What Does Happiness Feel Like?

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, what you do is in harmony.” This is a quote by Mahatma Gandhi which is commonly used around the world to describe what happiness is. The disciplines of psychology, philosophy, biology, and religious studies have all tried to define what happiness is. Let us draw from these different fields of studies to try a better understanding of what happiness feel like.

According to Joan Chittister, a Benedictine nun, happiness is not measured by the amount of success one enjoys but rather a quality that should be learned (2011). In the modern times that we are living in, happiness is defined as measurable, which can be used for our convenience and comfort. In materialistic societies, it is believed that happiness can be purchased through money. Happiness and pleasure are two words that are commonly misinterpreted and the ability to distinguish between the two words is important. Pleasure is a sense of gratification and is temporary, even though at times feels like a permanent feeling. Happiness, however, is made up from experiences that satisfy us on a deeper level and brings an overwhelming feeling of contentment.

From a psychological point of view, the feeling of happiness varies from one person to another. Numerous studies have been carried out to try and find out common events that characterize the feeling of happiness. Theories on positive psychology show humans are happy when they accomplish their goals, enjoy solid social ties in society, engage in rather challenging activities, and have a sense of belonging.

Studies to show the connection between religion and happiness have also been carried out. Buddhism teaches that happiness is achieved when we learn to overcome all forms of craving. Kosmin and Lachman (1993) conducted a survey cited in the Handbook of Religion and Health which showed that people who belong to a form of religion are generally more happy than those who do not belong to any form of religion. Highly religious people tend to be more content in life, do not abuse drugs, and are motivated.

Often, people describe the feeling of happiness as having a good job, affording an enjoyable lifestyle and having successful relationships. A prudent example can be when you visit a charity or take a vacation with friends and family.

There are six components agreed upon which show how one can achieve happiness:

Physical Exercise

Keeping fit is essential in feeling happy. It boosts self esteem and locks out negative thoughts and keeps you healthy.

Gratitude

Appreciating the small events in life. Being thankful for what we have makes us aware of who we are as humans and unlocks our potential.

Simplicity

True happiness is found in simplifying our lives and not accumulating wealth or gaining fame.

Living in the Heart

Involves being tolerant and embracing acceptance. Sometimes we need to view life like a child.

Control Over Thoughts

Thoughts materialize. It is important to train ourselves to think positively and we should be careful what we allow ourselves to think about.

Active

Happiness is felt when calm and active. It is at this state we find our inner selves and know our purpose in life.

The feeling of happiness is abstract and can be described in many different ways. However, the true feeling of happiness cannot be measured. As has been shown in this essay, there are a number of ways in which we can measure happiness and its resulting effect on life. However, there is still much to debate about what happiness is exactly and what are its causes.We can agree, however, that it is a general sentiment that consumes someone and fills them with nothing but infinite gratitude and contentment. It is dependent upon each one of us to make a choice of wanting to experience what happiness truly feels like.

References

Chittister, J. (2011). Happiness. Grand Rapids, Mich, W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.

Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement (2008). The 6 Components of a Happy Life – Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. [online] Retrieved from: http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/the-6-components-of-a-happy-life. Accessed 18 Mar 2013.

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