Guy looking across a lake and thinking about life

To be happy, be still


Always being happy is hard.

And in reality is it even worth it?

Waking up and having coffee can make you happy.

Getting good news from your spouse can make you happy.

A lot of things can make you happy.

But chasing the idea of always being happy is unwise.

Truth be told, it’s foolish to try and always be happy. This advice is going to go against conventional wisdom.

But finding purpose in life is more important than seeking happiness. This paper published by Ruut Veenhoven suggests that happiness cannot be a lasting feeling.

The report’s abstract is published below:

Utilitarian moral philosophy holds that we should aim at greater happiness for a greater
number. Yet two theories about how we assess how happy we are imply that there is not
much value in happiness and that happiness cannot be raised lastingly. These two
theories are: (1) ‘Set-point’ theory, which holds that we are mentally programmed for a
certain degree of happiness, and (2) ‘Comparison’ theory holding that happiness results
from a rational mental calculus involving comparison with standard of the good life. An
alternative mental theory that fit better with utilitarian creed is the (3) ‘Affect’ theory that
happiness depends on unreasoned emotional experience, which reflects gratification of
needs.

What does it mean to be happy?

In general, we classify happiness as the amount we “like” our current life. The problem with this is the amount of subjectivity we introduce on our perception of life.

We can discuss the feeling of happiness, but there is very little understanding about what the state of happiness looks like.

Just to be clear. I don’t have the answer.

But thinking about happiness is something I do often.

I have found that being happy isn’t something that SHOULD or NEEDS a lot of thought. It’s just a feeling and it almost happens without you knowing it.

So don’t worry about finding happiness. It will come when you do other things that pave the way.

To be happy, be still.

Try this

  1. Leave your phone in another room and sit quietly for 10 minutes. What do you think about?
  2. Write a list of what your perfect day looks like. How close are you to it?
  3. Write a thank you note to someone who recently helped you do something. Show gratitude.
  4. Think back to this time last year. What is something you have learned that you are proud of?
  5. Compliment yourself. Look in the mirror and say one nice thing to yourself.
  6. Don’t think about the past and don’t think about the future. What is one thing you are happy about in the present moment?

All of these types of activities are great for slowing down, not putting too much pressure on yourself, and realizing what you have…could already make you happy.

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