The Happiness Secret

‘I’m so happy!’ – You’ve heard it or said it a million times and it really does mean that temporarily you may be elated with an item or a situation, but what is the deeper meaning of happiness and how can you set yourself up to be consistently ‘happy’?

The Oxford dictionary states ‘Happy’ as a feeling of pleasure or contentment and when it comes to our state of well-being, content is a perfect place to be. That’s not to say you shouldn’t have goals or climb the achievement ladder but nailing a general state of contentment can equal happiness.

Alone vs Loneliness

For almost all of us, spending time alone is nirvana. A hot soak, a mindful meditation or a solo walk gives us time to reset our thoughts and have conversations with ourselves that can be self-affirming and essential. Loneliness is very different, and you can easily feel loneliness in a crowded room.

A 2019 report in Scientific American found that almost half the US population felt the crippling effects of loneliness. The report stated that the prolonged isolation and loneliness had the potential to shorten life span by 15 years, “equivalent in impact to being obese or smoking 15 cigarettes per day”.

Finding your tribe and having a human connection is literally lifesaving – step outside of your comfort zone to strike up conversations or join a group in an interest that lights your fire.

Buy the bag but know the reason

The world of materialism is a tricky beast, and we all want to have nice things. We subconsciously follow Maslow’s hierarchy of needs from physiological needs of survival – air, water, and food right up to self-actualisation and self-esteem; those who accept themselves and are not ashamed or guilty about being human with shortcomings, imperfections, and weaknesses. Somewhere in between, we can get caught up in materialism and potentially feel that ‘things’ will make us feel better.

They do. Temporarily. If you are looking for a way to embed more happiness in your life, invest in experiences and memories rather than things – planning a holiday for months and revelling in the trip itself is far more rewarding than the instant gratification of material objects. We’re not saying don’t buy the handbag, just don’t rely on the handbag for true happiness.

Adversity Builds Resilience

Could you imagine being in a stranger place than if everyone was in a positive permanent lockstep? No stories of trials and tribulations, no struggles and no heartache? It sounds like it could be amazing, but the truth is, these adverse situations make us stronger and more resilient as we grow into our lives. Having a bad day, going through a relationship break up or falling on challenging times make an easy pit to fall into negative outcomes and self-talk. But like love and joy and happiness, these downward emotions are needed to become rounded humans.

The next time things aren’t rosy, try and overlay your emotions with a growth and learning attitude. Think ‘you win some, you learn some’ and do your very best to grow from your adversity.

Happiness isn’t cracking jokes or being deliriously elated every day. Set about making positive changes to your emotional and physical needs and you will find that contentment and happiness really do come naturally.