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Happiness, What Does it mean to Live a Happy Life?

Happiness, What Does it mean to Live a Happy Life?

We stay in a happy-obsessed society, continuously bombarded with joyful smiling faces on TV or billboard advertisements telling us their model of happiness.

Even worse than this, we see our personal pals on social media posting pictures of their ridiculously glad lives; however by no means sharing any uncooked emotions of what’s actually happening of their lives.

It’s an unstated regulation that all of us need to be comfortable however the actuality is that the majority of us haven’t considered what happiness means for ourselves.

I used to assume if solely I had the proper of job, the suitable group of associates and the fitting companion, then I might be joyful. I labored so arduous chasing these objectives. I noticed happiness like reaching the height of a mountain…

All I needed to do was work actually exhausting, obtain all my objectives after which I’ll be completely satisfied.

And that’s precisely what I did. I labored actually arduous and obtained to the highest of the mountain. However on the prime, I didn’t discover what I used to be on the lookout for…

What I truly discovered on the prime of the mountain was a disappointment. I had labored so onerous to overcome my objectives and the belief that I nonetheless wasn’t joyful made me much more sad. However little did I do know it, I had no concept what happiness was.


There are in all probability as many definitions of happiness as there people on the planet however broadly talking, trendy psychology categorizes happiness in two elements:


Experiencing constructive feelings like pleasure, pleasure, and pleasure
We’re all accustomed to such a happiness – good meals, nice intercourse, new garments, walks on the seashore, scorching oil massages and puppies, numerous puppies. That is what’s continually marketed to us and what we consider once we see our completely happy smiling pals on Fb.


Dwelling with a way of satisfaction and achievement with life
We’re much less accustomed to such a happiness as it isn’t as simple as getting a therapeutic massage or hugging a heat pet. Slightly it includes a deliberate means of self-discovery and cultivating the appropriate psychological attitudes to reside a cheerful life regardless of the ups and downs of on a regular basis feelings.

Let’s discover these…


Think about if there was a machine you possibly can plug your self into that made you are feeling pleasure and pleasure 100% of the time. Higher but, you wouldn’t know you have been plugged in so you’d haven’t any emotions of guilt. Would you plug in or keep in your present life?

The reply you give this query can reveal rather a lot about how you are feeling about happiness as an emotion.

In the event you requested me this query shortly after I had completed climbing my mountain of happiness, I might have virtually definitely stated sure. It’s because I noticed happiness solely as an emotion that I needed to really feel regularly. If I used to be not experiencing emotional happiness within the type of pleasure or pleasure recurrently, my conclusion was that I’m not pleased and that one thing is fallacious.

This is the reason I chased aim after aim, mountain after mountain pursuing the great emotions a brand new job or new journey vacation spot gave me. However the good emotions didn’t final. Earlier than lengthy, the feelings of pleasure and pleasure would dissipate and I used to be again to the place I began taking a look at a good greater mountain to expertise extra pleasure in my life.

This can be a widespread path to happiness for many individuals. “If solely I’ve *fill within the clean*, then I’ll be pleased”.

The apparent drawback with this strategy is what psychologists name hedonic adaptation – the concept regardless of how good one thing makes us really feel, “more often than not we drifted again to the place we began, emotionally-speaking. One often-cited research famously confirmed that regardless of their preliminary euphoria, lottery winners have been no happier than non-winners eighteen months later. The identical tendency to return to “baseline” has been proven to happen after marriage, voluntary job modifications, and promotions—the sorts of issues we often anticipate to vary our happiness and well-being for the higher in a everlasting method.” Heidi Grant Halvorson Ph.D.

This isn’t to say we shouldn’t benefit from the pleasures of life, we completely ought to have fun getting that new job and we should always cherish each second of the honeymoon interval of a brand new relationship. Nevertheless, we ought to be acutely aware that experiencing these brief time period emotional highs doesn’t equate to long run happiness.


One other unlucky consequence of seeing happiness solely as a constructive emotional state is that we ignore or suppress another feelings that don’t make us really feel good. All of us need to really feel pleasure and keep away from ache, that is regular. What’s not regular and is moderately unhealthy is persistently avoiding or suppressing troublesome or damaging feelings.

The truth of life is that all of us expertise troublesome feelings and circumstances. Individuals get sick, we lose our jobs, relationships disintegrate, issues break, shit occurs.
Put extra elegantly by Murphy’s regulation “no matter can go mistaken, will go flawed”
In his guide, The Happiness Lure, Russ Harris writes:

“The extra we attempt to keep away from the essential actuality that each one human life includes ache, the extra we’re more likely to wrestle with that ache when it arises, thereby creating much more struggling.” – Russ Harriss

Equally, in Buddhism, it’s believed that “life is filled with struggling” and that our struggling is brought on by our “attachments” – beliefs we maintain in our minds about how life should be. And one of many largest attachments we’ve is the will to really feel pleased on a regular basis. This unhealthy want to really feel completely satisfied on a regular basis paradoxically results in struggling and unhappiness within the face of inevitable adversity and Murphy’s regulation. We really feel sad as a result of we really feel we shouldn’t really feel sad.

