Many articles and books have been written on the subject of happiness. To be happy is something we all strive to achieve. We also do our best not to be- or become- unhappy. As with optimism, happiness has a lot to do with physical and emotional well-being.
When asked about a person’s happiness, the answers provided are most interesting:
Some qualify their answer saying something like – “I am happy in my current relationship but not in the work I do”. Others see happiness as something that lies somewhere in their future. In this regard they may say: “I will be happy when I meet my future partner “, or “I will be happy if I can write my Grade 12 this year”. Yet others may talk about happiness as something which stands in some comparison. They may say: “I will be happy if may family or house can be as beautiful as that of the Smith’s on Facebook”.
We understand therefore that our perception of happiness may be that it lies somewhere in the future, that is has to be qualified in comparison to others or is seldom absolute.
Using the principles found in positive psychology one can also talk about other sources of happiness. These sources require essential self-awareness in order to utilise the opportunity it provides to each of us personally.
Hedonistic happiness accepts the fact that we can find a form of happiness in the smell of pancakes; and the sense of wind through your hair whilst driving on your motorbike. This type of happiness is fleeting and ever evolving. There is however nothing wrong with enjoying, within limits, these sensory pleasures and it can add to an element of happiness, joy, and satisfaction.
The happiness that comes from flow experiences can also be enjoyed. Losing all sense of time, being absorbed in an activity that you enjoy can also bring happiness. Such experiences could be found in hobbies such as tinkering in the garage or bottling pickles or jam. It can also be found at work where certain tasks whilst possibly being exhausting, can exhilarate (excite, thrill) you at the same time. Make sure you are aware of which types of activities can provide you with flow-related happiness. Invest in these activities as often as you can.
Having a sense of meaning and purpose in your life can provide deep happiness. This is why some people in difficult circumstances can still report that they are happy. The interesting thing about giving time to support others is that the benefit back to yourself may be more than the effort you put in.
Happiness has everything to do with our mood and to manage our mood optimally require us to continuously work on our happiness. Whilst we have little control over external influences on our happiness- we can take responsibility to cultivate our own happiness continuously.