Finding Happiness in a Perceived Unhappy World
Most people want to experience happiness. For far too many, it is elusive in their attempt to achieve it. What exactly is happiness? Asking what makes you unhappy is fairly easy to answer. Asking what makes you happy is a bit harder to answer.
Top economist Lord Richard Layard and his team of experts researched the best ways to achieve happiness and found some interesting results. They include the following:
Income inequality had just 1% of the impact on one’s ability to experience happiness. So much for the theory that money can buy you happiness. Education also had a very small effect on life satisfaction. Findings, however, revealed positive social relationships were important.
Social relationships do not necessarily mean being an extravert who is involved in many outside community activities. It can mean being an introvert with one or two very close relationships. The number of friends doesn’t equate happiness but the depth of that friendship does. A close relationship can be with someone you can be yourself with, who you can trust and count on, no matter what.
Therefore cultivating close relationships is one of the best emotional investments you can make. Seek out people who are positive in life and avoid those who are negative about life and others. In seeking out those positive individuals, you will soon reap the rewards of more positive emotions. And as you become happier, you will attract similar people.
Mental and emotional pain, as well as physical pain, can both affect happiness. As a result, depression and/or anxiety can ensue, thus adversely affecting one’s ability to properly self care, to function socially and to be motivated to make healthy choices. leading to happiness.
Attitude also affects feelings of happiness. It is especially true if you’re prone to be negative about things. If you are focused on what goes wrong and minimize what goes right, one can easily take those positives for granted.
Thus, happiness can begin by consciously pushing yourself to begin to recognize what you should be grateful for. This can begin by reframing your thinking and becoming more aware of what you learned through experiencing life each day. Even past mistakes can be jumping off points for new learning.
Also, finding your purpose in life can be critical to finding happiness and fulfillment. It is not unusual to ask yourself, “Why am I here on this earth?”. This is especially true if you experience more than your share of bad fortune during your life time. But regardless of your bad fortunes, your existence here on this earth is a miracle in and of itself. We tend to take that for granted but still being around in spite of all the pitfalls, barriers and setbacks makes you a survivor.
So what do you do with the time you have left on this earth that will make you happy? An answer can be finding a purpose or meaning that will float you through the ups and downs of life. What makes it difficult in finding an answer to this question is that “one shoe doesn’t fit all”. The answer is unique to each of us.
Setting and achieving small goals each day can help you achieve eventual fulfillment and happiness. The world is full of things that we need to know and do. Motivate yourself to question and research answers that will enlighten and help define you. Life is short. Don’t waste time. Accomplishing a little every day will act like solid building blocks.
Be aware that we can easily we waste time living a life imposed on us by others. We become characters, playing a part for so long that that we lose sight of who we truly are. In truth, we are all broken, Yet in that brokenness we are each uniquely special. Happiness is taping into that specialness, not judging it as wrong, too odd or different from the norm. When finally embracing the essence our unique specialness, we need to give it away to others, thus leaving this world a bit better than when we first came.
Finally, happiness is like a subtle breeze on a summer day. You feel it but you don’t know definitively from where it came. Going after happiness directly, will undoubtedly result in your falling short and being sorely disappointed. Happiness, rather, comes upon you subtly, as a byproduct of embracing life on your own terms, in spite of its contradictions, paradoxes and its maze of ambiguities.
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