Happiness. That thing we all strive for, the end goal to live, what we wish each other on birthdays and holidays. But what is the definition, really?

Wikipedia defines it as “a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.” But the concept of happiness has a lot of connotations depending on the context, and can mean different things to different people. Some view it as an emotional “high” or intense feeling of pleasure, that can only be achieved from time to time (some attempt to hold on to it longer by recreating it via drugs/behavior). Others view it as a long-term state of being, that which gives us a deep satisfaction with the way we have led our lives.

I read somewhere that happiness is a general state of mind, that will more or less stay the same throughout a person’s lifetime. Sure, levels will fluctuate during periods of intense joy, or horrible tragedy – but, on average, every person will have a certain homeostatic happiness level. Some people are depressed even though all objective characteristics are favorable. Others may suffer from being crippled and still maintain a positive outlook and happiness level. I forgot the source of this theory, but this article has some really good explanations and pointers as well.

Happiness is different for everyone. Happiness is seeing someone you love smile. Happiness is feeling lucky to be exactly where you are. Happiness is feeling comfortable to be in your skin, and reluctant to give it up for anything. Happiness is dancing in the rain. Happiness is laughing your heart out. Happiness is realizing you can snooze for an extra 10 minutes today. Happiness is going to sleep and waking up next to someone you love. Happiness is having support when you need it most. Happiness is feeling like you are constantly moving forward and progressing in life. Happiness is being grateful for what you have while striving to become a better version of yourself. Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

John Lennon once said, “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life” (GoodReads).


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