Levels of happiness. Everyone wants to be happy. In fact, Thomas Jefferson wrote about the pursuit of happiness being an inalienable right in the US Declaration of Independence. But what is happiness really? Some say it is an emotion or feeling, while others say it’s a state of mind.
“Happiness is a state of mind. It’s just according to the way you look at things.” – Walt Disney
Happiness Means Different Things To Different People
Everyone can experience happiness but the things that make each person happy is personal. Happiness is what decides our mental health condition, our relationships, and our overall well-being. It’s been the topic of poems, stories, songs and more for centuries.
Scientists say that happiness is in part due to the serotonin levels in the blood, and that’s why antidepressant medications are thought to help people suffering from depression and anxiety. Drugs don’t really create happiness though, so it’s much more than a physical condition.
Some scientists think a certain level of happiness is built into a person’s genes and is controlled by our DNA, however, that set level can be raised or lowered depending on a person’s life events and other aspects of what has gone on in their lives, i.e. a death in the family will bring down the level of happiness, while something like a wedding or other happy event will cause it to go up.
Why Your Attitude Is Everything
One of the things that influence our happiness level is our attitude. You can’t be happy without having a good attitude toward the things that happen in your life. As William James said, “The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human can alter his life by altering his attitude.”
A person can actually think themselves into a state of happiness. That’s why some people are poor in cash and circumstances, but they are actually happier than a rich millionaire who lives all alone with no family or friends. Money isn’t the root of all happiness, some say it’s just the opposite and it’s not money that is the route to true happiness, even though it certainly can buy a lot of things people need, so it is a requirement for living comfortably.
For instance, people who are happy usually are the ones who have viewed their lives in a positive way, and they have made a conscious effort to change their attitude as well as their behavior. They are very optimistic at heart and have less stress than a lot of other people.
Happiness And Positive Emotions
It has been proven that if you know what it is that makes you unhappy and you actively work to change it, that you can find happiness by embracing positive emotions like empathy, compassion, and selflessness instead of greed, pity or selfishness.
Happiness doesn’t rely on material things and we must train our brains to not see things like a new purchase or expensive possessions as a way to get happy. Instead, happiness is gained through spending our time and finances on experiences with friends and loved ones or doing things like helping others, going on a trip, or being with loved ones.
Some believe that if we merely act happier, a sort of fake it until you make it a way of looking at things, actually can make us happier. In fact, research has shown that participants were reported has increasing their happiness levels after a week of doing this. The brain is indeed a powerful thing. One of the things it allows us to do is to distract ourselves from something unpleasant and retain our happiness via thinking of something positive and being more optimistic.
Be An Optimist, Always
Optimism is not dwelling on the bad and having a more favorable outlook on the things that happen to us. For instance, just because roses have thorns, and we get jabbed, it doesn’t mean roses aren’t beautiful and smell sweet.
And even if you forgot something at the store, it’s fine that you have to go back because you suddenly remembered that you had to go drop off your dry cleaning next door anyway. Or any number of similar events could happen and the optimistic person will see the good in the situation and thereby retain their happiness level.
Setting goals is a good thing to do, but life coaches have seen that some people set goals only to meet them and quickly replace them with yet another goal before they can even let themselves be happy about reaching the first goal on their lists. It’s called the hedonic treadmill and that treadmill never quits and anyone on it can’t ever be happy because their mindset is wrong.
Science has found that the part of the brain controlling happiness isn’t even in the same sector as the part that controls our wants, likes, and needs. We can be happy when we meet those things, but as stated before, attaining material things may bring happiness for a short while, but in the long run, the things that last are not material things at all, but experiences and having loved ones around us.
Exercise And Happiness
There is also a real connection between exercise and the level of a person’s happiness. Plus, our health plays a role in this as well, so it’s best to eat nutritional foods, get enough sleep and exercise three times a week for about an hour. Studies have shown that after exercise the persons happiness levels went up.
This could be anything from a walk around the block or a trip to the gym. It induces endorphins which are feel-good chemicals in the brain that replace the stress chemical cortisol and that reduce bad feelings. Some studies found the connection between exercising and happiness was so powerful that it was just as good as medicine in helping treat a person’s depression in some cases.
All in all, we control our own level of happiness in many ways, shapes and forms. It depends on the person, their state of mind and how they handle their lives. Happiness is something anyone can attain with a little work and a positive mindset. Be Happy!