What is Happiness?
Jan 30th, 2019
Now that’s a question that philosophers, academics, self-help gurus and marketing execs have been wrestling with for millennia.
According to Paul Dolan, in his book, Happiness by Design, happiness is experiences of pleasure and purpose over time.
We are all aware of the happiness that those moments of pleasure give us and we can all identify times and experiences in our lives that we’ve experienced happiness. So understanding happiness should be easy right?
Well, in our modern world we’re inundated with social media influencers telling us their lives are never-ending moments of joy, spending their days running from one incredible experience to the next and that they’re eternally happy. More and more messaging tells that happiness should be a permanent state, enlightenment here on earth and that if just work harder, follow the guidance in that book, buy this thing, then you’ll break through and everlasting happiness will be yours.
Chasing everlasting happiness is a fool’s errand tho, much like a dog chasing its tail, you’ll just go round in circles trying to achieve the impossible, getting increasingly frustrated at yourself and your seeming inability to achieve what everyone else has.
Realising that happiness is temporary, a momentary emotion that comes and goes with experiences and our responses to those experiences, we can begin work to cultivate more of those experiences that bring us moments of happiness. There are opportunities to find little moments of happiness every day in the most ordinary of situations, we just have to learn to appreciate them when they present themselves.
Mindfulness, the process of paying more attention to the moment and feeling fully present, is a fantastic tool to increase the number of pleasurable experiences that bring happiness. Fully concentrating on eating an apple, enjoying its succulent juiciness and sweet, acidic balance, rather than just biting into one whilst checking your emails or watching Netflix, can bring a moment of happiness and pleasure.
There’s no magic key, so secret hack that you can only find by subscribing to someone’s training program or thing you can buy that will give you everlasting happiness. With a little work, well focused mindfulness at the right times and a positive attitude towards the experiences that life throws your way, it is possible to find pockets of happiness all over the place.