to children? And some very fortunate adults. Have we as a high tech society over-complicated life? Do we have to have scientific evidence and proof on everything, even happiness? And in the process have we dumbed ourselves down so much that we have actually forgotten how to be happy? Having said all of that, I do not for one moment doubt that there are many who genuinely need and benefit from what is on offer. But whatever happened to the KISS principle (keep it simple stupid)?
Following this train of thought, I am going to offer a few more morsels for you to consider. James Radcliffe has also written about happiness in a blog post called “The 5 reasons I get happier as I get older”. His reasons:
- The Physical
- Reading and Studying
- A Good Work
- Good Relationships
It’s a beautiful read.
My list (includes all of the above, by the way):
- Pets – so much joy and unconditional love
- Laughter – infectious, healing, good for the soul
- Music–ditto (well maybe not infectious… unless it’s one of ‘those’ tunes)
- Yummy food – to feed Mind, Body and Soul
- Nature – so tranquil, serene, awesome
Here’s what some others have had to say about happiness:
“Happiness depends upon ourselves.” ― Aristotle
“Happiness is a warm puppy.” ― Charles M. Schulz
“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” ― Abraham Lincoln
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
“I think happiness is what makes you pretty. Period. Happy people are beautiful. They become like a mirror and they reflect that happiness.” ― Drew Barrymore
“Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting some on yourself.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
It IS a serious subject. What’s on your happiness list?
© Raili Tanska