HAPPINESS - What Is The Psychology Behind It ?

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On the wake of this New Year, I start this article with a very meaningful words of – Frederick Keonig, he said “We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”


To understand this let first understand What is happiness?


Happiness is an emotion, or more than just emotion, it's a state of mind when we feel Joyous, elated, contented, exhilarated and also feel that life is good. Happiness is also known as Subjective Wellbeing why because to each person the definition of happiness is different. For eg, a same thing may not give same level of happiness in two different individuals. Eg Some find happiness in earning a lot of wealth, but other may find it in donating money to poor.


Why is there an Urge to be happy?


Sometimes we see ourselves constantly in search for happiness. We strive hard to bring happiness into our lives. So does it mean that we are not happy always ? Yes our natural state is not being happy so we always desire to be happy. And its happiness comes only fulfilment of conditions. which could bewants,wishes, expectations, demands.


What makes us Happy?


Now what makes us happy is the most difficult question with innumerable answers to it. Now happiness is the end goal, but the road we take to achieve this goal is different.


Where Does this happiness lie?


There is a lot said and discussed about where does happiness come from. Does happiness come from our within or does it come from life events, way life treats us. I would give this a 60;40, i feel that majority of it lies in the core of our mind, way we see life, if we wear a glass that shaded is, our view is filtered and world would appear in the colour of the glasses we wear. We always keep searching for this happiness outside in people, things, goals, etc. Majority of this happiness lies deep within, there are many layers of other emotions overlapping happiness, That makes it difficult to tap happiness from within.


What are the aspects/ Factors on which our state of being happy is depended upon?


Let's discuss some of the common ways and factors that make us happy. The factors could be internal or external. Internal factors are the factors on which we have a control and external our life events and our environment.


What are the External Aspects of being happy?


Man always views himself as a victim or as a beneficiary of the external events that happen in his life.

  • As Human being we cant survive alone. To survive we need to make a connect with people. A connect with a partner, with parents, with their children, with neighbours, with friends, with colleagues etc. When he/she is successfully able to establish this equation, he tends to be happy.
  • Human can't operate alone, he is a part of a society, so there is always a need for social validation and social acceptance. Sometimes we do things just to get that social approval right ? When we get that we get immense satisfaction.
  • Some people attach their happiness to professional success, accomplishment of specific objective, career Growth.
  • Sometimes it is simply doing things that we like doing gives us happiness. Pursuing our hobbies. Some may find happiness in music, dance or gardening or simply holidaying, sports, painting.


Social Validation - How does it become so vital for our existence?


The biggest evidence of the social validation lies in the following real life examples:

  • Most of us, post pictures videos on social media and wait to seek likes and views.
  • Buying a luxury car and big house for especially for the purpose of showing it as a status symbol.
  • There are some who indulge in buying branded clothes, and own brands not just to feel good about ourselves but to show to people proudly that we own these brands. Post pictures of ours on social media to gain people's approval.
  • Marriages in our country is not just a family ritual, but also way to please people- relatives & groom's family and people who attend it.


What are then the internal Aspects of being happy?

  • Being happy is highly dependent upon how we value our own self, our abilities that is our self worth.
  • Being happy is also dependent upon our level of self confidence.
  • Being happy is highly reliant on the way we are able to adapt to people, circumstance and life events i:e Adaptability
  • It also dependent upon how tolerant we are. Sometimes we are very critical and intolerant to things happening around us isn't it ??
  • It also is based on how well we can bounce back stronger after an adverse life event that is how Resilient we are ?
  • It also pertinent to be less complaining towards people, situation and life at large.
  • Some People are very keen to meaningful growth. Meaningful growth is not just financial or materialistic growth it is more of what our life journey is. It is much we are growing as a person, how much we are able to learn, improve, up-skill, make a difference. It basically is the quest of being a better one.
  • Lastly but most importantly our inborn temperament and our general outlook towards life.


Why is there a natural tendency not to be happy?


Today we much more sophisticated and advanced and also have all the comforts in life, but researches show that we are way less happier than we were two decades before. Small things that used to make us happy earlier doesn't seem to have effect now. We have become like " these trivial things don't impress me" or " I don't get pleased so easily " But why?


We also have rigid belief systems, some of them are dysfunctional but still we hold on to them. earlier they were wishes now they are demands.

WISHES-WANTS-EXPECTATIONS-DEMANDS. When things are wishes it is easier, it may come true or not. But then when are transformed to demands there is an unsaid protocol from our mind that it should be met. If not then ?? It leaves us broken and upset.


How can we bring in happiness?

  • Let's incorporate some flexibility in the way we look at life, i;e like an Elastic Band. So that we are not broken easily. we shouldn't keep conditions, this must and most definitely should happen.
  • Let's be more realistic. " I cant live if my girl friend leave me " But is this true at all ? Is there any base to such statements?
  • Our motto should be to more grateful and look at the good things that has happened. Question yourself "What is good in my life?"
  • It's easier said than done. Some of the theories of happiness are merely oversimplification of fundas.
  • There is no sure shot mantra to be happy, a little effort is required, but this should be constant one.
  • Challenge your unhappy thoughts. Question yourself "What is the basis of such thoughts?"
  • And if someone else facing the same problem and same circumstance will he or she be thinking differently?"
  • Happiness is a state and not a personality trait.
  • Happy people are more successful because happy people are definitely way more productive and creative


Since there is very high positive correlation between mental health and happiness, this itself is enough to explain the importance of happiness.

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Comments
  • Jan. 10, 2022, 2:46 a.m.

    Excellent article.. very useful message.. thanks a lot Vidya..
      
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Working as Clinical psychologist A Mental Health Consultant on many start up mental health portals. An Expert Panelist in Parentune i conduct live workshop thereby answer parents concerns
A mental wellness therapist/ counsellor/ psychologist. I believe in maintaining healthy mind enriched with healthy postive thoughts.