Happiness has been a controversial topic for many years now. Some people believe it is an end goal while others take it as the beginning point to greatness. People usually draw happiness from different things. Generally, happiness has to do with an emotional and mental state of welfare that can be characterized through pleasant and positive emotion such as contentment and joy. However, happiness and its sources have been defined differently based on religious, biological, philosophical and psychological grounds. This essay seeks to demystify the puzzle about happiness and how it is attained.
One of the strongest theories used to discuss about happiness is positive psychology that has focused on cognition, personality and mood. Every person has an innate sunny disposition. However, researchers from different backgrounds believe that human beings can learn how to create more meaning and gratification in life. So, what is happiness? Can there be one definite statement used to define it? Well, most people believe that it is the thought of having a good life without suffering, having pleasure, prosperity and joy among other such like things. However, that cannot be enough to define happiness. May be it is just a part of it. People can still be happy even without material wealth. Again, not all rich people are happy. Therefore, happiness is more than what we think. It is not an end goal. Basically, it is something that is continuous and is founded on certain truths that go beyond having pleasure and getting tangible things that we ever wanted.
In the United States, the pursuit of happiness is considered a fundamental right for the Americans and has deeply preoccupied their minds. However, not every person understands what happiness is all about. Can it be studied or were people born with it? Is there a way people can be happier? It is not easy to define happiness because it is very elusive to attain it. People experience moments of happiness and can also say when they don’t feel happy. Positive psychology is a science that focuses on the virtues and strengths that make it possible for people to thrive. Happiness comes with the discovery of individual strengths and reinforcing them in life. It is a psychological wellbeing that brings internal satisfaction and not necessarily with the presence of material things. Happiness is pleasurable but most importantly, it involves engagement and finding meaning in life. People can choose to be happy even when all does not seem to work materially.
There are some people who seem to think that happiness is the result of all the right wheels turning at just the right time. You’re walking down the street, find twenty dollars, get a compliment from a stranger, meet the perfect guy or girl (and don’t totally make a fool of yourself), go to your favorite store and get 50% off, etc., etc.
It’s easy to be happy when everything seems to be going your way, but I think that defining happiness that way reduces it to a by-product of luck, or an accident, which it is not. In fact, I might even argue that luck is a byproduct of happiness, if I was in a particularly feisty mood.
Happiness doesn’t just happen.
Some days are good, but there are probably more days that are just mediocre or plain bad, and it’s on those days that the true nature of happiness is revealed. Have you ever met someone who stayed positive, even when they’re having a bad day, and everything that can go wrong seems to be going wrong? If you’re having a bad day, too, just being near someone like that can be uplifting (although for others it is annoying, but that usually just stems from jealousy).
People who are able to smile even through the worst of times have learned a very important lesson, the same lesson I stated above: Happiness doesn’t just happen.
Happiness is choice.
That’s right, a choice. Not an accident, not a charitable gift from the universe. Of course, it’s nice to receive those gifts, and easy to be happy when you do, but happiness is about choosing to see the adventure in every moment, choosing to understand that there will always be a light after the dark, that there is always good in every situation and every person, no matter how grim things may seem.
That’s the key to happiness: choosing it. It’s not an easy choice all the time, and it very well may be the last thing you want to do sometimes. When grief strikes, or when you just can’t seem to catch a break, sometimes you just want to sulk and stay upset, perpetuate the sadness. It’s a natural response, but it isn’t a required behavior, it’s a choice. And choosing to be happy will make you a better, stronger, wiser, more longsuffering person.
We always have the choice to be happy. Learning to change our attitude is frustrating, but worth it in the end. When we choose to be happy, things tend to work in our favor, and luck seems to be on our side; and even if things don’t happen the way you want them to, if you choose to be happy, you can accept situations for what they are and make the most of life, no matter the hand it deals you.
Photo by Jack Batchelor