To define happiness in a condensed way is a challenge because the feeling is sometimes elusive. So what is it? Happiness is the lasting feeling that comes from becoming someone you want to be and also someone other people want to be with. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines happiness as: “a state of well-being and contentment; a pleasurable satisfaction.
Another definition of happiness is to have an overall experience of contentment and meaning. A happy person enjoys positive emotions and knows her or his life values. When we have a purpose and a passion for something in our life, when we regularly enjoy visiting our family and friends around our dining table, we are happy. When we have life balance too. So, for sure, when you have life purpose and a sense of well being, you are probably happy.
Have a look at Definition of Happiness for more information.
For example, to define happiness, in my life I shop only when I need something. The last time I walked around a large indoor mall watching everyone strolling from store to store with their purchases in hand, I was drawn to all the things for sale, the marble floors and the shiny glass, the glitter and glamour. But seeing all this didn’t make me happy. When I buy something I really want, I’m tickled with it.
But then the feeling of newness wears off and whatever it is -- the new espresso machine or camera or car becomes part of my life. I enjoy the items I buy. But they don’t give me happiness. Think about this after you buy something you really wanted. How long do you feel really excited about what you bought – a week, a month?
Happiness is an attitude that is not connected to material things. There is an expression, “Attitude is Altitude.” Sometimes we don’t even know that we are happy. In the United States, the rest of the Western world and part of Asia too, the economy is important. For example, America measures its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or the country's total output. But are all the people in the States, Canada and Europe happy?
For sure, we all need to work to put a roof over our heads and food on our tables. We need money to pay for clothes, transportation and entertainment. But all our stuff -- our big houses, our shiny cars and technological gadgets don’t bring us lasting happiness.
Define happiness is very different in other places. Far on the other side of the world, strange as it seems, there is a small county that has a completely different way of looking at life. Instead of GDP, Bhutan, an Asian country to the northeast of India, has another indicator, the Gross Happiness Index (GHI).
Bhutan bases its index on: psychological wellbeing, health, time use, education, cultural diversity, good governance, community vitality, ecological diversity and living standards. Money and the economy are not important there.
Road signs show the difference between the two concepts. On the side of the winding mountain road that runs between the airport and the Bhutanese capital, Thimphu, the road signs say: "Life is a journey! Complete it!" "Let nature be your guide" and at the edge of a very dangerous curve, another sign says: "Inconvenience regretted." So instead of warning against excessive speed or an unfastened seat belt, they give positive messages about spirituality and well being. Their focus is not on fear and bad news stories on the radio and television stations either.
This remote kingdom gives uplifting messages, not commands and warnings to its people and visitors. It is a place of ancient monasteries, fluttering prayer flags and staggering natural beauty. Since 1971, Bhutan has rejected GDP as the only way to measure progress. Instead the country measures prosperity through the spiritual, physical, social and environmental health of its citizens and natural environment.
Happiness is a crowded dinner table. Happiness is helping others. It is spending time totally engaged with people. It is planting a garden, singing, dancing or painting or carving ducks from wood. So defining happiness is a little like happiness itself. Happiness will build self esteem because it gives a sense of well being.For photos and adventure stories, have a look at my adventure blog. Go from Define Happiness to Emotional Intelligence