In my very own pursuit of happiness, I discovered the extra I chased glad emotions, the extra I uncared for coping with the troublesome or adverse feelings in my life. However these troublesome emotions weren’t going away and solely began to build up…

Even worse than suppressing these feelings was judging myself for having these undesirable feelings. “Why am I feeling down? I must be completely happy proper now”.

However somewhat than judging or suppressing troublesome or destructive feelings, what helped me immensely was simply accepting my feelings and letting go of my expectations that I have to really feel glad on a regular basis. Somewhat than turning a blind eye to my field of undesirable feelings, I sat down, opened the field and listened to what every emotion needed to say.

And the extra I began to simply accept these uncared for feelings, the extra at peace I felt with myself and the much less strain I felt to really feel glad; which paradoxically made feeling completely satisfied a lot simpler.

While none of us need to expertise unhappiness, it’s a reality of life that we’ll. Accepting unhappiness or troublesome feelings is just not the identical as wallowing and indulging in them. Relatively it’s studying to acknowledge that it’s wholesome to expertise the complete vary of feelings as a human being. And that these feelings don’t have energy over us. We will observe feelings however we aren’t our feelings. And in due time, each emotion will come and go. No mind-set is everlasting. Clinging on to constructive or destructive feelings is a idiot’s recreation.

Notice: Experiencing adverse feelings is a part of life, nevertheless, in case you are experiencing feelings like unhappiness, hopelessness or nervousness persistently regularly and this impacts your day by day actions, we advocate you attain out to your native physician and search applicable assist to raised perceive the basis explanation for your feelings.


Happiness as an emotion is straightforward sufficient to understand. We’re taught from kindergarten: “when you’re glad and you realize it, clap your arms”

What’s extra obscure and categorical is: “when you’re glad, content material and grateful in your life and you already know it, clap your palms”

It’s troublesome as a result of life satisfaction is decided virtually solely by the contents of our minds with no seen indicators on the surface world. It’s attainable to be a raging success on the floor and really feel utterly dissatisfied with life, however it’s additionally potential to don’t have anything within the materials world and be utterly glad with life.

Philosophers, psychologists, religious gurus and that uncle at each banquet have all their views on what provides us satisfaction in life however the actuality is that life satisfaction is a cake it is advisable to bake your self. There isn’t a cake on the market with the right record of elements which might be going to fulfill everybody’s style buds. It is advisable to go by yourself self-discovery journey to seek out what brings you to satisfaction and contentment.

I discovered my listing of components by means of a mixture of studying a tonne of books (see useful resource part on the finish of this text), reflecting for lengthy durations of time in silence, touring and chatting with a variety of individuals from youngsters to ninety-year-old monks about what provides them satisfaction in life. While no record can ever seize each facet of life satisfaction, under are a few of the strongest elements which have reworked my satisfaction with life and should make it easier to in your journey:


“The least of issues with a which means is value extra in life than the best of issues with out it.” – Carl Jung

A scarcity of which means in life can convey nice dissatisfaction, as I’ve personally skilled. For lots of 20s, I struggled with a deep hollowing feeling of meaninglessness. On the floor, I might maintain myself busy with chasing after objectives and achievements however deep down I had a way that one thing was all the time lacking. There was no which means, no clear sense of objective in my life. I spent years working in giant corporations climbing the company ladder. However I by no means acquired any sense of function from what I used to be doing. I stored considering to myself, there needs to be extra in life than constructing colourful spreadsheets and powerpoint slides.

This isn’t an unusual state of affairs in our society, particularly within the youthful generations: doing a job that pays the payments however offers little to no sense of which means or objective (for a deep dive into this: learn our complete publish on function right here).

For me personally, I selected to give up my job in company and take day without work to mirror on what I discovered significant. After a yr of touring and reflecting, this journey leads me to what I’m engaged on now: co-founding conscioused.org, an open supply, a self-organized various to college. (extra on this right here: conscioused.org/about)

However deriving a way of which means doesn’t simply come from work. We discover which means in relationships with family members, by means of parenthood, spirituality, contributing to others or just by means of the truth that we’re alive. Finally every one in every of us is liable for creating our personal which means.

“There’s not one huge cosmic which means for all; there’s solely the which means we every give to our life, a person which means, a person plot, like a person novel, a ebook for every individual.” ―Anais Nin

The great thing about happening this journey is that we’re all in it collectively. Not a single human got here into being due to their very own selecting. Nobody requested you for those who’d wish to be born. Your mother and father introduced you into the world, and your mother and father have been the results of their mother and father, and so forth. In a wierd cosmic sense, each human alive at the moment is in the identical boat. All of us ask ourselves: Why am I right here? What’s the which means of my life?


