Happiness is an enthralling and enigmatic state that philosophers, theologians, psychologists, and even economists have long been curious about. And, since the 1990s, a whole branch of psychology has been devoted to defining it—positive psychology. Happiness is more than a nice feeling; it is a condition of well-being that comprises living a good life, meaningful and filled with genuine contentment.
Americans’ reduced level of happiness towards the end of 2019 is consistent with Gallup’s research showing that Americans’ stress and concern levels hit record highs in 2018, while their self-reported anger reached a new high. Globally, the United States had one of the highest rates of stress. And the United Nations’ annual World Happiness Report, which incorporates Gallup’s life satisfaction ratings, classified the United States as the world’s 19th happiest country last year – down from 18th in 2018 and 14th in 2017.
Unfortunately, there is a biological reason why happiness is so difficult to come by. Our brains have evolved to help us survive, defend ourselves, and maintain our safety. There are seasons of happiness and bliss in our lives, and there are also moments of joy. On the other hand, many of us suffer from persistently unpleasant emotions.
How to Pursue Happiness
Attaining happiness is a universal goal. Researchers discover that people from all over the world value happiness more than other desirable human outcomes, such as riches, material possessions, and entrance into heaven.
Happiness does not occur due to jumping from one joy to the next; experts have discovered that gaining happiness frequently entails periods of significant misery. Your genetic makeup, life circumstances, accomplishments, marital status, social contacts, and even your neighbors all affect your level of happiness. Alternatively, it may be. Likewise, unique methods of thinking and expressing feelings exist. According to research, a large portion of happiness is under one’s control.
Gratitude is a way of expressing appreciation for one’s blessings. It is an acknowledgment of value that goes beyond money. It is a declaration of good and warmth that comes from within. In evolutionary terms, it stems from the value of assisting others and receiving support in return, which is essential for survival.
According to recent research, gratitude is linked to specific parts of the brain. Gratitude-inducing tasks have been shown to have long-lasting effects on the prefrontal brain, which is more sensitive to subsequent gratitude experiences.
Gratitude is discovering the source of that goodness. We acknowledge that the origins of kindness are external to us.
It was not the result of anything we achieved that we might be proud of. We can appreciate our positive characteristics, but genuine gratitude entails an acknowledgment of our humble dependence on others: We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you follow a spiritual path—gave us numerous gifts, large and small, to assist us in achieving the goodness in our lives.
While perfectionism is frequently viewed as a desirable attribute that boosts your chances of success, it can also result in self-defeating beliefs and habits that make achieving goals more difficult.
Additionally, it may result in tension, anxiety, sadness, and other mental health problems. Those who strive for perfection due to emotions of inadequacy or failure may benefit from speaking with a therapist; this can frequently assist individuals in managing excessive self-criticism.
Accepting that we are not perfect and do not have to imply that we are abandoning all of our ambitions and dreams. Rather than that, we allow ourselves the flexibility and permission to pursue our goals without fear of the outcome affecting our self-worth.
Take action in energy management
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, energy management refers to the concept of scheduling your work and productivity according to your energy levels.
This is in contrast to, say, time management, which organizes your work around your calendar. Or project management, in which your productivity system is hyper-focused on the individual project.
According to the Harvard Business Review, energy is defined in physics as the capacity to operate. In humans, energy is generated by four distinct sources: the body, emotions, mind, and spirit. Each of these areas can benefit from systematic expansion and renewal of energy through the establishment of specialized rituals—behaviors that are deliberately practiced and precisely scheduled with the purpose of making them unconscious and automatic as rapidly as possible.
Exercise is beneficial to the mind. Have you heard of endorphins? The pituitary gland produces these hormones in the brain and the central nervous system. Their primary purpose is to block pain signals and provide euphoria. This is what makes you joyful instantly and for an extended period.
Exercise may remodel the brain in favorable ways, such as by stimulating the formation of new brain cells or altering brain chemicals in ways that promote good feelings. Exercising stimulates the release of endorphins, the so-called “feel-good” hormones. Dopamine is a reward chemical that the body produces. All of which have significant mental health benefits.
Along with food choices and stress levels, physical activity has a tremendous effect on mood and can help minimize your chances of anxiety and depression. Hence, you must subscribe to activities that will boost your health and fitness.
Have fun with friends
While friendships can significantly impact your health and well-being, developing and maintaining friendships is not always easy. Recognize the critical role of social connection in your life and how you can foster and maintain long relationships.
Good companions are beneficial to one’s health. Friends can help you celebrate special occasions and lend a helping hand when times get tough. Friendships alleviate isolation and loneliness and provide an opportunity for you to provide much-needed companionship as well.
Stress can sap our energy and leave us cranky and irritable. An increase in energy and vitality often occurs due to successfully reducing stress. There is a long-held belief that children and their early years of development are associated with having fun and playing.
Even if you aren’t a scientist, you undoubtedly already know that a great way to combat stress is to engage in something you enjoy. Laughter has been shown to positively impact our ability to deal with stress in numerous studies. You can try having fun activities such as watching movies, hiking, or even installing a prank calling app! Pranks are a great way to induce a significant amount of laughter and memorable moments.
Choose happiness today
The first step toward a happy life is determining what matters to you and what you value in life that provides you joy and happiness.
You are not required to have all the answers, but you do need to understand who you are and how you wish to spend your life.
Happiness can only enter your life when you accept who you are and strive to be the best version of yourself. Until you achieve that condition of belief in yourself, living a happy existence will be entirely out of reach at points in your life.