How Important Is Happiness?
Do you live in search of happiness? If yes, you are not alone. Many of us don't even realize we are obsessed with the pursuit of happiness, at almost any cost.
Happiness means different things to different people. To some it is found in celebrating a holiday with family; to others it's the attainment of a long-awaited goal. Yet there are those who seek happiness in adrenaline-producing activities. How do you define happiness in your life? When are you happiest?
Our own happiness can be somewhat the elusive dream but there are people who radiate joy and leave happiness in their wake wherever they go. Are you one of them?
My daughter, Ava is one of those people who brings joy with her whenever she arrives and my late father was the same way. People crave being around them, largely because it seems like their joy rubs off on others.
You may recall my dauther, Ava as my assistant for many years, managing our Academy office here in Florida prior to 2012. She has since moved to Ohio but she just announced she will be joining us on this year's Barefoot Mastermind team! (Mom is doing a happy dance!)
The media would have us believe that our happiness relies on acquiring the next, new thing. In fact we are inundated with hundreds of these messages each time we watch TV or listen to the radio. The ads tell us we will never be completely happy until we have whatever it is they are promoting. Our friends, family and colleagues reinforce that we need what they have. The subliminal message is that the more we have, the better we will feel.
How many times have you caught yourself in what I call a happiness-mirage? You might find yourself saying or thinking that you will be happy at some point in the future when a particular thing happens. I know I have, all too often. This has led us to believe that happiness always exists in the future rather than now. In fact many of us plan our whole lives around when _________ happens. Unfortunately the fact remains that when _________ does finally happen, our happiness will not increase either as dramatically as we expect or in the long term. Even if there is somewhat of a measurable change, very quickly we return to our happiness "set-point".
“The search for happiness is one of the chief sources
of unhappiness.” — Eric Hoffer
The following statistics refute the happiness myths:
- Reuters.com reports that Americans are less happy today than they were 30 years ago thanks to longer working hours and a deterioration in the quality of their relationships with friends and neighbors, according to an Italian study.
- According to a Fox News poll, 21 percent think others are "happy," vs. 34 percent who say they are.
- The use of antidepressants in our society is at a record high which tells me that countless people want to be happy or at least numb their pain. I agree there there is a legitimate need for antidepressants, but in my opinion, these make up the minority of users.
- Nearly 40% of the people on the Forbes list of the wealthiest Americans are less happy than the average American.
- Statistically, once a person's income exceeds $12,000 a year, more money produces almost no increase in happiness.
- This means that even if you have better circumstances and more things, you are not likely to be any happier than those who don't.
And the fact is, happiness can only exist in the NOW, not in the future.
We have all seen people who seem happy almost always. Why is it that some of us are happier than those who can't seem to find happiness, no matter what they do?
Many of us have been taught that the joy of the Lord is our strength. It is indeed but most of us have little idea how to acquire this joy. For a lot of us, happiness ebbs and flows and its level enjoys little consistency. The enemy just loves when our joy level decreases because then we are weak and vulnerable to his wiles. When we don't walk in our joy, the world cannot see the evidence of God's love and power in our lives, which is undoubtedly our greatest witness.
If you are a life coach, counselor or other people-helper, you are probably familiar with hearing the phrase, "All I want is to just be happy." We nod our head in agreement and understanding while deep down, we are reminded of our own need for happiness and questions about its likelihood.
It is my goal to change this. I have done a lot of study on the topic of happiness and I have found answers and solutions to help create a level of sustainable and increasing happiness in your life and the lives of your clients.
And to be clear, attaining a happier life will not mean you have to do more things, but rather learn new habits that will naturally lead to greater, lasting happiness. I look forward to developing training that addresses this topic in the future because we can each choose to be happy if we are willing to make a few changes.
Our readers and I would love to hear from you if you have seen challenges
to lasting happiness. Just add your comment below!
© 2015 Leelo Bush PhD
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