What Is Happiness?

What is happiness? Happiness is one of the most misconceived states of mind. Most people cannot tell the difference between joy and happiness. They think that they are happy when they are joyful while in the real sense, they are not. Others think that the absence of the everyday problems that afflict the people in the world creates happiness.

Happiness is not joy, neither is it the absence of problems. Happiness is the capability to accept the issues that are there in life. In the real sense, there must be problems in life. This means that for people to lead a perfect life, they must be able to deal with the problems that come up in life. This is because, when the problems remain unsolved, the soul and the spirit tend to be in a state of disharmony which makes happiness elusive.

When the problems are left to accumulate, they disrupt the bliss that is supposed to be there in life and this creates a state of unhappiness. When problems are properly tackled in real-time, people derive happiness from the efforts that they have put into solving the problem. The world we live in is full of problems. However, do you think people would be happy if the world was devoid of problems? Certainly not. Life would be so boring and there is no happiness in boredom. Ideally, the biggest part of life is spent solving problems. People go to work to solve a problem. Students go to school to solve a problem. We eat to solve a problem.

How the problem is solved is the one that determines whether people will be happy or not. Hardworking employees will be happy when they are promoted to the next level in the workplace. It is their manner of solving a certain problem that has helped them to attain that happiness. The industrious student will be happy if they score the highest grades in the class. The student went to school to solve a problem of ignorance. However, it is how they solved the problem that brings happiness at the end of it all. The relationship between solving problems and happiness is very deep. This is because in most cases, happiness is brought about by results.

For results to come out there must be an effort put in by someone and for the effort to be applied, there must be an existing problem that needs a solution. This is why in most cases; the laziest people are the unhappiest in society. This is because they rarely get results. After all, they hardly put any effort to solve problems. People who run away from problems will often find happiness running away from them. This is because, just like lazy people, they rarely get results because they haven’t put any effort to solve a problem.

Happiness is the ability to separate the inner self from the outer self. Many people err by thinking that happiness is an external concept. That person who is always smiling is not always happy. When you see someone dancing enthusiastically, shouting and laughing around, you may think that they are happy but it is not necessarily the case. Some smiles are faked and others are naturally there regardless of whether one is happy or not.

Some people dance enthusiastically and laugh to drown their sorrows meaning that it is very hard to tell whether someone is happy through what they exude externally (Cloniger,2004). The truly happy people are likely to be more subtle and gentle in their demeanor because they are already at peace with themselves. Some people seem happy through their outwards looks, but in the real sense, they have never had true happiness in their lives.

Happiness cannot be pursued. It is something that comes naturally to people who already have the inner qualities that are necessary for happiness to thrive. People do very many things “in pursuit of happiness”, but in the real sense, there is nothing like the pursuit of happiness. The so-called pursuit of happiness creates more complexities to a mind that is already complicated and the most ridiculous thing is that these complexities are the actual sources of unhappiness. One cannot attain happiness through acquisitions (Pausch, 2008). Some think that wealth translates to happiness. This is one of the greatest misconceptions because statistics have never shown a positive correlation between immense wealth and higher levels of happiness. The number of people with immense wealth who have managed to be truly happy is very small.

It is important to understand that wealth comes with a very big burden. This burden is one of the things that disrupt peace of mind. Without peace of mind, it is hard for happiness to thrive in a person. This does not mean that people should not aspire to be wealthy. It is good to be wealthy but people should realize that some things are higher than material possessions that are required of an individual for happiness to thrive in them.

Happiness is a state of mind. It is a gift that human beings can easily achieve if they let their modes of thinking assume more positive angles. Hasty and negative conclusions should be avoided (Pausch, 2008). Happiness comes when one thinks about a daunting situation in its entirety and this helps to reveal a new angle that will make one understand the circumstances behind the situation. If one cannot get happiness from the things around them or the attributes that are inside them it is highly unlikely that they will find happiness from the things that are away from them. A story is told of a man who heard that there were gold deposits in a certain part of his district.

He sold his land and embarked on a mission to discover and exploit the gold. He spent more than three years moving around the district in search of gold but unfortunately, he didn’t find the gold. A month after giving up the search, Gold was discovered in the land that he had sold initially. The moment it was announced that there is gold in his district, this man did not think that this gold could be found in his land. That is why he sold his land and went looking for gold elsewhere. An analogy can be drawn from this story and applied to happiness. Most people never realize that they can find happiness within themselves.

That is why they look for happiness in other people or material things and most cases, they end up disappointed because as indicated earlier, happiness cannot be pursued (Hills, 2002). The people who can find their inner selves and draw happiness from what they have instead of looking for happiness in other people and material things are the happiest in life. James Oppenheim once said that the fools look for happiness far away as the wise breed it under their feet (Pausch, 2008).

One cannot attain happiness without accepting the situations that exist in their life. Happiness comes from counting one’s blessings instead of focusing on the woes that are there in their life. If one believes that they have plenty of blessings and give thanks for the blessings, they are bound to be happy. However, in this materialistic world, people are living in the rat race. They fail to see the gift of health that they have, the gift of good and loving families, and very many other blessings that they have. They tend to compare themselves with others and feel that they are not blessed if they happen to own less than the others (Kipfer, 2007). This is the main source of unhappiness.

