For sometime now, “Happiness” has been a very heavy topic on my mind. Majorly because of my personal state of mind (I can literally call myself a Queen at mood swings) and day to day news too (especially the series of suicides and topics on depression trending everywhere). I struggled a lot with writing this post out of personal consciousness but after some random talks with a couple of people, I figured I really need to address it so I finally took time to look into the concept of happiness.
Happiness can be said to be relative in meaning because what it means to one person can be different to another, but, there are some generalized definition according to some scientific disciplines;
Psychology defines happiness as a mental or emotional state of well-being which can be defined by, among others, positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy and also to a sense of meaning and satisfaction from life.
Philosophy and (western) religion defines happiness in terms of living a good life, or flourishing, rather than simply as an emotion.
Economists also developed numerous surveys, indices, and equations to let us know which nations and people are the happiest. It is believed that factors like individual income, social security, employment, relationships, children, freedom, and leisure, have a big impact on our happiness.
In my opinion, happiness is a state of mind that you have to choose. It doesn’t matter what you see or hear, its a choice you need to be purposeful about. This, I can buttress from the psychologists’ view that says, circumstances are responsible for only about 10% of our personal levels of happiness. Studies have shown that regardless of what happens to people, their happiness levels tend to return to what they were before the event in about two months. This phenomenon is called the hedonic treadmill or hedonic adaptation (you should read about it). Another 50% of our happiness is said to be determined by our biology, and more specifically, genetically determined personality traits (being sociable, active, stable, hardworking and conscientious). And lastly, the remaining 40% of your happiness is determined by your thoughts, actions, and behaviours. This implies that, when you are deliberate about having/taking the right thoughts, actions and behaviours, Science agrees that there is a lot you can do to influence your happiness levels.
Contrary to what we’ve chosen to believe, we get used to our circumstances over time, so they don’t really affect our happiness level as we might think. And just as I’ve discovered, happiness is a skill that can be built/learnt with purposeful consistent practice.
You have all it takes to control how HAPPY you want to be and live a Fulfilled life.
To be continued. . .