Is True Happiness Possible?
Many people who have struggles in life often pooh-pooh happiness and like to claim that true happiness is not even possible. The truth is there are different levels of happiness that you can experience in your life. It’s not a straight line. There are ups and downs that you will experience all throughout life but whether you are happy or not is all about your feelings.
You Have It in You
Just by virtue of the fact that you’re a human being and you can experience feelings, happiness being one of them, you know that true happiness does exist. You can probably write down many days and things that have brought happiness to your life over the years since you were born up until today.
Look Around You
It’s amazing but while it’s easy to say that people cannot be happy unless they have their basic needs met. You’ll find that there are people all around you who do not have their needs met but who are very happy. That bores out as true when you study rich people and realize they are not happier than poor people overall.
It’s Not About Stuff
If you look at a list of the happiest countries in the world, you will realize that being happy isn’t about the stuff you have. The happiest people right now happen to live in Denmark. Most people who live there pay high taxes, live in small homes and tend to not be as consumer-driven as people in the USA, for example. But the USA is 17 on the list. That shows that happiness is not about stuff.
It’s Not Even About Goals
You may think that happiness is about reaching your goals too. But, it’s not. If you often say things like “I’ll be happy when…” then it’s not likely you will be happy. You can be happy today, before you reach your goals, while you’re on the path to reach those goals. It’s honestly more about the day to day living and not moments.
It’s Not About Your Circumstances
Now, of course, some things in life can really get you down. However, for happy people, even the worst events will not make them unhappy at least not permanently. A happy person usually has the skills to navigate things about their circumstances. Dr. Gillian Mandich, a happiness expert, states that our circumstances account for only 10 percent of our happiness.
True happiness is about accepting that you can experience it, plus understanding what it really means. A happy person isn’t going to be the same level of happy 24/7, 365 days a year. When you observe that people who are sick with cancer are happy, that children who aren’t getting enough to eat are happy, and people living in huts in Africa are also happy it makes you realize that you can be happy too.
Happiness Is More Than Thinking Positive Thoughts
While the dictionary defines happiness as “the state of being happy” which gives you very little information about the idea or feeling of, or state of happiness. Let’s look at some different things that happiness can be, but realize that in truth, happiness is in the mind of the beholder.
- Your Needs are Met – When a person is happy, they usually don’t even have any needs that aren’t being met to the level they want them to be met. It doesn’t mean that someone is not having a hard time it’s all about how you make what you have fill your needs.
- You Feel Satisfied – When you are happy you tend to feel simply satisfied with your life. You think about your life and feel good about it. You feel very satisfied when you look around your life and see all the fortune you have whether it’s where you live, who you live with, or just about yourself doesn’t even matter.
- You Feel Content – A happy person tends to feel really content about the things in their life. They feel content about their job, their home, their things, their health – nothing is nagging at their mind about anything causing stress. But remember happy people do have stress, they’re just better at feeling content even when things aren’t perfect.
- You Are at Peace – A happy person often feels a lot of peace surrounding their life and family. They tend to know that everything will turn out okay and are good at turning negativity around to positivity.
- Your Definition – The truth is, happiness is how you define it personally for you. It’s not about getting tons of stuff unless you want that. It’s not about finding a spouse unless you want that. It’s not about having kids unless you want that. It’s all up to you and how you define happiness.
- It’s a Journey – Happiness is not a destination that you get to one day and stay at. It’s a lifelong journey that will have many ups and downs and struggles. However, overall the ups and downs of life, you manage to feel good about it. In the 1989 movie, “Parenthood” one of the main characters, a mother, who is struggling states that she loves “the rollercoaster” of life while her husband is struggling and not as happy because he focuses on the downs instead of the ups.
- It’s How You Act – When you are happy you tend to act in more positive ways over all. When happy, you eat better, you move more, you think differently. Don’t worry. You have it in your power to be happy where you are in your life right now.
Happiness is more than thinking positive thoughts. Happiness is having your needs met, but it’s not about having everything, or even the best, it’s about being satisfied with what you have while also being able to work for the things you want. While you do have to do more than think positively to really and truly feel happy, it does start with your thoughts. However, it will manifest with your actions.
Success Does Not Fuel Happiness
It’s easy to simplify happiness and claim that it’s obvious that successful people are happy. However, if you really interviewed 100 successful people, you may be surprised that a large percentage of them are not as happy as you think they ought to be. The fact is, you can be a millionaire, have a wonderful spouse, great kids, and everything you think you want and still not be happy. The truth is happiness fuels success.
- Happiness Leads to More Productivity – When people are happy with the work, they do they tend to be willing to do it a lot more, even for free. Assuming other needs (food, shelter, health) are met a happy person can find joy doing the most mundane things because they can focus on outcomes instead of just what they are doing.
- Happiness Leads to Higher Profits – In companies that keep their employees happy by offering a living wage, benefits, and a flexible schedule the profits tend to be a lot higher. One reason is that when a person feels respected in their job even if the work is hard, they are happier about doing it.
- Happiness Leads to Stability – When people are happy, they tend to be a lot more stable, stick to tasks longer, and are more likely to complete an assignment. In addition, they tend to job hop a lot less. This is one reason smart employers know that by making work a happy place they can reduce turn over.
- Happiness Leads to a Higher Work Ethic – Most people think of work ethic as something you must suffer to experience, but for happy people, they tend to stick to their jobs longer and work even harder. The main reason is that they have the energy to do it and can envision the outcomes more positively.
