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Finding Happiness…

Happiness is a state of being. It is a pleasurable emotion that can be exhilarating, delightful or peaceful.

It is a state of mind which originates internally. External possessions and things do not bring true lasting happiness, it merely serves to provide brief pleasures and distraction away from the various unhappy aspects of life. After a short while however possessions lose their appeal and many people deal with this by buying more new things, thus becoming a never ending cycle.

There is a huge list of human emotions that we can feel. Take happiness for example. There is happiness, ecstatic, cheerful, relaxed, excited, exhilarated etc. All those emotions are unique in their own way but we usually label it happy. The more type of emotions we feel, the more colourful our life experience will be.

There are two types of happiness. The short term happiness gained from external things or circumstances and the long lasting satisfying inner happiness that comes through acceptance of self and living congruently with one’s life values and purpose. Obviously we should focus more on trying to achieve long term happiness rather than short term. Some examples of happiness are :

  • Waking up every morning and feeling grateful to be alive;
  • Having direction and meaning in your life;
  • Knowing that what you are doing is making a difference, either in your life or in the lives of others;
  • Feeling at peace with yourself and the world around you;
  • Feeling joy and bliss without having to rely on external things or circumstances.

In a Buddhist view, ultimate happiness is only achieved by overcoming cravings in all forms.

In 1943 Abraham Maslow published a conceptualization theory of human motivation. Below is a pyramid demonstrating this.

Deprivation Needs

The first four levels are considered deficiency or deprivation needs in that their lack of satisfaction causes a deficiency that motivates people to meet these needs. Physiological needs, the lowest level on the hierarchy include necessities such as air, food and water. They tend to be met by most people, but they become predominate when unmet. During emergencies, safety needs such as obtaining love and intimate relationships or close friendships become important. The next level, esteem needs, includes the need for recognition from others. confidence, achievement and self-esteem. The highest level is self actualization or self fulfillment. Behavior, in this case, is not driven or motivated by deficiencies but rather one’s desire for personal growth and the need to become all the things that a person is capable of.

We have the ability to have happiness within us. We don’t need external things from our environment to feel happy. Though it is true that these have an impact to a certain extent, it is also possible for a person to have nothing to be joyful, while another person who has everything may feel miserable and wretched inside. The main reason why some people are happy is because they have a different attitude or mindset to unhappy people. They look at the world differently, they think differently and they interpret experiences differently. They have a different philosophy on happiness.

Below are some examples of ways in which we can obtain long lasting happiness
  1. Gratitude. Always remember to be grateful for what you already have; if you usually don’t take time to remember and be grateful for what you already have, what would be the point of striving for future achievements, experiences and possessions? You’ll just most likely forget about it after it has been achieved.
  2. Music. Music can have a spiritual property that allows it to influence and impact our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self. happy uplifting music communicates directly to the heart of our being and brings out joy and happiness.
  3. Inspirational stories, happiness poems and quotes. Just like music, literature speaks directly to the heart of our being. A touching story, quote or poem is able to affect millions to appreciate life and experience joy.
  4. Smiling and Laughter. These are the expressions of happiness. Contrary to the belief though, you don’t just laugh and smile when you are happy inside, it also works the other way round. This means that by smiling and laughing you can make yourself happy too. The connection of laughter and smiling is a two way road.
  5. Do something you love, a hobby or activity that you enjoy and allocate time for it. Everyone has a natural interest, passion and inclination. You may be born with it or you may have discovered and developed it throughout the course of your life. One thing is for sure, indulging in this interest brings joy and happiness.
  6. Surround yourself with beauty. Learn to appreciate nature, art, music, theater. Great beauty has a distinctive quality that calms the observer and brings peace and happiness. As human beings, we can’t help but be in awe and inspired by objects and works of great beauty. The human spirit responds to great beauty,
  7. Help others, nothing gives greater satisfaction, meaning and happiness that sincerely helping another human being and seeing their appreciation as well as the impact it has on their lives. Many great men have said living is giving. Helping others and contributing to society can bring about more happiness.

So it can be seen that the above are easily accessible and available to us to help bring out the happiness within us. This shows that happiness has and is always with us, it’s just that often were too busy with all the going-ons in life that we forget all about happiness.

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