Happiness has always fascinated me. It has usually been a large part of my general nature throughout my life with periods where it has seriously evaded me usually due to traumas and loss that come with being a human in todays world. There are also those periods where there is a lack of happiness and I don’t necessary mean sadness or depression but where you are fine or OK but not happy where you would prefer to be happy. Its where you haven’t got your mojo.
So Thought I would ask some questions and maybe answer those? So what is Happiness? What makes us happy? Is there a formula that can give us more happiness in our lives? Can we plan to be more happy?
Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. Dalai Lama
So what is the definition of Happiness? Happiness is a wonderful feeling that comes over you when you know that your life is good and all you can do is smile. It’s the opposite of sadness. Happiness is a sense of well-being, of joy, or contentment. Happiness comes when you feel satisfied and fulfilled in your life and what you are achieving. It is a feeling of delightful contentment, that your life is as you want it to be. Great happiness comes when you have all of your needs satisfied. Lots of people don’t seem to achieve this long term state of happiness. I would like to think though that it is possible to achieve more, and I hope lots more happiness if we understand what happiness means to us as an individual. Happiness for you won’t be the same as happiness for me. Your path has not been the same as mine and will not be as we journey into the future, but maybe if we can learn more about happiness we can implement more strategies to be happier!
So have a think about what makes you happy right now and what you need to increase that state of happiness for you personally. What makes you happy now may not make you happy in 2 years time so re-evaluate your happiness levels regularly to bring more happy factor to you. This could be labelled Project Happiness.
So what makes me happy? Being in nature, traveling and learning about new places, having a laugh and fun with family and friends, being creative and inspiring others to be more creative, being of value and making a difference to the world, my rescue chickens and Poppy our dog, seeing my sons grow into amazing people who will make their difference to the world, Making others happy and smile, exercise including cycling, dancing, walking and swimming, wildlife and the natural world, watching films and my garden. This is not an exhaustive list but can be added to as I think of something else that makes me smile….
Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present. Jim Rohn
Recently I have been reading The World Book of Happiness by Leo Bormans which is a series of short essays from leading researchers into happiness across the world. Its been a fascinating read with so many ideas and conclusions that shows how complex we as humans are. I have seen over the last 10 years how happy my art makes people and it has been this that has triggered my interest along with my positivity towards feeling happy. I like feeling happy and I want more of that feeling, that precious beautiful feeling of happiness that can be so elusive. Happiness can be learnt and it can be something you have more of in your life.
The following are some thoughts and suggestions that I have learnt in my quest for more of my happy factor and I hope that it will help you if you choose to enhance your happiness too! Its not exhaustive and I would be happy for your thoughts and how you boost your happiness.
- Happiness is more than us as individuals. Being part of a community is really important along with fulfilling social and work obligations. Look for a job that is meaningful to you and to society and that offers responsibility and autonomy. Work at what you enjoy and you won’t work a day in your life.
- Happiness can be felt in a wild party type of way but also in serenity and calm
- Humans generally need a meaning to their lives, a sense of purpose and they need to keep learning throughout their lives. Being organised and knowing what you want with goals and a purpose helps gain more of the happy factor.
- A strong feeling of gratitude towards life and towards others can be a great source of happiness. Thinking about the positive things in your life with gratitude will enhance and bring greater happiness.
- Essential ingredients for human happiness include a few great friends, a loving stable relationship with one person, supportive family, employment that matches your skills and knowledge, money to cover your basic needs and a few treats, 3 good things that happen every day (make a note of these) and be grateful for these and for all you have.
- Be yourself, Believe in yourself and your abilities to change your life to what you need. Happy people like themselves, accept their failings and abilities, know themselves and help themselves in their lives. Take charge of your life and be responsible for your actions. We are happier when we believe we can control the outcome of our choices and we can believe in our own ability. Happy people are often spontaneous, authentic, and real and people are attracted to those qualities in them. They say what they think and feel and are bothered what other people think of them.When you are truly yourself you feel free and authentic.You are not perfect.
