There’s an excellent post at The Good Vader by Julio Lara about the “Anatomy of a Happy Life.” He indicates freedom, variety and change are essential. He talks of his personal experience and observations which I find correlate well with my own. A few key points popped out at me including:
- not allowing our physical experience to be an excuse for not being happy,
- happiness is an inside job,
- choosing the road we want walk,
- Change is a blessing when we transcend our fear of it, and
- happiness is not a line to cross.
On the same day I came across a News360 article from LifeHacker about “What Research Says Happiness Really Is.” Studying happiness includes observations, experience sampling, correlation, longitudinal and experimental studies. People usually associate happiness with well-being, personal traits, emotions and sensations. Researches evaluate data with satisfaction life scales, positive and negative affect schedules, and other theoretical constructs. The article talks about what happiness is not like having all your personal needs met, always feeling satisfied, feeling pleasure all the time and not having negative emotions which often are external pressures from marketing or culture. Dr Martin Seligman is quoted in the article for his five key elements of happiness (PERMA):
- Positive Emotions like gratitude, satisfaction, pleasure, inspiration, hope, curiosity and love,
- Engagement where we lose ourselves in what we do and have a sense of “disappeared time.”,
- Relationships with people in meaningful and positive ways,
- Meaning coming from serving something larger than ourselves like helping humanity
- Accomplishment/Achievement when we feel significant life satisfaction in bettering ourselves.
The article also suggests good places to start like getting plenty of sleep, developing emotional intelligence, and buying experiences not material goods.
The two articles work well together albeit from different perspectives. If we can take the good with the bad in our lives and manage our attention to reframe the bad to find opportunity, we set the foundation to experience more happiness. Our senses of satisfaction, gratitude, hope, feeling pleasure and curiosity for what’s happening around us increase. Instead of focusing on happiness we simply are happy with the variety and change inherent in every moment. The freedom to be ourselves and our happiness emerge out of this management of attention. For the biz of you, attention is one of the primary resources along with attitude and actions we have to create the life we envision.
For myself, happiness is not something I control. Happiness is something I allow to emerge. What happens, happens. I focus on observing with as little judgement as I can which enables me to see opportunities and manage my attention to maintain an open proactive attitude while keeping with my emotional center of gravity. At least that’s what I try to do. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way and I have to take time to return to my center and focus. This is why two of the critical themes of my manuscript, Managing the Business of You is to “Find the Fun” and “Find the Connection.” Sometimes we have to reconnect with ourselves to be able to find the fun in life allowing us to be happy.
“One of the misconceptions about happiness is that happiness is being cheerful, joyous, and content all the time; always having a smile on your face. It’s not—being happy and leading rich lives is about taking the good with the bad, and learning how to reframe the bad.” Dr. Vanessa Buote.
“Focus on building a happy life while you live in this world and when you depart, you will leave a better place behind you, just by setting the example of happiness with your existence.” Julio Lara