What is happiness for you? What is happiness in any sphere? Well, it’s a passing emotion in my opinion. 

If someone tells you the best joke in the world, how long can you laugh for? If something sad happens, how happy can you remain then? I prefer to use the word ‘contentment’ and then if something sad happens you can be content to be transiently sad. 

I think it’s pretty normal and healthy for us to feel all of our emotions and yet feel generally contented at the same time. Life can be hard and ironically accepting that life is sometimes difficult can prepare us to remain contented or congruently balanced. 

Psychology Today states: 

“Research shows that happiness is not the result of bouncing from one joy to the next; achieving happiness typically involves times of considerable discomfort.  Money is important to happiness, but only to a certain point. Money buys freedom from worry about the basics in life - housing, food, clothing. Genetic makeup, life circumstances, achievements, marital status, social relationships, even your neighbours - all influence how happy you are. ”

So, do distinctive modes of rational thought and expression of feelings make a difference? I consider that having a personal way of being that may be subjective, but suits you, is essential but there are general ways of being that give a foundation for psychological good health:

  • Connecting with other people is essential. Sharing and partaking in a friendly empathic manner will lift your spirits.  
  • Doing some exercise and keeping moving and getting your heart beating. 
  • Living mindfully and taking notice of people, places and tasks and being in the moment with those situations will ease regrets and worries.
  • Humans are altruistic and have an urge and a reward mechanism to give and do something for someone other than for themselves, so give.
  • Discovering and getting engrossed in stimulating challenging activities whilst setting and meeting objectives and ambitions satiates our innate enhancing drive.

In the recent World Happiness Report 2018* the UK appears 19th on a list of 156 countries ranked on factors such as life expectancy, social support and corruption, with Finland being deemed the happiest country in the world.

The report concludes: “Happiness is not something inherently in short supply, like gold, inciting rushes to find and much conflict over ownership. My gold cannot be your gold. But happiness, unlike gold, can be created for all, and can be shared without being scarce for those who give. It even grows as it is shared.”

My research and experience suggests that much of happiness or contentment is actually within our control and that life satisfaction has much to do with realising that:

  • Accept who you are and acknowledge that you’re ok.
  • Be resilient.
  • Try and see positives in emotional situations and change bad habits into good habits.
  • Have physical, mental and psychological challenges.

“Aiming to be personally measured, grounded and at ease while becoming more self-aware and cutting away façade and pretence can move people forward in an individual manner enabling individuals to achieve their very own unique contented balance. This lifestyle parameter will also give you a good foundation for being happy… most of the time.”

*The World Happiness Report 2018 was published prior to International World Happiness Day which falls on 20 March. This campaign is a global celebration to mark the United Nations International Day of Happiness. This year's theme is ‘Share Happiness’ - focusing on the importance of relationships, kindness and helping each other.


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