In pursuit of happiness

What is happiness and why is it given importance in our life.

One of the main goals in anyone’s life is usually to be happier. Happiness is a generic term and different people have distinctive criteria and expectations on what will make them happy.

Some think that if they own a house or a particular car, they would be happy, if they marry the person of their dreams, they would be happy, get a particular job, they would be happy. But this happiness doesn’t last long. Once you have achieved that goal, you no longer feel happy or contented. Then you start running towards the newer goal in order to feel happy. We all have heard the quote that “money doesn’t buy happiness” but then what does?

In pursuit of happiness

Control over happiness

According to a study we are in control of 40% of our happiness. This means that happiness is an inside job up to a certain percentage and we can control that part. Make peace with your inner self. Happiness should not be dependent on external resources or people. It has to come from yourself. Happiness is a state of mind, so we can’t take it as a permanent feature in our lives.

“Happiness and unhappiness should not be outsourced.”

Happiness is all in your mind

Many scholars have started questioning the idea of being happy all the time. While happiness is good while it lasts, negative emotions or feelings have their silver lining too. Though researchers have acknowledged that most symptoms of depression hinder cognitive functioning, but depression may promote analytical reasoning and persistence. Depression helps you to be more aware and empathetic to other people’s feelings. Another study mentioned that the more people are in pursuit of happiness, the lonelier they can be. It may be that to reap the benefits of happiness people should want it less.

Humans are not designed to be happy

“Humans are not designed to be happy, or even content. Instead, we are designed primarily to survive and reproduce, like every other creature in the natural world.” You can’t be happy all the time, but you can become resilient. If there is a tragedy or an unsettling event in your life, you can’t choose to be happy. A chronic disease diagnosis, death of someone close, monetary or emotional loss, these things will make anyone sad. Happiness is not a choice as it is a way of feeling, not a way of thinking. 

You can’t change the way you feel but you can only change your thinking in form of being more resilient. Resilience can help you to survive that time and without impacting your mental health. Your emotions, both positive and negative are what makes us human. Having only one emotion like happiness all the time will feel like being a mannequin. According to one study, optimism was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular events, and pessimism was associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular events.

Resilience

One of the ways to be more resilient is through journaling. There are many other activities that you can do to build mental resilience.

In an article, the author shares The Aztecs’ way of living a good life and finding happiness is through character, psyches, community, and total, the divine and single being of existence.

Post-traumatic growth inventory

Post-traumatic growth inventory, as published in The Journal of Traumatic Stress, 1996, gives us an evaluation tool by which the growth of an individual, after a traumatic event, can be evaluated using their response in the following five areas:

1: Relationships with others 

2: New possibilities in life 

3: Personal strength 

4: Spiritual change 

5: Appreciation of life 

To be realistic, we can’t feel happy all the time. That would be a difficult, if not unattainable goal and will be filled with lots of distress and disillusionment. We can aim to enjoy the happiness while it lasts and makes us resilient for the times when the times are not as you thought it would be.

One Response

  1. Manu

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