HOW DO YOU ATTAIN HAPPINESS
What really makes us happy? Is our happiness intertwined to things, memories, or feelings? We all want to be happy. Period. In fact, I would argue that nearly everything we do is with an overarching purpose to feel happier. We want to create certain feelings that makes us happy.
What really makes us happy?
I have come to the realization that people attach happiness to their achievements. Which are our external circumstances, which we often tend to focus on the most: Money, status, jobs, cars, beautiful houses, and other external things that we chase in the pursuit of happiness. I hate to break it to you, but things like money, status etc. will not make you happy – you can argue that these things makes you happy but I would counter by asking you “for how long?”.
According to Ed Diener, the first person to study happiness scientifically. Diener compared people on the Forbes list of wealthiest Americans with the general population, and found that they were only slightly happier than average, with 37% being less happy than the average American. Looks like we might have been chasing the wrong things.
The science of happiness
We all want to be happier, how do we stay happy? Our daily happiness constantly fluctuates around a baseline. We all have a happiness baseline, which can be our general long-term happiness.
Let us say you have been sad for the most part and you have an approaching examination – you need to study. Examinations comes and goes, results are out and you pass – you are excited. Next minute, you get a call with a bad news – then you are sad.
Another example, you see something you fancy (maybe a pair of shoes, whatever). You want to purchase it so bad you may have sleepless night if you could not get your hands on them. Then a friend sends the item you as a gift. You become happy – only for a moment, why because you got the shoes, which you thought would keep you happy. I can tell you, your happiness here connects to the memories of receiving a gift and the item you got. We all know what happens to most of our memories it goes away!
From the illustration above, we can say, happiness always returns to baseline, which justifies the examples above.
How to have long-lasting happiness
Research done by Sonja Lyubomirsky shows we all have a genetic predisposition for happiness that accounts for roughly 50% of our happiness, circumstances determines 10% of our happiness and our thoughts and actions 40%.
We are bound to face circumstances in life, regardless of our actions and thoughts, be happy! I do not know about you but I am happy for no reason. Here is how I stay happy:
- Search for happiness from a high state of inner well-being.
- Identify what makes you happy and fuel the feeling.
- Make others happy. They probably might forget to acknowledge but when you begin to think of how happy you made people, you become happier!
- Show gratitude.
- Always forgive yourself
It is a coincidence I have been trying to understand what makes me happy. Without thinking through the topic, I have been able to conclude – “The purpose of our lives is to be happy.” — Dalai Lama. Attaining long-lasting happiness is hard work. It requires re-examining the definition of happiness, reorienting your worldview, becoming more mindful, overcoming your ego, and reconciling with yourself. Easier said than done! For sure, but stay committed to these steps and you can achieve a more fulfilling state than just temporary pleasure.
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