How to Be Happy
There are many questions that I believe one should ask in order to fill any potential gaps in their knowledge. One of the most important questions one should consider seeking an answer for is How do I become happy. I believe that it is every human’s mission to ultimately seek happiness. Understand that when I mention “happiness”, I’m not referring to a temporary experience of bliss that could come from buying a sought-after item or even the euphoric sensation that accompanies a fresh, new relationship. No, it’s actually much different.
What I’m referring to is what I’ll call “Absolute Happiness”. This could best be described as a sensation that would exist as an overwhelming satisfaction with one’s self and their circumstances. This doesn’t necessarily mean that only “good” things will be present.
(Personally, I don’t think such a concept is possible as both good and bad are relative, in my opinion).
The closest thing I can compare “absolute happiness” to is what the ancient philosophers called “eudaimonia”. Interestingly enough, it seems as though too few actually seek out a specific answer to the aforementioned question. Why? That’s a good question that I don’t quite have a definitive answer to. Perhaps the nature of an abstract concept such as happiness makes it difficult to locate a proper starting point. Or, perhaps we, as a society, assume we can reach happiness through other means such as wealth accumulation, romance, or by accomplishing a single goal.
Seems logical enough, right?
Well, contrary to whatever belief we have, there is quite a bit of research on the topic of what truly constitutes happiness in an individual. In fact, a formula has even been developed.
This formula for happiness: H = S + C + V comes from the book, The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist and Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business.
To elaborate, the variable H, S, C, and V stand for Happiness, Biological Set Points, the Conditions in your life, and Voluntary Activities respectively. Briefly summarizing, the book indicates that some humans by default are pre-programmed to live happier lives in our society. One’s brain can be wired to be more prone to depression, illness, or other factors that would be considered undesirable. However, those afflictions alone will not make or destroy happiness.
One needs to also be aware of the conditions in their life which could include (but aren’t limited to) crowdedness of an area, the work we choose to do, and the relationships we choose to make/keep. Finally, he further explains that the actions you choose to take part in daily can influence happiness.
Choosing to be altruistic, pursuing goals, and seeking out personal development can greatly improve happiness. Meanwhile, putting yourself in dangerous scenarios or engaging in knowingly self-destructive habits can diminish the quality of your life.
I won’t go too much further into Professor Haidt’s research because I don’t think I can adequately summarize the concepts presented in this book. I will say, however, that seeking out happiness should certainly be an active goal in every individual’s life. I highly encourage everyone to go out and pick up a copy of Professor Haidt’s book The Happiness Hypothesis. I think the information within the book is fantastic while also being written in a way that’s easy enough to grasp and think critically about. If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can use the link below to purchase it through Amazon.com. By doing so, you’ll also be supporting the website as Amazon provides an additional kickback to me (at no additional cost to you).
As a challenge, I think it would be beneficial to think more about what would make you “happy”. And to specify, I don’t mean happy in the moment, but rather happy for the long haul. Let me know what you come up with, I’d love to share. Stay positive!