What is Happiness?

A quiet walk?

Making it through a difficult situation?

Accomplishing a long held goal?

Spending time with friends and family?

Taking a vacation?

Yes.  It can be all of these situations.  Happiness is defined as the quality or state of being happy, a mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions. How I read that is happiness is a function of several factors, and those factors are different for everyone.

I ask this question because there is a lot of time spent discussing and evaluating happiness.  In true American fashion, it has become a major life goal for some folks setting up a situation where the endless pursuit of happiness can become all consuming. I see it playing out in social media where we portray moments in our lives filtered, structured, and hashtagged to show that, YES, I am happy!

But, what really makes you happy?  What are you doing that brings joy and contentment?  Are there activities you feel you are doing out of obligation?

Time Out Exercise
  • Step away from life for a moment, and give yourself a moment to quiet your mind.
  • Think about happiness, and what it means to you.
  • Now, what are you doing in your life that furthers or distances you from happiness?
  • What can you prune from your life, and what can you add to your life?
  • Determine one thing to remove from your life, and one thing to add to your life that you believe will bring you contentment, and a sense of well being.

Happiness is not a race, or a destination.  It is not about being happy all the time, and often includes discomfort.  The good news?  Happiness is often under our control, and can include small but impactful actions that support a deep sense of satisfaction. Reading, taking a walk, getting pampered for an afternoon, reaching a goal, and helping others are all examples of activities that can increase happiness.

Happiness and contentment are not because of external factors, but rather they are states of being that occur when we find meaning and purpose in our lives.


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