Is your life a happy one?
This is a more complex question than it may seem at first glance because of the temporary, quick-changing nature of emotions. You may feel happy now, but in an hour, you might feel something different altogether. How do you find happiness when emotions can be so unpredictable?
“Positive psychology” seeks to make people’s lives better, more meaningful, and ultimately happier. It does this by focusing on their strengths and developing them further, instead of identifying and addressing their weaknesses.
This movement defines happiness has having different parts that should all be taken in to account when someone is looking to improve their life overall. Positive feelings, like pleasure, which some think of as simply the same thing as happiness, are actually only part of this definition. Happiness is also made up of two other important factors:
- Engagement in what you do
- Finding meaning by pursuing a greater purpose outside of
These factors are a form of happiness, even if they are not directly related to smiling or laughter.
Engagement In What You Do
If you’ve ever been stuck in a job you hate or had to take a class in a subject you were bored by, you know how unpleasant it can be to do tasks you’re not really engaged in. When you are engaged in what you’re doing, it is a stimulating, enjoyable experience. You may even lose track of time while working on something you like doing and feel sure you can do well.
That type of life fulfillment is its own form of happiness. Focusing effectively on and being confident in what you do contributes positively to your sense of self and well-being.
Contributing To A Greater Purpose
We are not the center of the universe, and shouldn’t be, even in our own lives. That’s not to say we shouldn’t make sure our needs are met, but that we should recognize and contribute to something that’s bigger than ourselves.
For those with religious beliefs, worshipping and following the teachings of your higher power gives you a sense that humanity is not alone or unloved in the universe.
If you aren’t religious, there are many other ways of addressing this need. Volunteering in your community, donating to a charitable cause, or otherwise organizing to work for the betterment of the whole can also help you to define who you are and what your place in the world is, contributing to a more fulfilled life. Even raising a child can fulfill this need, depending on the level of personal fulfillment you get from it.
Passions Are Personal
It’s important to remember that there’s no right way to find this type of happiness. What you find meaningful may not be meaningful to someone else. It may take plenty of trial and error before you find what’s personally important and fulfilling in your life. Ultimately though, the work you put in to pursue your passion and personal meaning will play a role in your life’s happiness level, and the way we consider happiness in the realm of positive psychology.