writing this article as a registered medical practitioner who is a fellow in the study of human behaviour and psychology
What Is Happiness ?
Veenhoven defines happiness as the degree to which an individual judges the overall quality of his/her own life-as-a-whole favorably. In other words: how much one likes the life one leads.
Happiness is broadly defined by psychologists and other social scientists by a term 'subjective well-being' in prospects of emotional state. As such subjective well-being focuses on an individual's overall personal perception about one's life.
Components of happiness (or subjective well-being) are:
- The balance of emotions: Every positive and negative experience,emotion,feelings and mood is generally linked to experiencing more positive feelings than negative.
- Life satisfaction: This defines how satisfied one is feeling with different dimensions of one's life including one's relationships, work, achievements, and private life.1
Secret of Happiness
For every person in the mortal world, happiness is the most desired thing. A lack of happiness in the life of a person is the principal cause for insurmountable greed, corruption and crime in human society. But the question is, all this making any one happy. For sure answer is big no. Then,from where this secret can be unearthed by any person. And what exactly is the secret of 'happiness'. To know the secret of happiness, one just have to understand what happiness is all about when no concrete concept of happiness exists anywhere. Look into every definition of happiness and then what one is expected to find in it ?
After reading every book and text ,one will meet confusion and misconception for 'idea of happiness'. One will only meet rhetoric & jargon on topic of happiness but will never get any idea or clue about -what is happiness? , What is secret of happiness? As nearly every where mere altruism is projected as sign of earning happiness. This is not true at all.
Ideas of Happiness From Religions
Eastern religions are making inconceivable claims for defining happiness. They see happiness as the state of ultimate freedom from sufferings and pain. Eastern religions state happiness comes from identifying God or Brahman or Soulful searching. But no eastern religion can explain 'what is happiness?' in a perfect & punctilious manner, so that people can practice it and be happy in their lives.
Same is the story of Abrahmic religions also, where only 'surrender-ship to God /All Mighty' is depicted as true source of happiness , when no one knows what is God and where it lives. They keep believing on its existence as per teachings of Prophets. How mere surrendering to God ,one is expected to be happy when one cant communicate to god directly for one's miseries and pain? No Abrahmic Religion is seen ready to answer this basic question to its followers to be happy in life.
This indicates no religious institution in the true sense is knowing what happiness means And what is the secret of happiness ? No eastern religious philosophy knows what exactly needs to achieve a constant state of happiness in day to day life. In Eastern religion, one can find a lot of words to define the idea of 'happiness' as like bliss, ecstasy, joy, the nectar of fulfillment. But Eastern culture dont know what is the true meaning of those synonymous words to answer what is 'secret of happiness?'.Abrahmic religions are also not solving issue of happiness for poor souls beside chanting 'God wills it , God wills it' . All this means nearly all known religion dont know gimmick of secret of happiness. And no religion is able to answer what is secret of happiness for any ordinary human being ,who is seeking such simple issue of happiness for his or her existence.
Religious Clergymen Fooling Audience by Telling Stories of Satisfaction,Devotion,Rejection And Self Limitations In The Name of Happiness
Ideas of Happiness From Western Experts
Famous Psychiatrist Sigmund Freud says that all humans strive after happiness. But possibilities of it, are restricted as people can derive intense enjoyment only from a contrast and very little from the state of things. Which means - Sigmund Fraud rather than telling that -"I can't understand Happiness " is running hallow commentary on the topic of Happiness. And hence Sigmund Freud has seen using tons of jargon to cover up his failure to define happiness, in simple word.
Philosopher John Stuart Mill , political economist claimed that happiness is best-achieved en pass-ant. John Stuart Mill meant that people must not do any striving for consciousness, interrogation, thinking about one's happiness. Then, if fortunate & circumstanced, people would 'inhale happiness with the air you breathe'. All this means - Mr John Stuart Mill like philosophers are also failing to define what simply is happiness. And further, hoping for happiness as the objectivity of circumstances.
In ancient times, Aristotle like philosophers who had contributed nothing to reveal the secret of happiness. Aristotle explained nothing besides identifying the word "happiness" by term "eudaimonia". Is just identifying Happiness by some new terms and words going to help any one to earn happiness in one's life? Obviously not.
This shows, all these western Philosophers, Psychologist and Experts of Social sciences had failed to solve the mystery of happiness.When Social scientists of new world and old world if keep failing to identify and then reveal secret of happiness , then from where common people are expected to know how to be happy in their lives beside keep chasing rhetoric and jargon in the name of philosophy and psychology to ensure happiness in their lives.
Futile & Non conclusive Studies of Western Psychologist For Identifying Secret of Happiness
Western researchers yet to be seen debating happiness , revolving around a
critical point: "Is the pursuit of happiness worthwhile or is it “as futile as trying to become taller ?"4
Some scholars with inconclusive studies on Happiness, argued that pursuing happiness can backfire, resulting in disappointment, which indicates that a better strategy might be to accept to achieve our happiness levels5. Now contradicting to it, Researchers like Sheldon and Lyubomirsky argued that, with some attention to our thinking habits and the choices that we make regarding how we spend our time, and the activities that we engage with, and indeed with some intentional effort, attaining higher happiness levels is possible, and these can be maintained over the long term.6
In simple words, Researchers like Sheldon and Lyubomirsky are -telling thorough their research that, they don't know what to with "Happiness" , as they don't understand its origin and sustenance.
