Happiness: n. “The experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”
A state of being. An experience of positive emotions mixed with a feeling of purpose and fulfillment with our lives. But where exactly does this stem from?
A nice car?
Ambitious pursuits of our goals?
The key to happiness has been one of life's million dollar questions. Luckily, we are finding answers from the research into the essence behind our human pursuit of happiness. Surprisingly enough, it has found that happiness is not as much dependent on our situations in life as much as it is linked to the way we perceive.
Focusing on what you have verse what you do not have is crucial to contentment. In a world where self-comparison to others is literally at our fingertips every second, finding appreciation for where and who you are in life is fading behind the screen. Trying to find happiness through someone else's life is like a dog trying to catch its own tail. You may catch it briefly, only to realize you haven't moved anywhere, and if you bit hard enough.... hurt yourself in the process. Instead of looking out into someone else's life step outside of your own to get a different view. Why are you fortunate? Is there going to be food on the table when you get home? Are you loved? Do you spend time filling your soul? We can easily take for granted the many gifts in our lives whether it is our health, freedom, friends, or partners. Gratitude helps bring us back to a place of contentment and joy. One where we can be reminded of the priceless gift of having another moment to experience life.
It can often be assumed that personal happiness is a selfish pursuit, however, the opposite has been proven. Of course, we can find instant gratification for our selfish wants and desires but that is not the true happiness we are referring to. Lasting happiness comes from a place of fulfillment, connection, and purpose. Each of those feelings come into our life as extend ourselves to others. A simple gesture of kindness is all it takes. An act that will not only bring you happiness but also to the life of the beautiful person whom you lent your hand. Selfless acts are timeless in nature, as the happiness created lives long after the moment it became.
Having strong social bonds can keep away the negative emotions such as alienation, worthlessness, and depression. Human beings are most successful in supportive environments. We all have a yearning to be accepted, belong, and safe. All of which are feed through deep and meaningful connections to others. Now when we say "social support", this is not referring to your "social network". Likes on an Instagram post does not necessarily mean you can depend on them in times of need. Having a strong strong social support is based on the quality of the relationship. Who is a source of inspiration? How many friends can you turn to with struggles? Who encourages you to be your best self? Every one of us needs these people by our side. Life is meant to be a team sport. And by opening ourselves to that oneness, laying roots for a deeper connection, we open the door to lasting happiness.
So happiness is not this long list of ingredients that we have to go searching for. It is within us all. Waiting for the right mind, and right action to give it life. Embody gratitude, help your neighbors, and open your heart to a deeper connection. True happiness rests in your full control, always has been. Your hands, your mind, your heart.