More to happiness than positive thoughts
People may tell you to think “happy thoughts” or to think positively if you want to be happy. And they would be right, and, they would be wrong. Happiness is a mindset, a powerful feeling. If you want to be happy it takes more than just positive thoughts. It also takes positive action.
While the dictionary defines happiness as “the state of being happy” which gives you very little information about the idea or feeling of, or state of happiness. Let’s look at some different things that happiness can be, but realize that in truth, happiness is in the mind of the beholder.
You have what you need
When a person is happy, they usually don’t even have any needs that aren’t being met to the level they want them to be met. It doesn’t mean that someone is not having a hard time it’s all about how you make what you have fill your needs.
You feel satisfied
When you are happy you tend to feel simply satisfied with your life. You think about your life and feel good about it. You feel very satisfied when you look around your life and see all the fortune you have whether it’s where you live, who you live with, or just about yourself doesn’t even matter.
A happy person tends to feel really content about the things in their life. They feel content about their job, their home, their things, their health – nothing is nagging at their mind about anything causing stress. But remember happy people do have stress, they’re just better at feeling content even when things aren’t perfect.
You feel peaceful
A happy person often feels a lot of peace surrounding their life and family. They tend to know that everything will turn out okay and are good at turning negativity into positivity.
You define your happiness
The truth is, happiness is how you define it personally for you. It’s not about getting tons of stuff unless you want that. It’s not about finding a spouse unless you want that. It’s not about having kids unless you want that. It’s all up to you and your definition of happiness.
It’s a journey
Happiness is not a destination that you get to one day and stay at. It’s a lifelong journey that will have many ups and downs and struggles. However, overall the ups and downs of life, you manage to feel good about it. In the 1989 movie, “Parenthood” one of the main characters, a mother, who is struggling states that she loves “the roller-coaster” of life while her husband is struggling and not as happy because he focuses on the downs instead of the ups.
How you act
When you are happy you tend to act in more positive ways over all. When happy, you eat better, you move more, you think differently. Don’t worry. You have it in your power to be happy where you are in your life right now.
Happiness is more than thinking positive thoughts. Happiness is having your needs met, but it’s not about having everything, or even the best, it’s about being satisfied with what you have while also being able to work for the things you want. While you do have to do more than think positively to really and truly feel happy, it does start with your thoughts. However, it will manifest with your actions.
For another look at happiness see my past post, Acting How You Want To Feel.
Five ways being happy is important
You probably have happiness as one of your life goals, whether it’s explicit or not. It’s probably up there with being healthy, wealthy, and wise! There are some solidly good reasons why it’s important to be happy, and some of them will surprise you.
1. Happiness feels marvelous
Happiness is wonderful purely for its own sake. When you’re happy, you feel energetic and content. All is right with your world, and you naturally want to spread your good vibes.
2. Being happy is good for your overall health
When you’re happy, you flood your brain with endorphins and other positive hormones like dopamine and serotonin. Your stress levels go down, along with your blood pressure and your heart rate.
Happy people are more resilient in the face of life’s stress; they tend to be better able to roll with the punches and come up smiling. If you’re happy, you’re less likely to suffer from heart disease, inflammation, and chronic disease. You’ll age better and even live longer!
3. Success doesn’t mean a thing without happiness
Every day you can read about successful, wealthy people whose lives are out of control due to the pressures of celebrity, drug addiction, or alcoholism. Their success hasn’t automatically meant happiness for them. So, if you think that being rich or having a new car or being famous will make you happy, think again. If you hate your life, no amount of success will bring you joy.
4. Happy people have better relationships
Happiness is contagious and attractive. We see happy people as more trustworthy and stronger leaders. They are also likely to have a wider circle of friends, have better interpersonal relationships, and are more likely to have a romantic partner.
5. Being happy makes you a nicer person
It seems that happiness and empathy are linked. Happy people are more likely to share their good fortune and help others.
Happy people are also less violent and more peaceful. Researchers think that positive emotions make us more likely to seek a win/win solution and change the way we think.
“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions”.
Dalai Lama XIV
Four truths of happiness
Stop for a moment and think about what true happiness is. Guaranteed it’s not a new car or a big house. True happiness comes from within and isn’t dependent on possessions. You can find real happiness in the following truths.
1. Happiness is found in a full life
You can be happy even if things in your life aren’t going the way you planned. A full life has ups and downs, setbacks as well as achievements. Happiness means finding meaning in whatever is happening around and to you. Being grateful for whatever you’re experiencing will make for a happier, more satisfying life.
2. Your happiness doesn’t depend on other people
Often people put their happiness in the hands of others. They need external validation to feel good. But relying on other people’s good opinion of you isn’t a healthy way to live.
Check in with how you feel deep in your heart, do the best you can, and let other people worry about themselves.
3. Happiness is not pretending
Social media is full of people pretending to have perfect lives. They don’t. No one does. The happiness you see on TV or your social media feed may be genuine, maybe not. But remember everyone is showing the best of their lives. Likely a lot of them are pretending to be happier than they are. No one is going to post their latest fight or talk about being fired.
So, the online world you see, that’s full of promotions, and happy families is an illusion. The real world is much more nuanced, and real happiness doesn’t happen in a bubble.
4. Your happiness comes from within you
It might sound like a truism/cliché, but true happiness does come from within yourself. If you expect someone else to make you happy, whether it’s a partner, friend or child, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. And giving them an unrealistic and unfair responsibility. The only person responsible for your happiness is you.
True happiness comes from a deep connection to yourself, from self-knowing and self-acceptance. And once you have that, all your relationships will be energized and happier.
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