And when such researched in the western world, don't know how happiness work and exist, then how they can be successful in -foretelling -the secret of Happiness, for any one.
Enigma Persist Still Solution Is Not in Sight
Enigma Of Happiness
Now Question is, 'Is happiness such a greatest enigma, which can't be solved by anyone ?'
Then answer is no, it is not.
As happiness is always a simple issue to latch upon but always missed by everybody all the time as like bare thorns lying on the streets.
Yes, the issue is simple, as happiness is not some unimaginable-state of mind or conditioning of the mind. But it is simple "Human Emotion" as like other emotions such as Love, Hate, Sadness or Grief . And being an emotion, any human being can choose to be happy or not be happy. Happiness is 'a choice of the human mind'. But it cant be chosen just by handpicking or can be shopped from mall or bought from some clinic.
As mentioned one’s happiness depends upon one’s emotional nature and thence the degree of satisfaction . This means happiness, of course, depends upon the quality and degree of the emotions forming the person’s emotional nature. Which further implies happiness lies within oneself .There is just need for one to make space for happiness to precipitate in one's heart as happiness can't be handpicked directly. One need to let happiness fill empty space of heart by removing unnecessary burden of emotions and feelings .
When a vacant space in one's heart is created then, one need to start accepting one's life as it is . This will automatically start filling heart with happiness and bliss.The human mind can choose to be happy in every moment by accepting every "ifs & buts" of life.
The true enemy of happiness is "resistance and denial" expressed by a person to recognize the truth of one's life expressed in every moment and breath. This only leads to burdening of one's mind and heart with unnecessary thoughts ,useless baggage of feelings.
So ,if one wants to be happy in one's life then one need to shed all this beast of burden away from his/her mind and heart.
So true secret to be happy in life is- 'Acceptance of everything in life as it is without reacting or judging any event or circumstances of life.There is also need to mention here that accepting everything in life as it is does not mean that one need to surrender one's life to circumstances . Albeit this means that, one is ready to rise above the circumstances ,by accepting everything in one's life as it is , to be truly ever happy human being.
Accept Everything In Life as It Is
Accept Everything As It Is
Once anyone starts accepting every good and bad of everyday life, without judging it then one is free to be happy all the time. Let it be how much 'bad and cruel' or 'good and blissful' if person starts accepting every moment of life as it is, then his consciousness will witness a constant state of happiness for sure.
So true secret of happiness is 'acceptance of everything in life as it is', without reacting or judging it .
Jodie Butler & Joseph Ciarrochi in their published paper 2007 as psychologist has stated that " Acceptance allows more psychological resources to be available for experiencing life events & get rid oneself from negative thoughts and mood rebound effects. They further stated in same research paper that,"Acceptance of Life" may allow people to engage in and enjoy a variety of experiences, as they do not need to avoid all situations that may elicit distress.2
In more simple words , it can be understood that , "Enemy of Happiness" is resistance to unexpected happenings and irreversible circumstances of everyday life. If one learns to accept everything in life 'as it is', then a sense of gratitude, sense of fulfillment and sense of easiness will start appearing in one's consciousness. This will further open a broad way for oneself to be all the Time Happy Individual.
"Acceptance of everything in life as it is"- is the master key to be happy. One who can do it ,is surly destine to be the happiest individual in all seasons of life."3
Burbling Water by Accepting Every Turn and Twist In It's Path, Is Expressing Happiness in Every Drop of Flowing River
Learn Happiness From Flowing of Water In River Stream
Observe the burbling water flowing in the river stream. This burbling of water is produced when the water in the river stream is turning, twisting and moulding as per turns and obstacles coming in its path.
Look at the sweet music produced by burbling of water in the stream of the river.
Isn't this sweet music produced by river stream expressing the song of Happiness?
What does this teach?
---This teaches that when one gets ready to accept one's life as it is and be ready to rise beyond all circumstances of life then happiness is destined to start flowing & flourishing in one's life.
Accept everything in life as it is, Rise above the circumstances and eventuality of life and Be the happiest individual to enjoy all moments and seasons of life.
4.Lykken, D. & Tellegen, A. (1996). Happiness is a stochastic phenomenon. Psychological Science, 7,186–189.
5.Gruber, J., Mauss, I. B., & Tamir, M. (2011). A dark side of happiness? How, when, and why happiness is not always good. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6(3), 222–233.
6.Sheldon, K. M. & Lyubomirsky, S. (2019). Revisiting the sustainable happiness model and pie chart: Can happiness be successfully pursued?. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 1–10.
Learn more opinions on topic of happiness , from High Highness Dalai Lama
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Dr Nilesh Jaybhaye
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on November 25, 2020: