Informative, and General Reading
The Pursuit of Happiness
by Sanjiv Sahay
The pursuit of happiness is one of the primary goals of all humans.
This, along with life and liberty, was declared as an essential right in
the US declaration of independence. Every religion and philosophy has
offered its pathway to happiness. Happiness is a state of mind and there
are many paths to it. There are common prerequisites to sustained
happiness as well as common causes of unhappiness. These usually
transcend all classifications of gender, age or race. There are other
factors which are very individual specific.
What is Happiness
Happiness is a state of the mind. The dictionary definition is
‘feelings of joy and pleasure mingled together”. A feeling of happiness
is more than just an experience of joy or pleasure. It is a state of
mind where the individual feels that “life is good”.
Happiness is a state of mind which can be induced by many means –
some result in short term happiness while others result in long lasting
happiness. One way of inducing long lasting happiness and bliss is
meditation. For a busy person, a more practical way to becoming happier
is to make steady progress towards meaningful goals. Even though this
seems simple, it really is a very powerful technique to attain a state
of long lasting happiness. The goals may vary from individual to
individual, but for everyone happiness comes from merely making steady
progress towards goals that are meaningful to them. The key is that
goals have to be meaningful to you. Progress towards goals set by some
one else will not bring happiness (unless you too desire the same
There should be a balance in your goals to ensure that the
prerequisites of happiness are fulfilled. These prerequisites include
good health, sufficient income to meet basic needs, affection, some
productive work or activity, defined and achievable goals and good
attitude. All the money in the world will not make you happy if you
ignore your health or have bad relationships. Also you must try to
remove the causes of unhappiness from your life. These causes are - lack
of any of the prerequisites for happiness, failure to achieve goals,
envy, relationship problems, loneliness and fear of the opinion of
Studies have shown that a number of factors contribute to sustained
happiness. Some of these are
• Good self esteem
• Feeling of control over one’s life
• Supportive and warm relationships (marriage/friendship )
• Satisfying work
• Enjoyable leisure activities
• Good attitude
• Good Health
• Moderation in everything
• Impersonal interests
Thus a very effective process of becoming happier is to set goals for
improvement in each one of these areas, and then periodically reviewing
the progress towards these goals.
So the first step is to set goals for yourself in the major aspects
of your life. These goals have to be meaningful to you and they have to
be specific and time bound. If the goals are not meaningful to you, you
will derive little happiness from achieving them. Also if they are not
specific and time bound, you will not be able to measure your progress
towards these goals and thus will not experience the increased happiness
which comes from making steady progress towards your goals. Goals need
to be set for the major aspects of your life which contribute to
happiness – Health, Financial, Relationships, Career, Attitude, Self
Then you must assess where you currently are in relation to your
goals. Say if your financial goal is to have savings of one hundred
thousand dollars in five years, you need to assess your net worth today
and also your current income and expenses to know how much you are
Next you must set up a time bound action plan to achieve your goals.
For your financial goals this means determining the extra amount you
need to save each month, either by earning more or spending less or
both. Then you need to have a plan for earning more and for reducing
your expenses. This plan needs to be specific with amounts and timing
e.g. you will reduce expenses by $50 a month by eating out less often
and you will increase income by $500 a month by taking on a part time
Then start implementing your plan and monitor the progress. As you
see yourself meeting your periodic targets, you will find your happiness
increasing. Many of us have experienced the happiness which comes from
steadily losing one pound per week in a weight loss program. Imagine
having the same effect in all aspects of your life. The important thing
in this is to make steady progress towards your goals. Happiness will
grow as you see yourself making progress.
Once you achieve your initial goals, you need to set new goals –
maybe in different areas of your life e.g. if you have achieved your
fitness and financial goals, aim for making a difference to the world
around you. (Making a difference is a source of deep and long lasting
Being without a goal after achieving your earlier ones will adversely
affect your happiness. Say you suddenly inherit some money and achieve
your financial goals, you will be happy for some time, but the effects
will soon wear off as your mind adjusts to the new level of affluence.
To sustain happiness you will have to set new goals for yourself, maybe
in different areas of your life.
If you faithfully follow this process of making steady progress
towards meaningful goals, you will become happier day by day.
Ten Steps To
A team of experts believe that they have found the essential
ingredients to make a person's life happier.
I have discovered that there are two core feelings that most
people will do almost anything to avoid feeling: loneliness
Through Honorable Actions
Do you want to live with a strong sense of peacefulness, happiness,
goodness, and self-respect? The collection of happiness actions broadly
categorized as “honor” help you create this life of good feelings.
Who Is More Likely To Be
You can focus on the negative things in your life, or you can choose to
focus on the positives. One will bring happiness, while the other won't.
May the Budgie
of Happiness Sit on Your Head
Recognize there are consequences, but live with it. Let your motto be,
"Don't Postpone Joy." Make room for happiness, make time for play. Every
Smelling the Roses:
Better Living Through Savoring
Researchers in Positive
Psychology find that people actually get more done if they take time out
to SAVOR their day.
Which One Are You ???
Inspirational story. When problems come (and they will) how will we react? Will they make us weak, hard hearted or will they cause us to change into something worthwhile?
Copyright © MyHappiness 2005-2006- All Rights Reserved.
Sanjiv Sahay is the editor of MyHappiness–Making Life Happier
http://www.myhappiness.com , a website
that helps you to find your own path to sustained happiness by using
Happiness Information, Directory of Resources, online tools and the help
of an online community of your peers.