What is happiness?
It turns out this is not a simple answer.
When surveyed, we all think we know what happiness is, but we struggle to define it. We all agree it is important too, especially important in our lives.
The things we need to keep us happy vary greatly depending on our age and what we are doing now.
In all cases, people felt happy in their lives and felt their needs were met.
As to being happier, well that varied greatly too.
There are four people in this survey including myself.
The first is a man in his 60s who is married and employed. The second is a man in his early 30s, single and employed casually. The third is a retired woman in her 60s who is divorced, and I am a student and practitioner of natural therapies in my 50s and I am married.
They are all city people with family connections. Two have a family at a distance due to work commitments. They have different educational statuses.
All agreed that at this point they were happy.
So what is happiness to these people?
Content with life as it is and enjoying one’s life was important.
The younger man believes it is your outlook on life, that having a positive attitude and believing the world is a good place is key. Not waiting for something bad to happen was also important to him.
The older woman believes it is connections that lead to happiness. Feeling connected to others and the world made her happy.
Myself, I was a bit of everything. Loving and being loved makes me happy as well.
All agreed that happiness was a state of mind.
Everyone was clear on what they needed in their life to be happy.
The men were on the lines of a sense of purpose.
The younger one was more specific; a job he enjoyed, social life and enough money would keep him happy.
The women, including myself, were more about connections. More time with family and friends was important.
At this point in my life, I really have everything I need to be happy.
Choosing what emotions were associated with happiness was again a bit tricky to describe. It’s not that everyone didn’t know what being happy felt like it was relating emotions to it.
Contentment was big here. Joy was also popular. The feeling of well-being came up as did a smile and laughter.
Everyone, including myself, believed their basic needs were covered adequately and easily.
We all believed our emotional needs were also being met.
Everyone again believed that they had a purpose in life. Their purposes were not the same, however.
Not everyone had a positive self-image and in both cases, it was about excess weight.
It was not enough to make them feel unhappy though.
The next question was what could happen to make them happier.
One of the negative self-image cases wanted to lose weight but currently did not have time to exercise.
The younger man did not have anything he could think of that would make him happier.
The divorced woman wanted male companionship and myself, I want to leave the city for a more relaxed lifestyle.
Out of 1-10 in importance, happiness rated at least an 8 with everyone.
It was important to everyone to be happy.
After reading the answers it is clear that happiness is an internal feeling. When most needs are met the person is happy. Even though there were things that could increase happiness, the people surveyed were content with life.
Happiness was associated with positivity and a sense of purpose. The purpose was relevant only to the individual. Happiness and contentment were there for both married and single people and even though there were things that could make them happier, they were happy anyway.
This leads me to believe that happiness is a choice.
We can choose to see the world as a good place full of joy or not.
Happiness is within reach for everyone.