What Does It Mean to Be Happy?
What Does It Mean to Be Happy?
Happiness. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, happiness means ‘the feeling of being happy’. And the definition of happy is: ‘feeling, showing or causing pleasure or satisfaction’. But what doe it mean to be happy? Should you constantly feel joy? Should you always be laughing and smiling? There has become an intense need for people to be and stay in a happy state. But we all know, that’s impossible. Sooner or later something will be thrown in your life that will almost destroy your happiness. How do we deal with that? What will it take to get our happiness back? Happiness is not all about money and/or popularity. It is more complicated and interesting than that. There is not “one” rule of how to be happy. We have all got our own definition of it from our experiences, from the things we’ve learned to the thing we’ve lost. If there is one thing to define it with, it will be trust. Doing the things that scared us basically. Although happiness is, as I said before, different for everybody, we can’t study happiness without a little bit of generalisation.
There has been a lot of research on the concept of happiness. Most of the results confirm a great deal of things we already know. But then again, there were also surprising results. We all know that, generally, people who are in a relationships are happier than those who are not. Sick people are not as happy as healthy ones. Active religious people are happier than those who aren’t interested in it. And money may not bring happiness, but rich people are happier than poor people. And we are able to add a lot more things to this list. Astonishingly, people are very bad at estimating what will make them more or less happy and how long that happiness will last.
They anticipate that certain positive occasions will make them happier than those occasions actually do. They also expect negative occasions to make them unhappier than those occasions actually do. Researchers showed that, for example passing or failing an exam have less impact on our happiness than people think they eventually will. The effect of experiences almost never affects us for more than a couple of months. When something positive happens, we celebrate for a very short period of time. Likewise, when something bad happens, we sober for a short period of time. Afterwards, we pick ourselves up and get on.
Imagine you have your happiness and you actually are happy. How do you keep it? How do you make sure it is not being destroyed by whatever will happen? None of the studies I found had completely similar outcomes. But there were some things most of them had in common. First of all, happy people are positive thinkers. Or as Miley Cyrus said: ‘You can’t live a positive life with a negative mind.’ They make it a priority to see the blue sky through the dark clouds, even when no one else can. Furthermore, happy people do not dwell in the past. Happy people don’t relive bad things over and over again. They do not let regret and guilt sadden them. Happy people live here and now and they enjoy it. And if here and now is not filled with happiness right now, it will be tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, or the day after that. They believe that everything will be okay in the end, so if it’s not okay, it’s not the end.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 4 November 2016
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