There are some things in life that we have all experienced first hand, but when asked to explain it, we can’t seem to find the right words.
Maybe, some things are just meant to be felt instead of being defined.
But that doesn’t stop us from trying, does it?
We still attempt to define and explain the most fundamental feelings and emotions that we experience on an almost daily basis.
Take happiness for example.
We have all felt it. But how do you explain happiness or describe it? You could say that when you are happy, you feel good, but what is it really?
Well, in my view, it is a feeling of pleasantness. When you are happy, you feel this surge of energy within you and everything feels much lighter. You feel as though you are gliding on a layer of air. In fact, this is what most spiritual gurus say when they talk about happiness. It is this bliss that is experienced within.
You could also look towards science to understand what happiness is or what defines happiness.
After all, something must happen inside the body for us to feel that way, right?
- The Science of Happiness
- Is Happiness The Same For All?
- Examples of Personal Happiness
- Common Factors of Happiness
The Science of Happiness
A lot of research has been done on this matter and scientists know exactly what changes happen in the brain and the body to generate the feeling of happiness.
There are two main chemicals called serotonin and dopamine responsible for our feelings of pleasantness.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter created by the brain. It regulates your mood and is released when you do things that you like or find pleasurable.
For instance, eating your favorite food, cuddling with your partner, playing a video game that you like, etc. all increase serotonin levels in the body. That is why it is also called the “happiness chemical”.
Dopamine is also a neurotransmitter that is made in the brain and is often called the “pleasure chemical”. The brain releases dopamine as part of a reward system. So, when you do something that you like or things that you should be doing, it floods the system with this chemical.
For instance, achieving a goal, or having good food, the brain releases dopamine throughout the body. This then makes you feel good.
But even though the chemical processes that lead to happiness could be the same for everybody, the definition of happiness or the things that lead to it can greatly vary from one person to another.
Is Happiness The Same For All?
The short answer? No!
And we all know this from experience. What makes you happy might not make another person happy and vice versa.
In a way, this shows you how unique each individual is.
I think this is also the reason why our human race has advanced so far. Throughout history, so many people tried doing what made them happy and it led to countless innovations, the benefits of which we reap today.
To truly understand why and how happiness can mean different things to different people, you must understand the concept of personal happiness.
Basically, it is your own idea of what makes you happy and it totally depends on you as an individual and your life’s unique characteristics.
Examples of Personal Happiness
Ok, so to really get the idea of personal happiness in your head, let’s take a look at some examples.
Maybe you will be able to relate with one of these or get inspired to find your own set of things that make you happy. Keep inmind these are just examples that can be considered a little simplistic. Of course, it is often much more complex than that.
1) The Simple But Happy
One type of personal happiness could be from a man’s or woman’s perspective who has a small family, a small house, a stable job, good neighbors, and they have good, tasty food together.
They spend their nights playing board games or watching television. This person may not necessarily want to travel the world, accumulate riches beyond measure, show off materialistic things, and so on.
He or she is the type of person for whom the simpler things in life bring happiness.
2) The Lone Ranger
A woman who enjoys living together, not being tied to anything or anyone.
She is independent and wants to build a life that she wants to live.
For her, it is her dreams that keep her moving, and achieving milestones along the way is what makes her truly happy.
She might love hanging out with friends but she is also happy spending a lot of time with her own self. She is the type of person for whom freedom brings real happiness.
You can also replace “she” by “he”.
3) The Life of The Party
This could be a person who loves the louder things in life.
They like to go to night clubs, spend time with friends dancing and drinking all night.
They love experiences rather than things and want to live a life that they would remember when they are older.
They don’t mind being the center of attention wherever they go and wan to live life fully.
For them, their friends, and having fun together is what makes them truly happy.
4) The Service-Oriented
This is a person who loves to be of service to other people. They actively take part in community initiatives and frequently contribute to non-governmental and charity organizations.
They find meaning in helping others and believe that they are doing god’s work by doing so.
They could care less about hoarding materialistic wealth.
Instead, they believe in giving away a large share of what they earn to those who need it.
For people like them, making a positive change in other people’s lives is what makes them truly happy.
5) The Travellers
Then there are people who love to travel to as many places as they can.
They are eternal nomads who don’t want to be bound to one single location. They are out and about all the time, visiting one country after the other.
They love to immerse themselves in different cultures, people, languages, art, and other similar experiences.
They want to see with their own eyes the beauty that nature has created and the magnificence that humans have built.
For them, being explorers is what makes them truly happy.
6) The Wealth Builder
This is the type of person for whom life is all about money.
They believe in working hard and stacking piles of cash so that they can afford anything that their heart desires.
They don’t care that other people might not approve of this and are only busy looking for ways to keep earning more.
They love having materialistic possessions and adorn their houses with shiny things.
For them, building wealth is what makes them truly happy.
7) The Fame Seeker
There are people who want to make a name for themselves.
They like all the glamor and attention that they can possibly get in the world. They love that “larger than life” attitude and feel happy when fans are clamoring for their signature or for a selfie.
These are generally those who go on to become celebrities. They like having the power to influence people based on what they like and dislike.
For them, being famous is what brings them true happiness.
8) The Monk
There are some people who seek the ultimate truth of reality and only its pursuit is what makes them happy.
They live in monasteries or temples with no possessions at all and have cut all ties with people in the societal world.
They spend their days doing deep meditation or studying religious and spiritual texts.
They want to experience god or any higher power through their pursuit and it is only this that can bring them true happiness.
Common Factors of Happiness
Even though happiness can mean different things to different people, there are a few common things that would make most people happy.
These mainly relate to the general well-being of people so that they can live a more fulfilled life.
Great physical, mental and emotional health can make most people happy, even though they might not realize this every day.
However, once that realization hits, you are bound to be grateful for it.
The thing is, only if you have good health can you pursue other things that make you happy. It is the foundational layer for your eventual happiness.
Every person has at least a few people in their life.
It can be family, friends, or the people they work with. Healthy and strong relationships can fill your life with unbridled happiness.
We are social animals and we love the social connections we form with other people.
Spending some quality time with these people doing things that you love is something that most people can relate to.
Now, “enough” could mean different things to different people.
However, you could say that enough money means the amount that can allow you to live a comfortable life.
That means all your bills are paid, you can spend some money on your other wants, and you can also save a little for the future. Most people would find happiness in this financial situation.
So what about you? Do you agree with us? How would you describe happiness? Feel free to give us your very own definition.