The beauty with happiness is that it means different things for different people. For some people happiness is about living life to its full and living in the moment. To others, happiness is about helping people.  Within society most people relate happiness to wealth and money. We live in a modern age where money is perceived to bring us the most happiness and without it people often worry and stress that they won’t be able to function. Money can bring us short term happiness but does not bring long term happiness for the pure fact that once you achieve a certain amount you will constantly want to achieve more. Your level of happiness will keep growing and growing and you will never feel as though you have reached your highest level.

Some people spend their whole lives trying to find happiness and I believe that perception plays a large role within this process. How you perceive the world will influence your level of happiness. Do you perceive happiness to be a social construct? Does society influence your view of happiness?  What makes you truly happy? When trying to find happiness we think about what makes our friends or family happy. We spend very little time thinking about ourselves and being honest. As human beings we are naturally biased to remembering negative events. Therefore if you told someone to write down all the good and bad things that have happened over a week, they are more likely to remember the bad. Reflection plays an important role within happiness. How often do you reflect on the good things that have happened over your day, week, month or year? When you achieve a goal do you praise yourself for the goal? Most people who achieve their goals don’t give themselves enough credit.

So what is happiness? Happiness is unique to you. It is not a specific definition that has been constructed by society. It is not about trying to please others. Happiness is about understanding what makes you feel good. Happiness can lead to more success, better health and longevity.  Did you know that out of 145 countries Panama leads the world in overall wellbeing? Costa Rica and Puerto Rico came 2nd and 3rd. This is related to the Global well being index that looks at 5 main elements:

  • Purpose: This is associated to achieving your goals and liking what you do every day
  • Social: This is focused around the amount of love a person has in their life and having supportive relationships.
  • Financial: managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
  • Community: feeling safe and liking where you live
  • Physical: having good health and enough energy to do things daily

The terms wellbeing and happiness are often used interchangeably. People associate high levels of wellbeing with high levels of happiness. Next time you think about happiness why don’t you think about these 5 constructs.

  • Do you enjoy what you do each day?
  • Are you achieving yours goals?
  • Do you have supportive relationships and love in your life?
  • Can you manage your finances?
  • Do you like where you live?
  • Do you have good physical health?

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