Life on Happiness Road

 

Is there is a magic potion or formula on Earth for happiness? Truly, every person will have their unique set of circumstances, with some common experiences, along ‘the road’ or ‘process’ for attaining and maintaining happiness. I believe true happiness, while consisting of short-term feelings of joy, is long-lasting. In fact, as promised by God to those faithful, happiness is everlasting and eternal.

Goal: State of well-being and contentment; experiencing joy; felicity, aptness; obsolete: good fortune and prosperity.[1]

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The perspective from a half dozen sources are incorporated into this essay.

In this day and age, too many equate success with happiness. While prosperity or notoriety may accompany being happy it no longer a prerequisite.

In my opinion, spiritual people have a huge advantage in achieving happiness. Those that believe that all good things come from God and God wants the best for us, our higher power will bless our lives as we receive God’s grace.

Research in the field of positive psychology and happiness often define a happy person as someone who experiences frequent positive emotions, such as joy, interest, and pride, and infrequent (though not absent) negative emotions, such as sadness, anxiety, and anger (Lyubomirsky et al., 2005). Happiness has also been said to relate to life satisfaction, appreciation of life, moments of pleasure, but overall it has to do with the positive experience of emotions.[2]

A key to these explanations is that positive emotions do not indicate the absence of negative emotions. A “happy person” experiences the spectrum of emotions just like anybody else, but the frequency by which they experience the negative ones may differ. It could be that “happy people” don’t experience as much negative emotion because they process it differently or they may find meaning in a way others have not. In fact, using the phrase “happy person” is probably incorrect because it assumes that they are naturally happy or that positive things happen to them more often. Nobody is immune to life’s stressors, but the question is whether one sees those stressors as moments of opposition or moments of opportunity.

According to research, happiness isn’t just a state of mind. It affects your heart rate, your body chemistry, and it could contribute to substantial physical health benefits over time. British results showed that people with higher happiness ratings not only had a lower heart rate, but also had lower levels in their saliva of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, and less concentration in their blood of a plasma that’s connected to heart disease.

While some of the differences between happier individuals and their less happy counterparts were small, the researchers point out the potential impact of these seemingly minor variations over an extended period of time. “If differences of this magnitude are elicited in everyday life when people are exposed to daily hassles and challenges,” they write, “the result could be a marked difference in cardiovascular disease risk.” They also note that lower levels of cortisol are related to reduced long-term risk of abdominal obesity, type II diabetes, hypertension, and immune system problems.

ShadowInTheHoosierNatlForest

For years, research has shown that reducing depression, stress, anxiety, and other negative states decreases the risk of heart disease and other maladies.

This study has gone a step further by linking a positive emotional state to physical health benefits. Indeed, when the researchers measured their participants’ levels of psychological distress, they found that the physical health benefits of happiness occurred independent of whether or not participants showed any signs of depression or another negative state. This suggests that there may be a distinct biology of happiness that carries its own set of health benefits, beyond the benefits of simply not being depressed. [3]

There are some key factors to keep in mind:

A) Focus on the right things and not critically compare.

  • Each one of us has something to be joyful about, the problem that destroys the feeling of being filled with joy is comparison – when we begin to compare our lives to others and not look at what we have been currently given.
  • It is of high significance in the aspect of discovering joy that we do not look past our gifts and blessings but rather appreciate them and figure out ways on how we can multiply them.
  • Happiness-Joy starts from within, it is a decision one has to make on how they are going to perceive things in their life.

In as much as success may bring as happiness, let us not forget to smile all the way while we strive towards what we desire. Happiness can also be realized one step at a time, one decision at a time, one goal at a time.[4]

b) A ‘mental diet’ for a healthy attitude is very important in life.

The human is a fragile being led by fear, that could engulf himself. Happiness eludes him as he tends to blame other people, the environment, or even fate for this. Woe often she creates the illusion that she is completely helpless to determine her own direction of life. Happiness lies within the human being not riddled by fear, guilt, fate, and bad weather.

Only he can create it. How he succeeds will depend on his attitude and efforts to nurture it. For some individuals, the sense of happiness is brought by material things a new car, winning money, and other people, activities, health. However, only a few keep this feeling for a long time. After some time after the stimulus that caused the feeling of happiness, one wants something new. Feeling a routine, things and people get upset, need innovation. This is because people don’t appreciate what they have.[5]

c) Happiness is not merely a static psychological state.

