Have you ever googled the question: What is the definition of happiness? Thousands of people do and the funny thing is that there is no one definition that suits everyone. There are so many aspects and elements that scientists and new age authors as well as wisdom traditions have defined as the meaning of happiness. In today's article and episode of the Happiness Forecast, I am going to help you figure out you own definition of happiness and share with you mine as well.
Welcome! Here is the Episode 002 of the Happiness Forecast. The article and your free PDF follow below the video.
Scroll down to the bottom of this post for your free PDF.
Welcome to the Happiness Forecast, a place for you to be inspired and uplifted with mind-expanding new ideas, practical action steps & personal stories from my own journey and of others to help you live a life of peace & happiness now and tomorrow.
I searched incessantly for a definition of happiness
For many years, I chased after this illusive thing called happiness. I searched for a definition of happiness - what exactly is the meaning of happiness? What are the constituents of happiness and what does being happy mean? I wanted to get a grasp on this notion that seemed so intangible and fleeting. There would be moments of happiness and then poof, just like that it was gone. What did I need to do to keep it as a constant, a steady part of my life? How can be happy all the time?
We have all heard people say things like:
People say it doesn't last
Love doesn't last.
Don't get used to a good thing.
Don't laugh too much. If you do, you will cry soon.
Then there were artists who lamented that they could not create their art if it were not for their dark moments, the depth of sorrow and pain.
And some part of me refused to accept that. Is this what I had to settle with? Like a child, I asked, "How can this be true?"
I still get a feeling so true in my gut, in my heart that we can all be happy and at peace. At the time, I couldn't wrap my mind around the philosophy of the naysayers - those who said rough times were essential for creative flow.
But I only think of great poets like Rumi, Gibran, Tagore, Wordsworth and Frost who wrote from a place of bliss, ecstasy and peace. There isn't a shadow of the dark side in their creative outflows.
There were great beings like the Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed and Krishna, who all experienced eternal peace and love despite of the personal hardships and challenges they were going through.
So, even though there are challenges in our life and we go through difficulties, could there be a place of peace that we can be in at all times? Even when things are falling apart around us, can we inhabit composure, compassion and equanimity?
Yes. The answer is yes!
I came to realize three things:
1. Happiness can be a constant part of our lives - kind of a new norm.
This is a new niveau of mental peace, an inner-peace that can handle anything that comes our way. Like a kung-fu artist who is alert and active, yet must act from a deep inner-peace and composure in response to life.
2. Happiness doesn't depend on outer circumstances
See the story of Jesus Christ for a clear inspiration on that. He maintained love and compassion for everyone, especially for those who hurt, betrayed and tortured him.
3. There are ways that human civilization as a whole is already aware of for reaching that stage.
Ancient scriptures and literature in all traditions, philosophy (both eastern and western), native American and indigenous philosophies, along with the revelations of modern science all have hints and clues and entire models of practices that can help us access the place of peace and happiness within us.
4. We need to create our own definition of happiness.
Happiness is a personal affair and we can pull from all resources but in the end, we have to carve out our own path for happiness.
5. We need to do something, take action to experience it.
Happiness or this inner state of profound peace is reached by us taking action. We need to peel off layers and get to our core state of peace. And that happens only with us taking action.
So, point # 4 is what the focus is here today.
If you want to experiences a constant niveau of peace, you have to
1. first create your own happiness definition and
2. then you need to take daily actions of some sort to cultivate it.
So what is the definition of happiness?
Again, there are so many variations depending on source. I will share only a couple:
Definition 1 by Earl Nightingale:
Happiness depends at any given time on moving towards something we wish to bring about in our lives. He also phrased it like this, “Happiness is the progressive realization of a worthy goal”.
Definition 2 by Shawn Achor:
Happiness is the experience of positive emotions. It is pleasure combined with deeper feelings of meaning and purpose. It implies a positive mood in the present and a positive outlook for the future. Happiness causes success and achievement not the other way around.
So now, define what happiness means for you. It clearly is not about being smiley-smiley and giggling and hugging everyone. Although, that can be one way for it to ooze out of us at least at some times - like those women in the audience on The Ellen Show who are so happy to be called on the stage that they are jumping up and down and screaming with uber joy. That may be a momentary thing!
So what is my definition? It is as follows:
Definition 3 by Sophia Ojha:
Happiness is a state of mind in which I am open to new possibilities. I trust and know that all is well in the moment and I have the resources to deal with anything in life with a calm, peaceful mind, compassion and equanimity. Happiness to me is finding myself every day delightfully working consistently to realize my worthy goal which is to help 10,000 women be happy in the next 5 years using my creativity. And to create a cat sanctuary of 500 cats.
What do I derive happiness from?
Happiness i also for me the experiences of spending time with my husband and exploring the natural treasures of our planet; being exposed to new idea, practices and ways of cultivating a peaceful, calm, equanimous mind and actively building a dynamic and healthy physical body. Happiness is for me the opportunity to continuously learn from the lives and writings of others as well as my own life, to have the time to read and express myself.
So there it is. This is my definition and it is unique to me. For me this works. It may change tomorrow but this is what it is right now. It gives me clarity and focus for my life.
My vision for myself is to be happy and at peace, even if I cannot experience the outer world of experiences. That's advances ninja level of equanimity and compassion and I know each day I am accessing a more refined level of it.
So now it is your turn.
Crafting Your Own Definition
Write down in your personal journal your definition of happiness. Pull from those two quotes and from my own definition that I shared with you. And craft a definition of happiness that has meaning for you. But do write it out. And know that it can change and you can refine it over time.
To help you do just that, I have created a PDF so you can come up with your happiness definition. Download your copy by clicking the button below.
Here are the four steps for crafting your own happiness definition:
- Identify a worthy goal that you want to work towards.
- Note activities that bring you into the present moment and bring you joy.
- Note events you can plan for in the future that will fill you up with the joy of anticipation.
- Any other element that you feel is important for you to keep in mind about what happiness means to you.
In the next video + article, we will talk about how to activate this definition to make happiness a practical thing in your life.
So, I hope in this article, you have received a little insight on this whole business of defining happiness and hopefully you found it useful to hear my take on it for your own journey.
Thank you for reading and watching this episode of the Happiness Forecast with me Sophia Ojha. See you next Sunday 8 am Eastern, right here on the blog.
Do share in the comments your definition of happiness. How wonderful it would be to see all the various happiness definitions in the comments!
May you be happy & have a calm, peaceful mind!
Resources Mentioned In This Video Episode + Article
1. Free download of Powerful Affirmations: click the pink button above. reflectionpond.com/blog/happiness-definition
2. To subscribe to the Happiness Forecast on YouTube, go here: https://www.youtube.com/reflectionpond
3. Book: The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
4. Book: Earl Nightingale's Greatest Discovery by Earl Nightingale
Photo Credit for the beautiful image used in the banner of this post and thumbnail for the video goes to Ben Duchac. Thank you for your amazing work!
About Sophia Ojha
Hey there! I am so happy you found us and welcome! So, that's me in the photo and I blog and make videos on the topic of individual happiness and inner-peace. Click here to read more about me. Enjoy your stay here at reflectionpond.com!