What is happiness to you? This is a question that has plagued humanity since time immemorial. I think most of us have the same answer, but it differs in each of us. The reason being is that we all have different perspectives and definitions of what happiness means to us. If you were to ask me, for instance, what is happiness, I would say that happiness is subjective and individualistic.
The way I see it, you are what you make of your life events. Your present circumstances and your past life events are what define your current and future happiness levels. Your present circumstances and your future life events are what define your happiness. So, if you have high positive emotions coupled with deep levels of self-worth, you are very likely to be a happier person than someone with low positive emotions and a low level of self-worth.
Happiness is Subjective
Happiness is also commonly defined differently based on who you ask. Some folks define happiness differently according to how they feel when they are happy or sad. For instance, some folks say that happiness is when you have had an extensive amount of positive experiences in your life while other folks say that it’s when you have had a few really bad experiences. Again, there is no definitive answer to whether the former or latter is more accurate. There is extensive research on both of these views, and they could certainly be divided and explored more if we had better resources available for studying human happiness.
According to studies, people who have higher levels of overall well-being and higher levels of high personal well-being are generally optimistic and more optimistic, while those who have low levels of overall well-being and higher levels of high personal well-being tend to have high levels of pessimism. Similarly, people who have higher levels of life dissatisfaction tend to be pessimistic and lower their optimism levels while those with low levels of life dissatisfaction tend to be more optimistic. However, when researchers ask people to specify what they mean by these terms, they find that although the definition of “life satisfaction” is used to describe the state of being satisfied with life as reflected in bodily function and personality, the concept of “well-being” is considered to be a more appropriate term.
Happiness or Contentment?
Basically, we can think of life satisfaction as being a synonym for “happiness.” A happy, contented person is one who is generally satisfied with his or her living conditions. Conversely, a person who is unhappy, angry, tense, anxious, lacking in confidence, and lacking in contentment is typically not happy but rather living in the state of anxiety or tension. Hence, to become a happy and contented person you need to be both happy and content, and there are many ways to get both at the same time.
People who are able to manage their positive emotions and thoughts are happier than those who cannot manage their positive emotions and thoughts. Researchers have found that people who are able to successfully manage their positive emotions and thoughts are happier than others. In addition, a number of recent studies show that people who are able to successfully manage positive thoughts and emotions also have greater levels of well-being.
It has been found that the correlation between mood disorders and depression and illness is stronger in those who are unable to manage their positive emotions. Thus, managing one’s positive emotions may prevent a variety of health complications, including cancer, coronary heart disease, and other potentially fatal diseases.
When people are asked what is happiness, they often answer that they are satisfied with their relationships, finances, job security, social relationships, health, and the quality of life they have. However, when asked to define well-being, only a small percentage of those interviewed correctly responded that they were happy at all. The majority of those interviewed correctly responded that they were content, happy, very satisfied, or very happy.
These results indicate that the concept of what is happiness varies greatly from one person to the next. For example, in one study, financial security was rated as the most important factor by more than eighty percent of those surveyed, but when asked what is the most important element of well-being, only a small percentage of the individuals reported that financial security was the most important factor influencing their level of happiness.
When researchers examined the effects of financial security on levels of life-satisfaction, they did not find a significant connection between happiness and financial security. This result provides some insight into the concept of what is happiness. People that are financially secure are generally happier, but do not report feeling high levels of overall well-being.
In one study, forty-nine percent of individuals indicated that having a pet was an important factor in their level of happiness, but only twenty-one percent of those same individuals indicated that they were satisfied with the care their pet received. In essence, financial security is only a moderate component of a person’s life-satisfaction scale.
If you enjoyed this article about happiness, you may also enjoy this one titled Knowing What You Want.