What is happiness? How would you define it?
Defining happiness is the first step towards building more of it. But that doesn’t mean it is a simple task! Within the science of positive psychology, you can find quite many definitions of happiness. Most of them agrees on some basic foundations (the ones we will also explore in this post) – yet they are also quite different in nuances.
You are the one who can give the best definition for yourself – but I hope this post will give you a bit of “food for thoughts” on how we can think about happiness.
How we like to think about it at Happiness Academy is as the balance between feeling of happiness in the moment, and the “big picture” of our lives.
Happiness in a moment means that our life is rich with pleasant emotions (although it doesn’t mean we never experience unpleasant ones too), that we are enjoying small things and moments, that we are living in a mindful and present way, with a sense of appreciation and gratitude.
“Big picture” aspect of happiness is all about how we see our life when we “zoom out” from everyday moments – How are we thinking about life, about the world, and about yourself? Do we have a sense of meaning in life, and are we finding meaning in the world around us? Is our life rich in flow, in learning, in interesting experiences and are we achieving our goals? How do we relate to ourselves (is it gentle and loving) and to others?
To live a happy life then means to maintain the subtle balance between the two.
Yes, that can be challenging at times.
It is challenging because “happiness in the moment” requires us to be present, not overthink, not overplan, not get (too) distracted from life in the moment. At the same time, “big picture” require us to think visionary, philosophically, to see the connections & patterns between things, to connect these moments into meaningful story.
Yet it is also the beauty of life – to search for that subtle balance in a playful way, through adventures, experiences, experiments and reflection – that is to truly live!
Moment for reflection
If at some moment you feel your sense of happiness in life gets a bit shaky – start from questioning this balance. Where are you with it right now? Which of the two aspects works better, and which one has space for you to make it stronger?
Perhaps today is the right day to commit to keeping this balance in your life?
Would you like to work on your well-being and overall happiness?
Join us for the free “12 pillars of happiness” email course!