Definition of Happiness is stated as, “an emotion. It is emotions we try to evoke by doing things that make us feel good...” (TJ, What is Happiness, 2011).Similarly, Aristotle defines, “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence” (TJ, 2011). Therefore, Happiness can be defined in many different ways.
In one of the workshops printed on the internet by the founder and president of ‘Managing Thoughts’, distinction between emotional happiness and true happiness is discussed. It states that the emotional happiness is a temporary phase while the true happiness remains unchanged. Emotional happiness is characterized by the external circumstances and therefore, has an emotional affect. While true happiness is achieved as contentment, even if the external circumstances may not seem favorable.
“Emotional happiness is momentary and fleeting. It doesn’t last and attachment to emotional happiness eventually results in its opposite- sadness” (Pursuit of Happiness, n.d.). Emotional happiness is directed by emotion which is inspired by feelings of achievement, excitement, passion, inspiration and freedom. However, these emotionally inspired feelings are subject to change in any given situation. The examples of these emotional feelings are stated below:
Feelings of achievement are experienced during exam results, or promotion at work or achievement of winning an award etc. Feelings of excitement can be felt during the marriage or a new relationship. A person gets excited also when they know that they have the opportunity to explore the world or may be new job etc. Feelings of passion are those that are felt within relationships. Feelings of inspiration are felt when a person gets an inspiration or when they hear words of encouragement. Feelings of freedom is felt when you know that you are free to do as you like. You become your own boss of life and you are not obligated or answerable to anyone.
It is stated by writer TJ that emotional feelings also can be defined “…when someone gets something they want” (What is Happiness, n.d.). I support when author TJ writes that, because even in my own individual case if I have to introspect my emotional happiness, I know that when my desire is fulfilled I am happy. If something doesn’t work according to my desire or will then I am certainly not happy. Now a good debatable statement will be “ is the short term pleasures of getting some of those things we want worth all of the misery and failure that we feel when we do not get those many things we desire” (TJ, What is Happiness). This question is really thought provoking, because emotional happiness is a temporary phase. There are many things in life that we do not necessarily get and therefore, end up being sad and depressed.
I wonder what Psychologists have to say about this state of happiness. It is stated that there are many theories given by the psychologists when it comes to happiness (The Psychology of Happiness, n.d). Now we have a brief idea about emotional happiness, let us look at what true happiness is about?
True happiness can be stated in as ‘Happiness Skills Theory’, this theory proposes “ …sense of well being is achieved by 1) experience, 2) valuation, 3) anticipation, 4) hedonic acquisition and 5) habit formation” ( The Psychology of Happiness, n.d.). Simultaneously these theory is supported by economists like Daniel Kahneman and Lord Richard Layard who state that, “ …stagnancy of happiness in modern societies should prompt policymakers to shift their priorities from the creation of wealth to the creation of good feelings…” (McMahon, In Pursuit of Unhappiness, 2005). I like the word creation of good feelings, basically here it seems that true happiness is achieved by a decision we make. We have to create those good feelings within ourselves to attain the true state of happiness. It is also stated that, “True happiness begins with self-awareness. Learning what brings about true happiness takes self-awareness” ( Managing Thought, n.d.).
In continuation to learning about self-awareness, there are six strategies proposed by the writer of ‘Managing Thought’. I personally felt that these strategies are useful to understand how true happiness can be attained, because as stated above to truly be happy it becomes our own decision.
Transforming Feelings as Key Indicators
When an individual is not happy obviously they feel tense, jaws clenched, hearts pounding, breaths fast, queasy feeling or stomach feels knotted. This negative indicator of feelings can be transformed if self awareness exercise is performed. In this exercise, it is stated that one has to become aware of their own thoughts and concentrate on the positive aspect of the situation than the negative one. When that person starts to think positive automatically the individual starts to feel at peace, their eyes lit up, they feel energized and inspired (Managing Thoughts, n.d).
Making Decision about Positive Thoughts
To achieve true happiness, as stated above one has to make a decision to inbuilt positive thought. One has to examine their own thoughts, for that a person needs to practice choosing thoughts that move them to the direction of the positivity. The moment a person starts getting inclined towards the highest positive direction. That moment they tend to win over the negative circumstance or situation. This means that they accept even the negative situation and therefore, attain true happiness (Managing Thought, n.d.).
Seeking to understand
There is a big difference between being understood and to understand. Every person’s perception is their own reality. By not being judgmental, making assumptions, or taking things personally or condemning one can learn to understand. One has to become open, receptive and curious, therefore by keeping this attitude one is opening a way to accept things as they are. This helps an individual to be content and happy about any situation or person (Managing Thought, n.d.).
Take Time to be Quiet Each Day
It is stated that, “when our minds are clear of distractions, we become open and fully receptive to our highest awareness, the world changes, and remarkable things start to happen” (Managing Thought, n.d). This is something that remains a challenge for everyone. What is stated in the above quote is an important point of ‘True Happiness’. When a person remains quiet for some time, they are allowing the mind to rest. This helps them to recreate creative ideas and take great decisions. This way the person does not waste time in consuming their energy in negative things rather the person tries to focus on significant things in their life that make them happy.
Practicing thankfulness is explained as, “…one of the quickest and most powerful ways to create a change in our circumstances and experience happiness” (Managing Thought, n.d). It is stated that when a person is thankful, the brain automatically perceives that positive message and therefore person’s behavior is inclined according to that message. This means that the creative juices in the brain flow according to this positive message. Therefore, this creates happiness and turns any negative situation around (Managing Thought, n.d.).
It is stated that true happiness takes practicing and managing our thoughts through self-awareness exercise. True happiness is said to be a “constant awareness of our thoughts, feelings and choices” (Managing Thought, n.d.). It is like giving our brain a script of positivity and re-wiring our brains with positive thoughts. One of the other statements made by the author of Managing Thought is truly inspirational, “ When we, as individuals and organizations, are being true to ourselves, living our truth, that truth offers more happiness and love of ourselves and others than we can imagine” (Managing Thought, n.d.).