For most humans, happiness is a Holy Grail and a lifetime search. Something most of us would like to achieve, something most of us think would make us feel better, and yet something many of us rarely achieve in any meaningful way.
The best way to achieve the best chance at happiness is to understand it. How it works, in our brains. The different meanings of happiness, and the paths to it. And how to train our brain to achieve maximum happiness with minimal effort.
So Let’s Start With Some Definitions
Happiness belongs to the realm of positive well-being and subjective well-being. Are your feelings about yourself, the world around you, your place in it, generally more positive than negative? And is happiness simply subjective – one person’s sense of well-being and contentment is different to another’s.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary’s happiness is simply “The state of being happy.” But it’s far more complicated than that.
For example positive psychology researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky defines happiness as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.” Check out her videos on The Science of Happiness at the bottom of this page.
The organization Positive Psychology suggests that:
- Happiness is a state, not a trait; in other words, it isn’t a long-lasting, permanent feature or personality trait, but a more fleeting, changeable state.
- Happiness is equated with feeling pleasure or contentment, meaning that happiness is not to be confused with joy, ecstasy, bliss, or other more intense feelings.
- Happiness can be either feeling or showing, meaning that happiness is not necessarily an internal or external experience, but can be both.
Why Is happiness so important?
According to Happify, a company focused on mental health and well-being, various research points to many advantages of a happier life:
- Happy people are more successful, at everything from relationships and marriage to income and career.
- Happy people get sick less often and are not as impacted when they do get sick.
- Happy people have more friends and real social connections.
- Happy people donate more to charity, and we know that giving and sharing make people happier about themselves.
- Happy people are more helpful.
- Being positive makes life easier.
- Positive people make other people more positive.
- Happy people have better conversations.
- Happy people smile more, which triggers lots of different benefits.
- Happy people exercise more often and eat more healthily.
- Happy people are happy with what they have.
- Happy people live longer.
- Happy people are more productive and creative.