What is happiness?

Happiness is a concept that is often spoken about but frequently misunderstood. It’s feels like a fleeting moment in time that is constantly being chased but never fully captured. Defining happiness is a challenge in itself because it can mean different things to different people. The first step in finding happiness is to understand that you and only you can define what it means. The sooner you take the time to stop searching for it and start doing things that make you come alive, the closer you become to being happy.

When persons think about happiness they tend to tie it back to specific experiences in the past. For some persons, their childhood is an abundant source of happy memories (no doubt in part due to the lack of responsibilities!). For instance one of my most vivid memories being happy was going to Disneyland with my family. I remember eating donuts, ice-cream and candy in between getting on my favouriteroller coaster rides. I have a clear image of laughing with my siblings and spending the whole day fascinated with all the characters and activities taking place. Whatever memory you have of being happy, it was probably as a result of being in a state of appreciating that moment in time. However with all the responsibilities that come with getting older,you tend to lose this ability to appreciate the smallthings. Spending the time to be grateful for the seemingly insignificant things in life can change your wholeperspective on happiness and put you in a frame of mind to truly be happy.

A common pattern that evolves when discussing happiness is the notion that happiness is tied to a specific tangible outcome or material. I too am guilty of this, I think “Well if I had a few more thousand dollars I would be completely happy” or “If I lost 10 more pounds I would be so happy” and there is also the common “I just wish I was in a relationship”. While it is good to continually improve in all areas of your life, dwelling on the things that you don’t have can cause you to lose sight of how far you have come. Remember that at any given point in your life you are where you are supposed to be. Be grateful for how far you have made it and make small changes to create the life you truly desire. Often times these desires are a result of external pressure that influences you into thinking that you need these things in order to be happy. Blindly following these desires can be misleading as you will eventually realize that once you accomplish these goals you aren’t any happier than before. Now while I do believe that happiness can be derived from accomplishing goals,true happiness comes from enjoying the journey more so than the achievement itself. Happiness comes from within; it is the belief that no matter what circumstance you encounter in life you will choose to see the rainbow in the clouds.

The truth is that happiness is a state of mind thattranscends whatever situation you are in. If you look for experiences or situations to make you happy you are going about it the wrong way. Happiness is an inside job, so don’t keep looking for external factors to provide your true inner joy. Have the courage to look within yourself and ask yourself what you truly need to be happy. No life will be without its ups and downs, but creating the ability within yourself to see the blessings in the small things will go a long way in sustaining your pace of mind.