In this article, I’m not going to go into the sciences and psychological discussion about Happiness Because Happiness cuts across almost every field of knowledge, as I see it. Be it economic, social, religion, science, philosophy, and so forth. It is a vast study, with massive researches for a very long period of time. So it’s beyond the space of this post. However, there is always a way to eat an elephant. And that way is to eat it piece by piece. You can start with any part be it the hand or the leg. Right?
So, in consideration of all the huge studies, different definitions, and continued debate about what happiness is and is not, I want to take what I consider a safe and restrained path to provide us with some simple understanding of Happiness. As we know the word happiness is a generic word. It is being overused, just like the word Love.
First of all, let’s see the definition of Happiness, just for purposes of basic understanding. According to English Oxford Dictionationry, Happiness is “Feeling or showing pleasure or contentment. Some psychologists say that happiness is a combination of lots of positive emotions, High positive emotions, fewer negative emotions, and high satisfaction in life.
Another theorist said that happiness is “Need reduction,” tying something for a larger purpose. And a historian states that Happiness is what happens to you according to one historian. And we also knew that Socrates, Plato, and every other thinker have always tried to understand what happiness is and how to achieve it and they all contributed to our knowledge.
What Determines Happiness From my Understanding
For me, I will say that Happiness means prosperity, wellness, and Godliness. And I based my understanding of the word of God which says, “I wish above all that ye prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers.” That’s a full package right there!. These concepts have a deeper meaning than they seem. But suffix it to say that what so many consider or think as happiness is not actually what it is and that’s why so many people are not experiencing happiness as it relates to life and its meaning.
God wants us to be happy. That was His original intent. He wants us to celebrate life. And we can only celebrate life and what we have in life when we acknowledge the source. That’s why happiness is elusive to people searching for it in the wrong places and with wrong beliefs. It is very important that we determine what gives us happiness.
Happiness is the wellness of life. You have to learn it. You have to know how to cultivate it. Christian Religion equates happiness with your relationship to God. And it is a very deep knowledge to have.
Some People’s Determinats of Happiness
Moral values; Living a life of peace, compassion, and integrity…
Family; Having a loving, supportive family tree…
Individual income;, how much money we make and have in the bank, makes a person feel happy at that point.
One’s thriving business, career, having a high status, in your profession…
Physical health; Having a healthy lifestyle, and enjoying a healthy body…
Social relationships; Having a sense of belonging to social groups
Certainly, each of these factors can contribute to a happy life. Because, one of the research done by Waldinger and Schulz, in 2010 documented the importance of healthy relationships in our overall well-being or state of happiness…
And this I can speak of based on my personal experience, when I’m happy in my most important relationships, like with my husband, children, siblings, friends, and other relationships like Social groups I belong to; I feel less stressed and more confident, and relaxed. I feel that sense of happiness, and worship and praise God freely. I don’t know about you. But I believe you will feel the same if we share the same values.
The Importance of Happiness
Happiness from the beginning of the ages has been considered such an important aspect of life. Let us consider some of the reasons, why happiness is a crucial element of human experience. According to Courtney E. Ackerman, she had the following list from June Silny, on why happiness is important, I found it fascinating. Here is the June Silny outline:
- “Happy people are more successful in multiple life domains, including marriage, friendship, income, work performance, and health.
- Happy people get sick less often and experience fewer symptoms when they do get sick.
- Happy people have more friends and a better support system.
- Happy people donate more to charity (and giving money to charity makes you happy, too).
- Happy people are more helpful and more likely to volunteer—which also makes you happier!
- Happy people have an easier time navigating through life since optimism eases pain, sadness, and grief.
- Happy people have a positive influence on others and encourage them to seek happiness as well, which can act as reinforcement.
- Happy people engage in deeper and more meaningful conversations.
- Happy people smile more, which is beneficial to your health.
- Happy people exercise more often and eat more healthily.
- Happy people are happy with what they have rather than being jealous of others.
- Happy people are healthier all around and more likely to be healthy in the future.
- Happy people live longer than those who are not as happy.
- Happy people are more productive and more creative, and this effect extends to all those experiencing positive emotions.”
The question for us is do we have happiness in our life? If not, why not? As I stated earlier, happiness is a self-awareness and self-discovery process. I hope that this article will motivate and challenge us, to cultivate the process, through knowledge and a clear understanding of life, and what matters, and why it matters. When we have the right knowledge and belief, we live a different kind of lifestyle.
The confusion is in human understanding of himself and His creator. There is a kind of happiness that we are wired with. And that’s why all the chemicals have to be balanced in our body to enable us to feel normal. Happiness is more than and richer than what we take it to be today. HOW TO BE HAPPY
Happiness is not gotten from wines, parties, romance, or based on the acquisition of wealth and money. Rather, it involves a deliberate self-awareness and God’s consciousness, a process of self-discovery, and the cultivation of the right mental attitudes to live a life of happiness, regardless of one’s circumstances in life. I think that’s why it is hard for the human mind to comprehend what makes a person really happy.