I all the time thought gratitude was reserved for blindly optimistic or wishful thinkers who couldn’t get what they need in life in order that they have been pressured to be grateful for what they do have. I assumed clever, pushed individuals don’t want gratitude, they only have to work more durable and attain their goals.

This was till my mum dropped this bombshell on me:
“When you can’t be pleased about what you have got now, you’ll by no means be comfortable”

This got here as a shock to me as a result of on the time I used to be busy chasing yet one more mountain of objectives, solely targeted on the life I needed to create for myself sooner or later; solely targeted on what I didn’t have…

Once I made the choice to apply gratitude every day, I felt as if a brand new world had opened as much as me. I might out of the blue see issues that have been invisible to me earlier than. The extra I practiced gratitude, the extra I began to watch the sweetness and blessings I had in my life and the extra I felt content material with my life.

I began with writing three issues I used to be grateful for each morning once I awakened. This easy activity made a big distinction in how I felt about my life. I discovered my thoughts was always on the lookout for issues to be pleased about so I might write them down the next day. Gratitude slowly turned a part of my mindset, one thing I did with out acutely aware thought.

With out gratitude, it’s troublesome to think about a lifetime of satisfaction. Regardless of the place we’re in life, we’ll all the time want one thing extra. Gratitude includes taking a step again in our lives and acknowledging and being grateful for all of the individuals and conditions that we’re blessed with.

Being ungrateful is straightforward. Take being alive. How a lot cash is your present degree of well being value to you? If the richest individual on the planet provided to purchase your arms from you, how a lot would you promote them for? What about your eyesight or your sense of odor?

I’ve requested numerous pals these questions the solutions usually vary from a couple of million dollars to “No sum of money might purchase that”. But it’s so straightforward to take as a right what’s proper beneath our nostril.


“It’s the moments that I ended simply to be, quite than do, which have given me true happiness.” Richard Branson

Take into consideration the voice inside your head who’s reacting to the phrases you’re studying proper now. I’m chatting with the narrator in your head, sure you!

“What narrator are you speaking about?” is strictly what the narrator in your head would say.

It’s estimated we have now between 20,000-50,000 ideas each single day, however don’t fear you’re not loopy (or perhaps we’re all loopy). 2500 years in the past Buddha referred to as this phenomenon: monkey thoughts. He noticed that the human thoughts is crammed with drunken monkeys, leaping round, screeching, chattering, all clamoring on your consideration. You simply have to take a seat silently for a number of seconds so you’ll be able to hear them.

This isn’t to say that having ideas is dangerous and we should always have much less of them. Our big brains are the first cause we’re alive at the moment. Eager about the previous provides us immeasurable alternatives for studying and progress and excited about the longer term permits us to think about and create our future visions. The issue arises once we are over-thinking or worst unaware that we’re considering and have let the monkeys go wild in our minds.

When our thoughts wanders, we lose contact with the current second and go into infinite thought loops concerning the previous or future.

“Unease, nervousness, rigidity, stress, fear – all types of worry – are brought on by an excessive amount of future, and never sufficient presence. Guilt, remorse, resentment, grievances, unhappiness, bitterness, and all types of unforgiveness are brought on by an excessive amount of previous, and never sufficient presence.” Eckart Tolle

Empirically, we spend no less than 50% of our waking time thoughts wandering not targeted on the current second; and the influence of this on our self reported degree of satisfaction is obvious…

(Watch this TED speak for extra analysis on this)

We now have come a great distance since Buddha, but his teachings on meditation stay as one of the efficient methods to calm the monkeys in our minds and achieve extra presence and satisfaction in life. There at the moment are lots of of research proving the bodily and psychological advantages of meditation and different mindfulness practices. We’ve written a information full with stick figures on find out how to type recurring mindfulness follow right here.

“In case you are quiet sufficient, you’ll hear the movement of the universe. You’ll really feel its rhythm. Go together with this stream. Happiness lies forward.” – Buddha


Finally every considered one of us is liable for making our personal happiness cake; one crammed with components that give us true satisfaction and contentment.

However even with this good life satisfaction cake, we’re sure to expertise unhappiness and ache in our life. That is a part of the human expertise. Equally, we’re sure to expertise immense pleasure and pleasure in our life. True happiness isn’t about being caught up in these emotional highs and lows of life. Somewhat it’s studying to benefit from the highs with gratitude and settle for the lows with self-compassion.

Most necessary of all let’s not overlook to share the love with one different 

“Hundreds of candles could be lit from a single candle, and the lifetime of the candle won’t be shortened. Happiness by no means decreases by being shared.” – Buddha

We might love to listen to from you about your personal happiness journey within the feedback under. What’s inside your happiness cake?

| Article offered by Ari Yeganeh

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Danor Aliz is a life-style journalist who enjoys writing about every little thing luxurious. Her favourite topics are luxurious journey and every part that has to do with trend. In her spare time, she loves to color and in addition enjoys her time strolling her canine Daisy.

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