The Pursuit of Happiness
By Louise McLeod Editor Natasha Nkantu
‘Happiness is a journey, not a destination.’
In the dictionary well-being is classed as good health, happiness and security. We may not always be in perfect health. At times we may not be financially secure. But if we are happy, our state of well-being can override and survive the rest. Happiness, it seems, is the fundamental prerequisite of a person’s well-being.
But what is happiness? And more importantly, how do we get it? In basic terms the symbol for happiness is a smiley face and laughter. But expressions are fleeting and this means happiness can’t easily be defined. The difficulty lies in its all-encompassing nature and the opinion of the individual. What is happiness to one person might not be to another.
There is, of course, a universal consensus for its definition. A feeling of contentment, satisfaction and general positivity. What makes us happy is where the differences lie. This can range from everyday experiences such as listening to music, earning good money, even exercising or watching TV. Whilst these don’t always provide long lasting effects, it does not distract from their power. Taking pleasure in the simple things in life is half the happiness battle.
Factors such as being in love, having close relationships, socialising and aiming for important life goals all make for a more enduring happiness. But there is one thing clearly evident from these attributes; happiness is not something we can get or purchase. It evolves from a myriad of moments, both momentous and seemingly inconsequential.
Here are just some ways you can find happiness:
Look at your present, not your past– You can’t change the past, so focus on the here and now. Also, don’t spend too much time worrying about the future. The only time we have guaranteed is right this second.
Focus on positives not negatives– It’s the law of attraction. Happiness starts from the inside and works its way out. If you think happy, positive thoughts and expect to be happy and you will be. Expect to be unhappy and that too, will come to you. You choose your thoughts and your feelings. You choose to be happy or not.
Appreciate who you are and what you have- You can’t be anyone else, so be happy with the body that you’re in and who you are. Focus on your strengths and what’s great about you.
Manage your time- Don’t you just hate being late? You get flustered, red faced and sweaty! Managing your time allows you to be more organised so that you are on top of everything. It also gives you more free time to spend with family and friends or go to the gym.
Workout and eat well- Working out releases endorphins which help to relieve stress and depression. Certain foods can also increase energy levels and serotonin levels such as almonds, green leaves and chocolate.
Get a good nights sleep- Getting a healthy amount of sleep can help you feel fresh, awake and more active. A study of the University of Binghamton found that lack of sleep can lead to ‘repetitive negative thoughts’.
Try something new- Life can get monotonous sometimes. Trying something new can be refreshing. You can try a new dish or go somewhere you’ve never visited.
Laugh more- Laughing increased blood flow and can increase the level of infection-fighting antibodies in the body. This means that laughing can be a factor to good health, and good health is a factor to happiness.
Do something good for someone else– Happiness is infectious. Making others happy rubs off on our own happiness.
Smile!-They say fake it until you make it. When you smile, you trick your body into thinking that you’re happy.
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