Because, people set up goals, and means to achieve their dreams in life so as to become happy at last. Unfortunately, they discovered once those goals are achieved that something was still missing, that they don’t feel actualized. They don’t feel the satisfaction and joy as hoped. Then comes the question what’s the meaning of life, if nothing makes meaning?
I think it will be safe to say, that we are all seeking the same thing, even when we don’t really understand or able to pinpoint what we are seeking. As far as life is concerned, we are all seeking a life that satisfies our quest. A life with meaning. What is interesting is that we are looking for it in different ways.
Let me say that we all have the insatiable craving or desire for a happy life. But perplexingly, we are confused and conflicted on how to go about it or where to find it. The truth is that we are all created with an inbuilt desire for happiness. Unfortunately, such privilege was short-lived at the beginning, according to the genesis account. God is the source.
The creator designed us with some special chemicals like dopamine and serotonin and cortisol as part of our body chemistry. The neurotransmitters never stop transmitting the chemicals to and from the brain to other parts of the body for normal functioning. So there are natural chemicals that help boost our moods all things being equal.
What Makes You Happy?
I believe that some people will have their personal concept of what happiness is to them. Well, let us have a general overview of what we consider happiness to be. Let me suggest some of the things some people consider to be their source of happiness or unhappiness. https://lifeclub.org/p/happiness
Some people will tell you that their happiness is based on their job. Because they have a job they like, therefore that gives them happiness. For some, their happiness is attached to their fat bank account, the achievements they have under their name. While others, it is associated with the quality of their relationships and so many things like that.
In addition, what makes you happy will depend majorly on your philosophy, beliefs about life, and the values you cherish. It is the beliefs you hold and the values you cherish that will provide your life the direction for satisfaction or lack of it. For me, my happiness and the source are based on my faith in God and the relationships I value. The knowledge that I have an almighty father who loves me with everlasting love gives me joy and confidence more than anything else I have in life.
We measure happiness based on our relationships quality, money, children, thriving career, wealth, good education, and so forth. While some consider the lack therein as a source of unhappiness. However, there are things that can promote happiness regularly, but we are not willing to do them. A good example is a love.
How many of us love others as we love ourselves? Also forgiveness, how often do we forgive those who hurt us? Or do we prefer to hold the grudge and remain bitter? I know a man who is so brash, and inconsiderate to other people’s feelings, but he always boasts of being a happy man. As far as I have known him, he displays a negative attitude which is obvious.
On the other hand, we are like wanting something badly while at the same time resisting access to it. That’s the reason why happiness is eluding so many people who are pursuing it by all means but for the wrong reasons and wrong sources. When in doubt, ask to find out, what determines your happiness actually.
Real Happiness Is Not What Some Think It Is
Today, because of the flamboyant or ostentatious lifestyles some live, you mistake them for having or living a happy life. The reality is that many people who may look perfectly ok outside may have wars going on on the inside. Everyone has something that requires a solution. No one has it all together. That’s why the search for life’s meaning continues. If success, wealth, money, relationship, fame, power, cannot guarantee satisfaction, or lasting happiness, what is it that is missing? That’s the question that demands an honest answer!
We can’t look far to see how messy life is. And because of its messiness, it makes it hard to live happily, without the interruption of our happiness by pain, fear, of death, disease, suffering, loss, disappointment, betrayals, and failures, injustice, broken dreams, and other negative experiences. I call them happiness disrupters.
What Is Happiness In Conclusion?
Here comes the question again, what determines your Happiness? Is it determined by having all the good things of life as your heart desires Plus God? Most of us think that we are relatively happy, at least with whatever measure we want to use. And at the same time, we still believe or know that we can be happier. That’s why the search continues. Until the main vacuum which only God can fill is filled up, if not the search and questions continues.
Because of the confusion and deceitfulness of riches, many are still cycling through all the same things. Some say, oh, I need a new wife, new boyfriend or girlfriend, a new house, a new career, and on and on, seeking new things or more things, can not grant happiness. Rather determine by process of elimination and substitution what is missing.
I can tell you the truth, I will tell you that based on my own experience, and the other biographies and autobiographies of some great thinkers, philosophers, theologians, they will tell you that our existence is attached to God. Separating from Him and trying to fill it up with something else, make our life lose its meaning.
The fact of the matter is that we are created to live happily, to enjoy life and all the good things of life. But because we have conditioned our minds to think that we can find a better life on our terms, we find it difficult to access the real life we are seeking. You should by now get a better understanding of what determines our happiness.