Aristotle said, "to be happy is the whole aim and end of human existence." Even if we are only in the process of intentionally working toward becoming a happier person, the results of this effort makes us feel better, boosts our energy, immunity, and creativity, while strengthening our relationships and productivity, and most importantly lengthens our life span.
Where does happiness come from? There are several different hypothesis related to this question. One is that, happiness comes from, getting what you want, however, such happiness is thought to be short-lived. A more promising hypothesis is that happiness comes from within and can never purely be gained from the world around us; as in material or professional success. "The good life consists in deriving happiness by using your 'signature strengths' to forward knowledge, power, or goodness. A life that does this is pregnant with meaning, and if God comes at the end, such life is sacred." (Martin Seligman, Authentic Happiness).
Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, an author and a psychology professor from UC Riverside, found through research that, "happier people are more sociable, energetic, more charitable, cooperative, and better liked by others." They show "more flexibility and ingenuity in their thinking, and greater productivity in their work." Happier participants in her research studies were "better leaders and negotiators . . . more resilient in the face of hardship, had stronger immune systems, and were physically healthier." People engaged in behaviors which categorized them as genuinely happy showed heightened "feelings of self-confidence and self-esteem," and in their lives, they benefited themselves and had a positive impact on the lives of their families, friends, communities, and the wider society. Happiness is defined as the experience of joy, contentment and positive well-being, combined with a sense that one's life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.
Most assuredly, cultivating these behaviors towards authentic and lasting feelings of happiness is a worthwhile commitment and endeavor.
Dr. Deepak Chopra wrote that, he had gotten into the habit of asking his patients why they wanted to achieve some particular health goal. "Why do you want to lower your blood pressure?" he would ask. They would usually answer that they wanted to overcome a certain condition and prevent disease. He would then ask again "Why do you want to overcome such and such?" The patient might say because he wanted to live long enough to see his grandson graduate from college. Next, Dr. Chopra would ask "Why do you want to see your grandson graduate from college?" And the response was, "Because I would be very happy." Thus, he got the idea of helping his patients get to experiencing happiness at all stages of their lives. He would then teach his patients, basic meditation techniques which allowed them to feel the blissfulness of the inner spiritual self at all times.
It is therefore obvious, internal peace is the bottom line when it comes to happiness. We humans are forever in the pursuit of feeling at peace with ourselves and the world around us. However, as for me, I still ask, "And why do I want to feel peaceful?" And the always ready answer is, "so that I may remain happy!"
I have discovered that each time I am there for someone, I feel a deep, ineffable sense of happiness. I encourage you to take at least one tiny step toward an important situation in your own life, make a change from your usual reaction to a more expressive frame of mind, about what you believe will make you the happiest! Whether or not, others involved in this situation respond positively-the most important thing is, that you feel a deep inner sense of goodness, peace, and contentment (happiness) in having been able to bring to life, what you cherish most in your heart.
There are many things you can do to be happy. Here are some of my personal favorites.
1) Expressing Gratitude
2) Living in the Moment
3) Savoring Life's Joys
4) Learning to Forgive
5) Practicing Acts of Kindness
6) Avoiding Social Comparisons
7) Nurturing Social Relationships
8) Being Empathetic
9) Cultivating Optimism
10) Mindful Meditation