Happiness is generally defined as the state of mind in which a living being feels pleasure and contentment. However, there is no specific definition for happiness. Happiness is a subjective concept and hence, its definition changes from individual too individual. For some, happiness is all about money. For others, it may be just listening to Beethoven’s sonata. For you, it may be reading this tutorial. Hence, everyone has a different definition of happiness. However, the state of the feeling that one experiences is the same. And hence, the ways to achieve it are more or less common.
Before learning what happiness is, it is required to know what it is not. Happiness is certainly not the following things −
It is always good to cry sitting inside a BMW car, rather than on a cheap bicycle. However, money cannot always buy you happiness. Although money is an elixir for survival in today’s modern world, yet it can buy things but not emotions. What matters is what an individual does with the wealth he/she has. The pursuit of money leaves an individual with little time to enjoy the material pleasures.
Happy people do not always feel good. It is a misconception that being happy is an eternal state of mind. Stress, tensions and setbacks are part of life. However, what defines happiness is how the individual responds to such situations. The capacity to absorb the setbacks, work on them and improve the condition is what determines happiness levels in the long-term.
Psychologists and counselors advise keeping a diary to boost happiness. Cultivating a hobby wherein, you enter your experiences of each day into your diary or, going for trips or spending quality time with close ones are some of the recommended steps to lead a healthy and happy life. However, most of these habits fade away over time. It is necessary for an individual to keep adapting to life and keep looking for new ways to be happy.
The definition of happiness depends on the individual. However, all kinds of happiness stem from the feeling of satisfaction. In the wake of dissatisfaction, an individual is possessed by the thoughts of the discontent and is occupied by anxiety. Hence, happiness is the state of mind that sets people to have a feeling of positive well-being.
The most important task at hand for a person who wants to be happy is to define what happiness means to him or her. Here is an exercise for you.
Take a piece of paper and write down your definition of happiness.
Now, if you have written down your definition of happiness, compare it with the definitions given over the Internet. You will find a hundred definitions, all differing from one another in some or the other way. However, each definition is correct and is based on the perception of the writer.
For you, happiness may be the feeling of eternal bliss. For others, it can be as simple as playing a violin or going for a walk. For some, it can be doing workout, for others it can be watching one’s favorite movie with friends or alone. This is an important task and must be done prior to taking any step to be happy.
Defining happiness helps one to measure happiness. Please note, we are not talking of monitoring happiness. It is just about measuring happiness, and we will know more about the ways of measurement in the later chapters. There are primarily five ways in which people define happiness. They are as follows −
In the first category, people define happiness as moments of sensory pleasure. Going to parties or watching movies or having a night in the arms of one’s love, going on vacations or having a good food are all included in this category.
Hubristic pride is the emotion that one feels when one has a feeling of being superior to someone else. For example, winning a contest or a race, winning over an argument, or being promoted in office are examples of hubristic pride.
Authentic pride is the one that we feel when we find we are at a better position than before. Happiness equals progressing towards mastery of something. We compare to how we were earlier and how we are now.
The fourth category is the emotion felt when we feel in love with something. This ‘something’ can be a person or a pet or even an activity or scenery.
The last one is the state when a person feels that he/she is happy with what life is like. Abundance is felt when we find life as interesting and not threatening.
The best definitions are the ones which have elements of authentic pride, love or abundance. Hubristic pride does not last longer and is also not a good quality to possess. Sensory pleasure is also distracting and transient.
The best definition of happiness is the one which is based on abundance. The reason being that abundance is found to last longer than all others. Happiness can be believed as joy. Happiness can be also defined as a feeling of serenity. It can be also defined as a feeling of interest or curiosity. Another way to see happiness is to see it as a feeling of amusement or laughter.