If you ask people, what is happiness and what does it means to them, you will probably receive many different answers to your question.
Some would say that happiness means being wealthy. Others would say that for them, it means to be healthy.
You will also find people saying that for them happiness means having love in their life, having many friends, a good job, or achieving a certain goal.
There are people, who believe that the fulfillment of a certain wish would create joy and contentment in their life, but this is not always true. Often, when we get our wish fulfilled, we just move to the next wish, without even enjoying and celebrating our achievement.
As you see, different people interpret this word in different ways.
To most people this word signifies a good feeling, satisfaction, pleasure or fun.
You may enjoy a good meal, a movie, a show or a vacation, and you may have fun at a party, but this is pleasure and fun, not necessarily happiness.
Pleasure and fun depends on external factors, and often relate to the five senses. However, the feeling and mental frame we are talking about here is something different.
What Is Happiness? – Definitions
What is the definition of happiness? Can happiness be defined?
Is it just a good feeling, joy, satisfaction or more?
People throughout the ages have asked these questions. They have wondered what is this feeling of happiness, what makes it arise, and how to hold it longer.
Is happiness a physical reaction, the effect of certain hormones in the body? Is it dependent on certain external circumstances, or is it some kind of inner, mental, emotional or state? All these could be triggers that lead to experiencing it.
Happiness often comes and goes. It comes, stays for a little while, and then some negative feeling replaces it and it is gone. Does this mean that we have no control of happiness and we cannot lengthen its duration?
What Is happiness According to Various Sources
Happiness definition according Wikipedia, Merriam Webster and other sources.
Wikipedia defines happiness as, “A mental or emotional state of well-being which can be defined by, among others, positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.”
Wikipedia also says, “Philosophers and religious thinkers often define happiness in terms of living a good life, or flourishing, rather than simply as an emotion.”
In an article on forbes.com, George Bradt writes that a survey of Harvard’s class of 1980, concluded that, “Happiness comes from choosing to be happy with whatever you do, strengthening your closest relationships and taking care of yourself physically, financially and emotionally.”
The same article says that 2015 Survey by Grant and Glueck studies shows:
- 67% of those extremely happy said the happiest period of their lives is now.
- 77% of those extremely happy said the state of their relationship was either the “greatest” of “very good”.
- 93% of those extremely happy said they are in excellent or very good health.
Merriam Webster defines happiness as, “A state of well-being and contentment.”
What is happiness according to vocabulary.com? “Happiness is that feeling that comes over you when you know life is good and you can’t help but smile. It’s the opposite of sadness.”
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I would like to suggest another definition for happiness, which I found from experience. This is a different definition, which I have written about in several articles and in my books.
“Happiness is a state of inner joy, which comes about when the mind becomes quiet, free from restless thinking and worries.”
People, who have been practicing meditation regularly, and who have learned to calm down their mind, would know exactly what I mean.
This might seem strange to you, but if you pay attention to your state of mind when you are happy, you would find out that this is true.
- How do you feel after a completion of a difficult task or of a goal?
- How do you feel when you solve a problem that has been bothering you for a long time?
- What do you feel when you are in love?
- How would you feel, if you get the job you wanted, a big sum of money, or a promotion at work?
In all these situations, you experience a feeling of relief, freedom and joy.
For a while, your mind is free from planning, thinking, anticipating and worrying. When this happens, for a while, you feel happy. For a while, there are no thoughts in your mind that attract your attention and you enjoy happiness.
What does all this mean? It means that happiness and inner peace are interconnected. When the mind is quiet, there is happiness, and when there is happiness, the mind becomes quiet.
When a problem disappears, when you achieve a goal and when there is love in your life, the mind becomes quiet for a while, and relieved of its restless and constant thinking. At this moment, the happiness that is within you rises up, since there is nothing to stop it.
Then, after a while, when the mind returns to its habitual thinking and worrying, you feel, as if happiness disappeared.
If you experience happiness when there is inner peace, it means that if you train your mind to be peaceful you would have more happiness in your life. I do not want to go deeply into this topic, since I have written about it in my articles about happiness and about inner peace, which can find on this website.
What Is Happiness and How It Improves Life
Here are a few additional definitions of happiness and its affect on one’s health and life.
- It is the experience of joy, contentment, and a good feeling about yourself and your life.
- It is a positive emotion that makes you feel good and satisfied.
- It is joy, satisfaction, well-being, and a sense of bliss.
- Happiness comes from within you, rising into your awareness, when the mind is calm and quiet.
- Happiness leads to good relationships, love and harmony.
- It leads to peace, joy, and a feeling of freedom.
- Happiness strengthens the immune system and reduces stress.
- Its presence makes you more positive and you expect good things to happen.
- When you enjoy this feeling, you become more tolerant and patient with people.
- You are in a better position to solve problems.
- Happiness neutralizes negative emotions.
- Happy people are positive, optimistic, tolerant and more patient people. They are helpful and it is easier to get along with them.
Tips and Suggestions to Follow
- To be happy, stop focusing on lack and on the things that you don’t have. It is better to thank the Universe for what you have, and focus optimistically on what you want to achieve. This is positive psychology.
- To become happy, you also need to calm your mind and your thinking. When you are calm you free yourself from stress and worry and are more relaxed. This brings a sense of contentment and inner joy.
- To be happy, start living in the present moment, not in the past and not in the future. With this state of mind, you focus on the now, instead of dwelling on painful memories and worrying about the future.
- Strive to be positive and stay away from negativity. This means you need to avoid negative thoughts about failure, problems and obstacles, and focus on solutions and improvement.
- Strive to take everything more easily, and avoid taking things too personally. This might not be easy, but with persistence you can develop this habit. Learning a little emotional detachment and learning to let go can definitely help.
- It is most advisable to learn to calm down the restlessness of the mind, and the tendency to think about problems and difficulties. This of course, requires some training, but the rewards are great. How do you do it? Through meditation and developing a certain measure of inner peace.
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