According to Wikipedia, “Happiness, in the context of mental or emotional states, is positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. Other forms include life satisfaction, well-being, subjective well-being, flourishing and eudaimonia.”
According to VeryWellMind, “Happiness is an emotional state characterized by feelings of joy, satisfaction, contentment, and fulfillment. While happiness has many different definitions, it is often described as involving positive emotions and life satisfaction.”
Psychology Today says, “Happiness is defined differently depending on who you ask. Some people define happiness as a positive emotional experience. Others define happiness as having two parts called hedonia (pleasure) and eudaimonia (thriving). Outside of the scientific world, most of us define happiness as a mixture of positive emotional experiences and a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in life.”
According To PursuitOfHappiness.org, “Leading Positive Psychologists claim that happiness has three sources, i.e., that the “Happiness Pie” has three slices: Slice 1: Our genetic makeup. Slice 2: Our environment. Slice 3: Our actions.”
Sonja Lyubomirsky, an author and researcher on positive psychology, describes happiness thus, “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.” So, there is an evaluative component here, along with a felt one. How we think about what we feel matters as much as what we experience.
In a rather unhelpful fashion, dictionary.com defines happiness as “the quality or state of being happy.” Fortunately, the second definition elaborates with “good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy.” What’s clear is that happiness is a subjective experience, it is something we feel, and hence it is lived individually, isn’t guaranteed, and can be transitory.
What does happiness mean to you?
Days Go By Swiftly
This experience becomes more evident the longer you live. Amidst the rush of seconds, minutes, and hours filled with work, family, and friends, it can be easy to lose track of where we are. Without care, we can end up in places we didn’t intend to, simply because we weren’t paying close enough attention, steering deliberately, and sometimes pumping the brakes.
To go where we want to go takes conscious effort. Most of us would like to experience a fulfilling life. A key way to achieve this is through doing things that bring joy to our worlds. Herein, we’ll discuss how to cultivate happiness and in doing so, unmask the key to living a satisfying life.
How To Cultivate Happiness
To make happiness a lasting feature of your life takes a bit of self-knowledge. Are you communally minded? Then harmony will be a necessary ingredient for you. Are you more of an individualist? Then a lived experience of personal joy will drive you.
In any case, the context you live in, complete with work, friends, family, home situation, cultural elements, and personal values, will all factor into how you find satisfaction. In addition, how you look at the world and treat others plays a role. These factors put your happiness, at least partially, in your hands.
According to Psychology Today, “regularly indulging in small pleasures, getting absorbed in challenging activities, setting and meeting goals, maintaining close social ties, and finding purpose beyond oneself all increase life satisfaction. It isn’t happiness per se that promotes well-being, it’s the actual pursuit that’s key.”
In other words, life is a process, and when we make the process itself valuable, rather than focusing on destinations, we create the potential for greater enjoyment.
Furthermore, when we consciously develop our ability to see the good in our lives, even amidst hardships, we can begin to master ourselves, fostering an internal equilibrium. In doing so, our happiness is no longer in the hands of others or circumstances outside our control. Instead, we see that it is a lived thing that we must continuously cultivate.
When you become clear about what matters to you, and you focus your efforts on pursuing those things, you bring meaning to each facet of what you do. Missteps and foibles don’t throw you off your game because you understand them to be a natural part of life’s equation. This internal locus of control gives you a sense of efficacy, something that benefits everyone.
Since you experience happiness from within, make it a goal to prioritize helping it to grow. Foster ways of thinking and behaving that increase your enjoyment. You may not be able to control the world around you, but you can have a say in how you interpret it. So, choose happiness and watch your life’s satisfaction multiply.
- “Happiness Definition & Meaning.” Dictionary.com, https://www.dictionary.com/browse/happiness. Accessed 19 October 2022.
- Lyubomirsky, Sonja. The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want. Penguin Publishing Group, 2007. Accessed 19 October 2022.
- “Happiness.” Psychology Today, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/happiness. Accessed 19 October 2022.