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Finding Happiness: 3 questions you need to ask yourself


Photo: Mary Bettini Blank/Pixabay
Are you happy? What makes you happy? What does happiness mean to you?
 
These are questions that we, including this Blog, frequently ask because we're constantly seeking answers.
 
Perhaps, we might have better luck if sometimes we ask ourselves the three questions.
 
Am I happy? What makes me happy? What does happiness mean to me?
 
There’s just one problem: Many of us would probably struggle to answer because we’re so overwhelmed by negative thoughts and emotions that we often fail to see happiness even if someone were to shake it in our face.
 
I know I would.
 
As the author of this piece, it’s only proper that I answer the questions first, and as honestly as I can.
 
Am I happy?
 
I believe I can be if I set my mind to it. Besides, I have no reason not to be joyful most of the time. And yet… This is the “struggle to answer” part I was talking about.
 
What makes me happy?
 
This one’s relatively easy – my family. Their presence in my life fills me with an immense sense of joy. It’s almost as if there’s nothing else in life to match the happiness they bring. I’m sure a lot of people around the world feel the same way.
 
What does happiness mean to me?
 
A lot of things, no doubt. But most of the time happiness to me would mean feeling good inside, having moments that make me smile, and being free from worry and in a state of calm. Frankly, it’s something I'm still figuring out.
 
Whatever our circumstances, the magical thing about happiness is that we can find joy throughout our daily experiences, if only we take the time to notice and appreciate them.
 
○ A memorable vacation with the family
 
○ A successful work assignment
 
○ A meaningful conversation with a loved one
 
○ The food we love eating
 
○ A book we can’t put down
 
○ An entire day without worry
 
○ A good night’s sleep
 
○ Painting on a canvas
 
○ A walk in the park or on the beach
 
○ Playing a musical instrument
 
○ Connecting with others
 
○ Small acts of kindness
 
The list is by no means exhaustive, but each of these little things can bring us joy, develop into powerful habits, and influence us to change our outlook on life.
 
Generally speaking, our capacity to be happy or not depends on life satisfaction, which, as the World Happiness Report 2024 notes, is “the best indicator of quality of life.” A higher life satisfaction can only come when our positive emotions start outweighing our negative emotions. This is possible when, as spiritual teacher and author Eknath Easwaran suggests, we are less preoccupied with ourselves – our thoughts, feelings and circumstances – and more focused on putting others first.
 
It’s a simple truth that the less we dwell on ourselves, the more likely we are to spread positive energy around us. When we are happy, we create a ripple effect of joy and deepen our own well-being.
 
In short, we make our happiness contagious.
 
© Prashant C. Trikannad

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2 Comments


I like that perspective a lot. I also think we need to be very mindful of when we do feel happy and content. What made us feel that way? Too often, I don't think we pay attention when something really made us feel content or happy.

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Margot, thank you for commenting. You're right — we tend to be more "mindful" of the times when we're not happy than when we're experiencing joy or contentment. Perhaps, it's because we have conditioned ourselves to pay more attention to our difficulties and struggles than to the joys in our life.

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