- Happiness Is Not About Wealth – Everyone knows someone who has plenty of money but is not happy and maybe even hateful. They seem to have everything but happiness. Because of this fact, it’s clear that being happy doesn’t always directly correlate to the circumstances you find yourself in regarding your bank account balance.
- Happiness Colors the Lens by Which You See Life – The surprising truth about happiness is that if you practice happiness it will begin to affect how you see everything in the world. You’ll be able to pick out the most positive things no matter the situation.
- Happiness is About Today – Happiness is really all about today. If you’re happy today, you’re more likely to eat right, move more, get your work done, and do everything well. Naturally, that is going to affect the future too.
- Happiness is a Mindset – It’s hard to imagine it is true, but it is. Happiness is about your mindset. Thankfully, with work, you can train your mindset to be happier and more positive despite your current circumstances.
While bad things do happen to good people and can bring them down, the truth is, happiness can be experienced by most anyone regardless of where they are in life right now in terms of their success. It just requires that you accept that you can be happy, right now, without anything changing while also developing plans to make changes.
Happiness Can Improve Your Health
Happiness is an important ingredient in a healthy life. Many studies indicate that happiness plays a major role in your health, whether it’s living a healthy lifestyle or reducing the amount of chronic pain – happiness is the solution to many health woes.
Encourages Healthy Living
According to studies, happier people are almost twice as likely to eat more fresh vegetables than people who state that they are not happy. Eating more produce will automatically improve your health over eating a diet high in processed food.
When you tend to eat better, you tend to end up with more energy. It’s hard to imagine it but being negative or sad can literally drain your energy out of your body while being happy can give you more energy.
Eating better, moving more, and feeling happy will also increase your ability to fight off illness and disease because it improves your immunity. A study showed that people who report happiness tend to fight off illness faster than people who report sadness. They literally gave people the cold virus and the happy people were three times less likely to get the cold.
If you’re happy, you’ll have a lot less to keep you up at night, to worry about, and therefore you’ll end up with less stress. However, it goes farther than that because happy people tend to report less stress even when they are facing stressful things. Due to the strength that happiness gives you, you’ll experience less stress.
Protects Cardiovascular Health
Because you’re eating better and moving more due to your happiness, you are also protecting your cardiovascular health. You’re less likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke, or other issues related to heart health and the cardiovascular system.
Because you’re eating right, exercising more, and you’re feeling great about life, you will likely live longer. According to one long-term study that tracked the lives of 32,000 people to find out who lived longer, the people who report happiness, or the people who report being less happy. It’s not surprising that happy people tend to live 14 percent longer.
People who have chronic pain have a right to be mad about it or feel sad about it. However, the fact is people who report being happy tend to deal with their chronic pain (and other illness) better than those who were not happy to start with.
When you are happy, you’re more likely to eat right, drink enough water, and move. It’s mostly because you have more energy to do active things. If you are having difficulty maintaining your happiness, learn how easy it is to change your mindset. Happiness has nothing to do with your circumstances but everything to do with how you choose to react to them.
Self-Sabotaging Thoughts That Hinder Happiness
Most people go through times when they have trouble getting their thoughts to align with their intentions. When that happens, it can hinder your happiness. It can get in the way of your happiness because these types of thoughts are focusing on what’s wrong, what’s missing, or the negativity of the situation instead of the positives.
- I Don’t Like People – Many people, especially introverts, tend to focus their decisions on how many people will be around. They tend to make decisions that are not good for them because they are not comfortable being who they are. Turn that thought around to doing events but focusing on how you can give yourself care during anxious moments around people. It’s okay to be who you are.
- I Am Too ____ — Anytime you start a thought with, I am “too” anything you get into trouble. People often worry about things that no one else ever thinks about although sometimes one might worry about things that other people do think about. For example, if you find yourself saying you’re too fat, too dumb, too something — to accomplish a goal that you have you need to turn that around to setting up real steps that will get you to your goals.
- I’ll Do That When I ______ — You’ve probably said it before to yourself. “I’ll do that when I go back to school.” “I’ll do that when I clean the house.” “I’ll do that when I lose weight.” You know the drill. Unless you need to do the thing in the blank, don’t allow that to get in your way. If you do need to do it, just make a step-by-step plan to get it done.
- I Can’t Do _____ — You may have heard your child, or yourself, or someone else state that “I can’t do math.” Or “I can’t cook.” The truth is, no one can do any of that without learning how to do it. No one just pops out of the womb knowing how to cook, write, read, or do math. Anyone can learn whatever they want to learn given the time and effort to do it.
- Saying I Should ____ — Have you ever heard that it’s important not to “should” all over everyone? Not only is it a bad idea to create “should” for others it’s a terrible idea to create them for yourself.
- In the Past ___ — Dwelling on the past and what someone did to you in the past or what things were like in the past is not going to help you overcome self-sabotage. While it’s okay to use the past as a learning example, it’s not okay to use it as an excuse not to move forward. Remember you are only in charge of yourself.
- In the Future ____ — Just like you do not want to focus on the past you also don’t want to be overly focused on later. Today is honestly all you have for sure. Focus on today and tomorrow will take care of itself.
- If I Was More Like Them – Never compare yourself to someone else in a negative way. It’s okay to look at what someone has accomplished, learn how to do it too, and follow their footsteps but don’t wish yourself away as only you can be you.
Whenever you find you’re focused on a negative aspect of any situation, try to turn your mind around to focus on the positives. However, sometimes in life you’re going to experience a sad or negative time, that’s normal. It really is not about the ups and downs of life. Those are natural. It’s about how you comport yourself the rest of the time that truly leads to more happiness.