Aristotle said and I quote here- “Happiness depends upon ourselves”. But do we really strive for it or try to achieve it in our lives? What does happiness mean? Is happiness the ultimate goal of our lives?
When pondering over these questions we need to look within and find what gives us real happiness. Research has shown that material things give us only momentary pleasure. We get used to the positive and good things in life very easily. In technical terms it is called “hedonist adaptability”. For example, if we buy a new car or a house or if there is a major positive change in our lives, we adapt to it in no time. A marriage takes about two years after which the charm seems to disappear.
A person is happy when she is satisfied with her life and is optimistic about future. She has set goals and is willing to put her energy and efforts in achieving these goals. She shows kindness towards others and is grateful for what she has. She savors pleasures and lives in the present moment. She makes physical activity a habit. She is often spiritual or religious. Such people are more productive. They are healthier with a strong immune system. They have more friends and strong relationships. They have a love for life.
What if one is not a happy person by these standards? Is it possible to change our state from unhappiness to happiness? Research proves that our happiness quotient depends fifty percent on our genes, which is not in our control. About ten percent is in the hands of our current circumstances. This leaves us with only forty percent which we can change with our efforts.
If we wish to be happy, we will have to make a conscious effort to do so. There are lots of strategies to increase the happiness quotient. Coping well with adversities and learning to forgive are a few of them. People who have a positive attitude towards life and are grateful and appreciative towards what they have in life, tend to be happier. Living in the present and not worrying about past or future is another way to feel happy. Practicing meditation and engaging in a physical activity on a regular basis also helps.
Whatever the strategy one uses, it ultimately depends on the individual’s choice of remaining happy or unhappy in life. We need to decide what kind of life we wish to lead- a happy, healthy life full of faith and love or otherwise.