One source of happiness is good health. This means that happiness can be attained by those people who practice behaviors that result in good health. People who watch what they eat tend to be happier than those who eat junk food which later brings forth diseases and complications. Avoidance of substances that are harmful to one’s health will ultimately bring happiness because they can maintain a perfect state of health. Abuse of drugs and alcohol may bring joy to the abusers, but joy is not happiness. Happiness is a long-lasting concept while joy lasts for a short moment. Drugs are like the laughing gas that was formerly used as anesthesia (Pausch, 2008).

They give one a good feeling that can be easily be confused with happiness. Just like the gas gives a good feeling so that the patient can let the doctor work on their body, the drugs create this feeling of happiness when they are working harmfully in the body and the results cannot bring any happiness. Exercise is another activity that ensures that one stays healthy. People who are in perfect shape tend to be healthier than those people that have weight issues and the latter group is not as happy as the former. For one to stay healthy, the soul, the body, and the mind must be in perfect shape so that they can manage to work coordinately as a single unit. Anxiety does not go hand in hand with happiness which means that emotions that tend to drain one’s psyche may distract one’s path to happiness.

Another thing that brings happiness to a person is the acquisition of new skills and abilities (Barnet &Bedau 2010). This is because; new skills and abilities bring about satisfaction which is directly proportional to happiness. Self-development initiatives will automatically make people feel better about themselves and their lives become more exciting. This means that happiness can hardly exist in people who have allowed themselves to stagnate because a stagnant life is boring and as indicated earlier, happiness and boredom do not go hand in hand. Happiness comes to people who allow themselves to evolve because evolution leads to the expansion of the mind which opens one to newer worlds with higher levels of satisfaction hence more happiness.

Giving is another thing that creates a happy life. The best kind of gift that one can give is love. When you love and the people you love back, happiness comes automatically. Giving to the less fortunate also creates happiness. Giving is a refreshing act. A person who gives is like a freshwater lake that gives out water as it receives. This means that when you receive and give, your life tends to become fresher and this is a good ground for happiness to thrive in (Pausch, 2008).

Happiness is not something that can be obtained through force (Klein, 2006). Trying to get happiness forcefully is like trying to extract water from a rock. This means that one cannot force himself or herself to be happy. It is a natural state of mind that comes slowly to those that have the ingredients that happiness needs to thrive in. one of these ingredients is simplicity. There is a very big correlation between simplicity and happiness (Hibert, 2006). This is because there is less worry in simplicity and this less worry begets more simplicity. With this simplicity, one becomes more content and the contentment brings happiness. This means that complicating one’s life to attain happiness is an exercise in futility. Complications create worry and worry creates distress which leads to unhappiness.

Happiness also comes to people who have a good relationship with their God. This is because such kind of a relationship creates a philosophy of life that generates happiness from the deepest parts of one’s soul (Koenig, 2001). This relationship creates peace of mind and a sense of well-being that help someone to flow in a direction of faith. A direction of faith always keeps away the streams of discord that may bring distress to one’s life. Having faith in God helps one to stay on the surface even in times of strong currents because the peace of God is there to guide them in the right direction.

A good relationship with other people is also a source of happiness. This is because this relationship helps one to benefit from the best that others can offer and others also benefit from the best that in that person. This relationship creates a conducive atmosphere that allows happiness’ to thrive. When interpersonal relationships are sour, happiness always eludes the people because the intrigues and the controversies created by strained relationships create very infertile grounds that cannot in any way generate happiness.

In conclusion, many people have struggled to attain happiness in their lives but few have managed. This is because people do not know what happiness is in the first place. Secondly, people tend to create happiness by force. People should adopt philosophies of life that will attract happiness to their lives automatically. They should also learn that external appearances that indicate joy are very deceiving because joy does not always translate to happiness. Material things can bring happiness but only in the short term which means that the pursuit of wealth and material possessions cannot bring true happiness to a person’s life. Finally, happiness thrives in simplicity, good relationships, good health, and an open mind.

References

Barnet,s &Bedau,H. (2010). Current Issues and Enduring Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking and Argument, with Readings. NY: Bedford/St Martins.

Cloninger, C (2004). Feeling Good: The Science of Well-Being. Oxford:OUP.

Hilbert, D. 2006. Stumbling on Happiness.Berkeley: Knopf.

Hills, P., (2002). “Psychological Wellbeing”, The Oxford Happiness Questionnaire: a compact scale for the measurement of psychological well-being. Personality and Individual Differences, 33, 1073–1082.

Koenig H.G (2001). Handbook of religion and health: a century of research reviewed. New York: Oxford University Press.

Kipfer, B. (2007). 14, 000 Things to Be Happy About :N:J: Workman.

Klein,s. (2006). The Science of Happiness.London: Marlowe.

Pausch, R. (2008). The Last Lecture. Michigan: Hyperion.