Sometimes, we may struggle with achieving happiness because of our ideas of what happiness means. However, we can change our definition of happiness to help ourselves reach a state of wellness. Think of happiness as an idea that you have the power to define and reshape based on where you are in life. Quiet the outside noise and look within yourself as you search to discover what makes you happy.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines happiness as “the state of being happy and an experience that makes you happy.” However, how do you know if you're happy or following others in their definition of happy?
Happiness is how you feel emotionally. Sometimes you feel joy, contentment, pride, or fulfillment. Sometimes when you say you're happy, you talk about how you feel in the moment. Other times happiness is a sense of general well-being. The root of the idea of happiness lies in having positive emotions.
How do you know if you're happy? A few signs of happiness include:
You feel your life is how you want it
You're satisfied with the people you know, your job, and your environment
Even if you identify yourself as happy, you can still feel sad, angry, bored, or frustrated. Being happy doesn't mean you can't experience other emotions.
There are different ways to think of happiness. Over time, philosophers, psychiatrists, and psychologists have divided happiness into these categories:
A brief moment felt in the moment
When you appreciate and are thankful for the things around you
When you're anticipating something positive; for example, graduating from school
When you accomplish something, you feel pride
Feeling satisfaction in your personal or public life defines contentment
A person who looks at life in an upbeat manner is said to be optimistic
One example of a different type of happiness is stoicism, a form of philosophy that focuses on the meaning of happiness. The Stoics taught that in order to reach happiness, it helps to live a virtuous life. To further explain happiness, they formed two types of happiness:
Hedonia (pleasure) is when you do what feels good, practice self-care, and experience satisfaction. Any event, person, or completed goal is an example of when you may feel pleasure.
Eudaimonia (meaning) comes from being virtuous. You look for purpose in your life and actions. Your happiness derives from committing to long-term goals, executing responsibilities, staying true to yourself, and caring about others.
Optimism can be important for some individuals and their happiness, while it may not be a part of their definition of happiness for others. When you define your own version of happiness, you can decide if optimism works for you.
Optimism is the idea that you find the good in the situation no matter what happens. On the other hand, if you think something went wrong or is bad, doesn't that mean you failed? Things happen, but that doesn't mean you failed, and you don't have to force yourself to think of the bright side. Instead, acknowledge the unexpected and your feelings.
Of course, you can always think of the positive or find the good in a situation. There's nothing wrong with searching for happiness when things seem bleak.
Maybe what you think will make you happy is the problem. For example, what would you do if you woke up tomorrow and were the only person left on earth? Would you worry about how big your house is or if you're wearing the latest fashions? No one would know where you live or what you're wearing, so you don't have to impress or keep up with anyone.
Now think about what you feel is meaningful. Is it volunteering, being a good friend, or being true to yourself? Once you answer, you will discover what holds value to you.
Because happiness is subjective, your happiness should reflect what you value in life. The Stoics believe if you live a virtuous life, you will find happiness. If you honor your values and work toward being the best version of yourself, you can achieve happiness.
Other ways you can help yourself achieve happiness include:
Removing barriers to happiness
Practicing looking inwards
Building your self-esteem
Taking time to appreciate yourself
If you struggle to find happiness and work toward achieving what brings you joy, help is available with SokyaHealth.
Rethinking happiness means tuning into your values and fundamental needs. You can choose to seek the objects or markers society defines as happiness or success. What if you find yourself unhappy? You may need to focus on yourself. Step away from what others expect from you and discover what you want for yourself. Finding yourself, meaning, or control over your life is vital in happiness. Spend the time you need to re-connect with who you are, who you want to be, and where you want to go in life. A healthy way to discover yourself is to reach out for help with SokyaHealth. We are here to guide you through your search to find your meaning in life. Our therapists and certified coaches provide the individual care needed to determine your values. We're here to help you navigate your search. To learn more about our services, call us today at (877) 840-6956.