Happiness - Defining and Conquering the emotion with 7 simple science backed ways in achieving it
Updated: Nov 4, 2020
Happiness, it is the state of being we all constantly strive for in our daily lives. I mean, who doesn’t want to feel the comforting hold that this simple yet pleasurable emotion brings? It’s one of the holy grails to the meaning of life, isn’t it? So, what exactly does it mean to be happy, can we even control this emotion?
Simply put, Happiness “is a state characterized by contentment and general satisfaction with one’s current situation”, according to Courtney E. Ackerman, famed author and writer with PositivePhyschology.com. (1)
It’s important to recognize that happiness is not some permanent state of being that only a few lucky people seem to have. Although, interestingly enough - this may have been the mindset of our ancestors - the word “happy” originates from the word “lucky” in most languages, therefore it’s believed they may have viewed happiness as a by-product of luck! (1). But back to present day, with a hundred years of psychology and scientific study under our belt. So, what types of situations and choices can make us happy? Are we born with it, is it actually attainable?
Well it’s a bit of both, according to numerous scientific studies, happiness is half biological, and half environmental. (2) Okay, so what are these environmental factors, you say?
Success, wealth, beauty, power - if we can just achieve it all, surely will be happy, right?
Nope, wrong, although some people may find some of those attributes BECAUSE of their happiness.
Happy people tend to be more successful: from quality relationships, to satisfying careers, and economic stability.
Happy people also have better health: they're sick less often, eat healthy and exercise more, and live longer.
Happy people are more productive and creative: holding positive influences among others, practice gratitude, and engage in more meaningful relationships and conversations. (1)
While these situations seem to be characterized as a product of happiness, we can see that mindfully practicing some of these characteristics may in fact, bring us happiness!
We all go through significant life events that may take a toll on our well being, and we all get carried away in the monotony of surviving the routine of everyday life.
Today in our gadget filled world, we are now witnessing the emergence of science-backed apps out there promising to help us quickly control and achieve happiness in the palm of our hands (pun intended), like Misu (6) - a facial recognition app that monitors our moods by reading our expression while you work, to Happify (7) - an app that promises to help you build skills with psychologically researched activities and games. But there are proven ways to take the reigns of your happiness and truly conquer the emotion the good ol’ practical and old fashioned way.
Here are 7 sure ways to create happiness in your everyday life.
Practice Gratitude - we may not have it all, but being grateful for what you do have, maybe it’s your health, a supportive family member or friend, the kindness you experienced from the stranger at the grocery store today - there are numerous things in your life that may be taken for granted, but that in the big picture make life better and should be recognized. Research shows that keeping a gratitude journal or writing it down, saying a simple thank you - is a sure way to happiness (3)
Do things you Love - for me its being in nature, and reading a good book. It’s easy to lose yourself in the day to day of life, but holding on to yourself, and the simple pleasures that bring you instant gratification is a sure way to achieving happiness. (4)
Maintain quality Relationships - toxic people - OUT! Maintain and appreciate those family ties. Choose partners and friends that truly care about you, remember its QUALITY over QUANTITY. (4)
Don’t be afraid of Change - sure it can be destabilizing, but pushing yourself to achieve small goals, and finding the courage to knock out the obstacles however big or small is a sure way into finding fulfillment, purpose and being the best version of yourself (4)
Less is More - When it comes to material possessions, research has shown that the fact a possession can be bought easily means it will never be savored. And savoring something is associated with bringing happiness and creating happy memories. Ditch the fancy cars and purses and perhaps spend that money on something you may actually savior - be it a special family vacation, or spending that money on someone who deserves something special (5)
Helping others - Weather it’s volunteering or helping a friend or family member in need, the simple act of giving and being selfless provides instant gratification, as well as appreciation for what you have. (3)
Negativity, Out! - (5) It’s difficult to manage the negativity. Try to take a step back and evaluate it with outside eyes, focus on the why. Understanding our instinctual negative emotions, be it annoyance, hurt, or anger, may help us to both overcome and learn from them. (5)
Misu is a new app designed to give you a snapshot of your mood throughout the day. It uses an algorithm to rate your mood based on snapshots of your face and allows you to measure which tasks affect your mental health the most.
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