Happiness is something everyone wants to have. You may be successful and have a lot of money, but without happiness it will be meaningless.
That’s why I’m excited with this month’s theme of Happiness. We will discuss this topic all month long and I’m sure we will learn a lot. But, before we move further, it’s a good idea to get deeper understanding of the word happiness itself. Understanding what happiness is will give us good ground upon which to build our discussions.
Let me start with an official definition. According to Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary, here is the definition of happiness:
- a state of well-being and contentment
- a pleasurable or satisfying experience
This definition is a good starting point and we can dig deeper from it. The best way to do that is to consult some of the greatest minds in history. So I researched what these people say about happiness and found 10 essential definitions. Each of them has deep meaning. Take your time to absorb it.
Here they are:
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.
Happiness is something that you are and it comes from the way you think.
Happiness is essentially a state of going somewhere, wholeheartedly, one-directionally, without regret or reservation.
William H. Sheldon
Happiness is not a reward – it is a consequence.
Happiness is different from pleasure. Happiness has something to do with struggling and enduring and accomplishing.
Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.
Happiness is not something you experience, it’s something you remember.
Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.
Margaret Lee Runbeck
Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.
All in all, I would say that happiness is a decision. Your happiness is your decision to make. All the quotes above require actions on our part and actions require decisions.
So what do you think?
What is happiness?
This article is part of July 2008 theme: Happiness
Happiness has been a controversial topic for many years now. Some people believe it is an end goal while others take it as the beginning point to greatness. People usually draw happiness from different things. Generally, happiness has to do with an emotional and mental state of welfare that can be characterized through pleasant and positive emotion such as contentment and joy. However, happiness and its sources have been defined differently based on religious, biological, philosophical and psychological grounds. This essay seeks to demystify the puzzle about happiness and how it is attained.
One of the strongest theories used to discuss about happiness is positive psychology that has focused on cognition, personality and mood. Every person has an innate sunny disposition. However, researchers from different backgrounds believe that human beings can learn how to create more meaning and gratification in life. So, what is happiness? Can there be one definite statement used to define it? Well, most people believe that it is the thought of having a good life without suffering, having pleasure, prosperity and joy among other such like things. However, that cannot be enough to define happiness. May be it is just a part of it. People can still be happy even without material wealth. Again, not all rich people are happy. Therefore, happiness is more than what we think. It is not an end goal. Basically, it is something that is continuous and is founded on certain truths that go beyond having pleasure and getting tangible things that we ever wanted.
In the United States, the pursuit of happiness is considered a fundamental right for the Americans and has deeply preoccupied their minds. However, not every person understands what happiness is all about. Can it be studied or were people born with it? Is there a way people can be happier? It is not easy to define happiness because it is very elusive to attain it. People experience moments of happiness and can also say when they don’t feel happy. Positive psychology is a science that focuses on the virtues and strengths that make it possible for people to thrive. Happiness comes with the discovery of individual strengths and reinforcing them in life. It is a psychological wellbeing that brings internal satisfaction and not necessarily with the presence of material things. Happiness is pleasurable but most importantly, it involves engagement and finding meaning in life. People can choose to be happy even when all does not seem to work materially.