- Don’t always do what you are supposed to do. Be a bit naughty and eat ice-cream for breakfast.
- Happy people are healthier and good mental health is a key factor.
- Happiness cannot be bought with money as this type of happiness soon goes with the proviso that we need enough money. Comparing wealth with others is actually very harmful. Being materialistic means we are less satisfied with life. Experiences are happier than stuff.
- A stable loving relationship is worth striving for and investing your efforts in along with effort into friendships where you laugh and enjoy time together. Nothing has a greater impact on happiness than relationships that are close and loving with a partner, family and friends.
- We have a baseline for our own personal happiness which can be low or high and we cannot affect this. About 40% of our potential happiness is with our power to change. This can require effort and commitment every day of our lives. 10 % is due to our life circumstances and can only be changed a small amount compared to the 40%. It is therefore worth putting in effort to up our happiness.
- Happiness is your experience. We are all unique and bring different things to the party. We need to take responsibility for our own happiness.
- Allow yourself time to experience life, to feel, listen, taste, see and smell the places around you. Walk in nature everyday.
- Open yourself up to help and support from other around you. Helping others can be a great source of pride and happiness
- You do not have to be happy and its not a right. Sadness is a necessity as how would you know true happiness without it and sadness can be worthwhile. Sadness can be a time of great personal growth and telling someone to choose happy when they are sad does not work.
- True Happiness is a by-product of finding true meaning and purpose to your life. By building a worthwhile life happiness will come. Happiness adds years to your life and life to your years.
- Happy people tend to live for today in the moment, enjoying life as it happens. They tend to get more out of life by being involved and putting more into their lives. They think positively and look on the bright side of life whilst not dwelling on the past too much.
- Happy people are very social. Research shows that being with others brings happiness from them. Joining clubs and organisations and being involved with them can bring happiness.
- Stop worrying unnecessarily as 90% of worries never happen. Happy people talk and get things out in the open rather than keeping emotions inside them where they can build up and cause distress.
- Happy people want what they can get with realistic levels of expectation and aspiration. Unhappy people never seem to get what they want. Your outlook on life matters in the happiness project.
- Value and protect your precious happiness as it adds years to your life.
- Look at your environment as a sad place will not help your mood…use your happy colours to motivate and increase happiness and to give a happy mood. Your home is your castle and fill it with colour and some things that make you smile and feel happy.
- There is a difference between pleasure and happiness. Pleasure is a temporary experience whereas happiness is a longer term experience.
- Whether it’s psychological or physiological, foods can have a powerful effect on our moods. Eating nutrient-packed foods that affect brain chemistry might be the best way to help the happiness project but the occasional indulgence like a cream cake or a comfort food from our childhood can make you just as happy.
- Pets can make us happy. What we sacrifice in terms of time and money, we get back in improved health and increased happiness. Having a pet tends to promote healthy behaviours.The responsibility gives pet owners purpose and makes them feel needed, improving their senses of self worth. It also makes them to get off the couch and go for a walk every now and then, boosting both health and happiness.
- Exercise has measurable effects on the mind and if you exercise regularly you will generally have lower levels of anxiety and depression. Meditation, yoga and mindfulness can also boost your level of happiness and satisfaction. Meditation may allow you to put your problems in perspective, and may allow you to better appreciate things in the world around you that you’ve taken for granted.
- Happiness is contagious. When your friends experience happiness or good fortune, those happy feelings are often felt by the people around them.
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. Mahatma Gandhi
There will always be times when we are not happy and thats OK. I do however hope that you find some inspiration in these thoughts to help you increase your happiness factor. I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts as they may help me or others in our quest. Thank you for reading!
My art is happy art, it is the most common thing that people tell me about my art “it makes me smile and feel happy”. I am so grateful that my art makes people smile. If you would like to buy or look at my happy, colourful art you can buy from my website, here