Aristotle shares a crucial part of happiness, which is staying active. How many “happy” people do you know who sit at home all day, everyday? They might be content or “ok” temporarily, but are they truly thriving in happiness? Happiness is often found in the doing of what you’re passionate about and in building connections that are meaningful to you. Research has supported this with findings showing that strong social support is correlated with a number of positive outcomes. You might be in a rut now and you might have moments where you lose your connection to life, but you always have the opportunity to rebuild that connection.

So now it’s your turn to begin finding the happiness in you. What brings you joy? Maybe it’s a night in watching TV. Maybe it’s a night out at a new restaurant in town. Maybe it’s staying up late watching a movie with your significant other. Maybe it depends on your mood. Wherever your happiness resides, go enjoy it.[6]

d) Be realistic and manage stress.

As the founder of Daily Love, Martin Kipp has said, “I don’t expect to always be happy, I simply accept what is — And that acceptance is key. This is what self-love is all about, really, acceptance and the ability to love yourself right where you are.”

Research suggests that happiness is a combination of how satisfied you are with your life (for example, finding meaning in your work) and how good you feel on a day-to-day basis. Both of these are relatively stable — that is, our life changes, and our mood fluctuates, but our general happiness is more genetically determined than anything else. The good news is, with consistent effort, this can be offset. Think of it like you think about weight: if you eat how you want to and are as active as you want to be, your body will settle at a certain weight. But if you eat less than you’d like or exercise more, your weight will adjust accordingly. If that new diet or exercise regimen becomes part of your everyday life, then you’ll stay at this new weight. If you go back to eating and exercising the way you used to, your weight will return to where it started. So it goes, too, with happiness.

In other words, you have the ability to control how you feel—and with consistent practice, you can form life-long habits for a more satisfying and fulfilling life.[7]

e) Love is what bring happiness.  Loving others and activities.

Unfortunately, if we lack love, we are less likely to have inner happiness or less capable of bringing happiness to others.  We might live doing only what we want in order to get momentary satisfaction, not happiness.  If what we want is of selfish, greed, jealousy, hatred, favoritism, prejudice, we are likely to end up hurting others.  Because we all do it so we all suffer.  To stop suffering and have happiness, we have to forget ourselves and come to God for love.  Forgetting ourselves seem like a big loss but is truly a great gain.  Forgetting ourselves means we are not going to do what we want if it is of selfishness, greed, jealousy, hatred, favoritism, prejudice and therefore we do not hurt others.

Forgetting ourselves get rid of all the times we think of ourselves, of what we want, of how others have hurt us which take us away from reality, make our minds tired, make us suffer. Forgetting ourselves alone doesn’t bring us happiness in itself but is a necessary step.  The next step to happiness is love.  We can get love from thinking about God.  When we think about God, we know and feel love and when we ask for love, God then gives us love.  If we don’t think about God, we are not going to know or feel love.  When we forget ourselves and have love from God, it’s like we lose ourselves but gain far much better, happy selves.[8]

That is the essence to true happiness.

          Scientific American published a special issue, “The Science of Happiness.”[9] A common theme was kindness, gratitude and optimism. A happy person within a social circle quickly influences those around him or her to be happy, extending to three degrees of separation.

Our modern lives are cluttered with circumstances to be unhappy, jet we can become more resilient to stress and nourish our minds similarly as we take care of our bodies through healthy eating and exercise. Long- lasting happiness states are possible by practicing acceptance, gratitude, reexamining attitudes, feeding your sense of humor, smiling, and learning how we might better engage in activities that we love, and find positive outlets for love of our environment, interests, people and God.

——————

[1] Merriam Webster Dictionary

[2] Lyubomirsky, et.al., 2005

[3] Michelle Flythe, The Biology of Happiness, Mind & Body blog, Greater Good Berkeley.EDU

[4] Humanity Lives On; You Are Not Alone

[5] Easy Diet Blog on Word Press.Com by ILONAPULIANAUSKAITE

[6] Rubin Khoddam, PhD, Psychology Today, June 2015.

[7] Acacia Parks, Ph.D, Happify Daily.Com,

[8] TrueHappy.Net, Have Happiness?

[9] The Science of Happiness, Scientific American, October 29, 2011; https://www.scientificamerican.com/report/science-of-happiness/

https://maxsscoutservicesllc.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/dont-believe-the-rumors-and-spread-the-stigma/

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