BY: WAJIHA TAMSEEL
What actually is happiness? People have pondered over this question since the start of time, but just recently has science started to consider this discussion. Before I get into what science has come up with as a form of answer, let’s start by giving some answers to a somewhat easier question: what isn’t happiness?
“Happiness is Just Not About Feeling Good All The Time”
People have often quesioned whether a person who uses cocaine every day is “happy.” If feeling good all the time were our only requirement, then the answer would be “yes.” However, a current research proposes that an even-keeled mood is more psychologically fit than a mood in which you achieve great heights of happiness regularly — after all, what goes up must come down.
Additionally, when you ask people what makes their lives worth living; they infrequently say anything about their mood. They are more likely to cite things that they find meaningful, such as their work or relationships. Recent research even suggests that if you focus too much on trying to feel good all the time, you’ll actually undermine your ability to feel good at all—in other words, no amount of feeling good will be satisfying to you, since what you expect (all the time) isn’t physically possible for most people.
So, what is Happiness?
The 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 everyday basis. Both of these are relatively stable and as our life changes, our mood changes too, but our happiness is more genetically determined than anything else. The good news is, with consistent effort, this can be offset.
In simple terms, you have the power to control how you feel and with continuous practice, you can form life-long habits for a more gratifying and peaceful life.