You probably have happiness as one of your life goals, whether it’s explicit or not. After all, everyone wants to be happy, right? It’s up there with being healthy, wealthy, and wise! There are some solidly good reasons why it’s important to be happy, and some of them will surprise you.
- Happiness feels great!
Happiness is wonderful purely for its own sake. When you’re happy, you feel energetic and content. All is right with your world, and you naturally want to spread your good vibes.
- Being happy is good for your health
When you’re happy, you flood your brain with endorphins and other positive hormones like dopamine and serotonin. Your stress levels go down, along with your blood pressure and your heart rate.
Happy people are more resilient in the face of life stressor; they tend to be better able to roll with the punches and come up smiling. If you’re happy, you’re less likely to suffer from heart disease, inflammation, and chronic disease. You’ll age better and even live longer!
- Success is meaningless without happiness
Every day you can read about successful, wealthy people whose lives are out of control due to the pressures of celebrity, drug addiction, or alcoholism. Success hasn’t automatically meant happiness for them. So, if you think that being rich or having a new car or being famous will make you happy, think again. If you hate your life, no amount of success will bring you joy.
- Happy people have better relationships
Happiness is contagious and attractive. We see happy people as more trustworthy and stronger leaders. They are also likely to have a wider circle of friends, have better interpersonal relationships, and are more likely to have a romantic partner.
- Being happy makes you a nicer person
It seems that happiness and empathy are linked. Happy people are more likely to share their good fortune and help others.
Happy people are also less violent and more peaceful. Researchers think that positive emotions make us more likely to seek a win/win solution and change the way we think. The chemicals set off by your mindset influence the way you react to a situation and can change your behavior and thought patterns. Negative thoughts can lead to a fight or flight response whereas positive emotions are more likely to lead to a less heated negotiation and a focus on problem-solving.
What IS Happiness?
You might think you know what happiness is. You might even think it’s an odd question to ask – what IS happiness? But there are some misconceptions about happiness that can and do trip people up, and they may even be making you unnecessarily UNhappy.
So, what isn’t being happy?
- Happiness isn’t getting everything you want
You won’t find happiness in getting everything you want or getting things your way. Money doesn’t buy happiness: in fact, getting a raise or a windfall can increase your dissatisfaction as your expectations expand to exceed whatever money you have. That new car or bigger house will soon start to feel like not enough.
You get the same goal displacement when things go your way. It’s human nature to keep pushing the boundaries and asking for more!
- Happiness isn’t feeling good all the time
People who are happy don’t live in a constant state of ecstasy! Life isn’t like that. Some days you feel great, other days not so much. And everyone has seriously bad times, that’s just the way it goes. Happiness is way more than just feeling good. It means feeling contented and living a meaningful life.
- Happiness isn’t an endpoint.
Happiness isn’t something you arrive at, or you achieve it, and then it’s done. It’s not something you can check off your list! Happiness is more like a habit you can learn, a way of looking at the world and your relationships and being happy.
So where does that leave you?
Studies have shown that happiness comes from a combination of factors, from finding deep satisfaction and meaning in your life to looking for the things that are good, not focusing on lack or what you haven’t achieved.
True, lasting happiness seems to depend on some things such as mindset, expectations and how you feel day by day.
- If you put more store in relationships and connections with the people you love, you’ll be happier than if you expect possessions to make you happy.
- If you expect things to go your way they often do, and if you notice the things you’re grateful for, you’ll find more of them. If you need things to go your way all the time, then prepare for disappointment.
Truly happy people are at peace with the ups and downs of life and find joy and contentment whatever their circumstances might be.