If You Are Also Searching For True Happiness You Must Listen This To be Happy. So Stop Trying To be Happy Do These Things Instead.
When the pandemic first started, I figured out what would make me happy and get me through it…having a car.
And then I got the car and as I drove home sat in traffic, searched for parking, my happiness faded…fast.
The car didn’t actually make me as I’d expected, because the greener grass came with parking problems, toll booth tags, and car insurance.
Sure, I was getting more freedom to get out safely, but at what cost?
I think I wanted a car because I thought it would allow me to have a lot more fun? To do cooler things, to see places, just to
It would be better for my mental health, and it would make me happier.
I thought it would make me happier. This got me thinking about our collective
pursuit of happiness and all the books and movies that ask us: What Makes Us Happy?
How many want to know what the secret to happiness
But what if we’re asking the wrong question?
What if the pursuit of happiness is a road
that leads to nowhere?
Let’s start off by defining happiness, it’s
a state of pleasure and joy that we tend to strive for to improve our well-being and satisfaction.
We often relate it to things that happen to us – like buying a new car or winning the lotto or going on an all-expenses-paid holiday.
It’s the pursuit of the perfect moment, often mused upon by self-help gurus or Instagram Influencers offering the secret recipe for
Well, in 2005, researchers published a pie chart of three things that determine your well-being and this became known as the “happiness pie.”
They estimated that 50% of our happiness is based on genetics, 10% on our circumstances, and 40% on our actions, so things under our
The simplicity of this pie was delicious and it was gobbled up by pop-science sites and authors of self-help books.
But as if often the case with things that seem too good to be true, this happiness pie has a lot of flaws.
For starters, the researchers looked at how circumstance affects happiness at the population level, looking at the big picture.
But that can be really different at an individual level.
For example, let’s imagine a study finds people who are rich are 10% happier than those who are living in poverty.
Well, if people who are living in poverty come into money it doesn’t necessarily mean that they would then become 10% happier.
Maybe, they were already happier than the people who were rich at a baseline level.
Maybe they think about happiness completely differently or maybe they would actually be more than 10% happier.
There’s also a lot of disagreement about how much of our happiness is controlled by genes – some studies say it’s 40%, some
studies say it’s 80%. Which is a pretty huge difference. And, our genes, circumstances, and choices
aren’t all independent of each other – they all interact.
So it doesn’t really make sense to separate them into different slices of pie.
But even if the happiness pie isn’t totally correct, the important point remains that we still do have some control over how we feel.
And It’s not just about what we have or what we don’t have, it’s about how we look at it…
In the pursuit of happiness, we put a lot of our focus on goals and achievements. Of course, it’s good to have goals, but
not when our well-being depends on us achieving those goals.
Because a lot of things – like getting a promotion at work or getting married – depends on other people or systems and it’s not fully within our control.
And by tying happiness to your goals, you run the risk of ending up on the hedonic treadmill.
This is the tendency to return to your baseline emotional state pretty soon after good things happen to you, so you end up right back where
you are waiting for the next thing that’s going to make you happy.
So is there a way to find real, long term well-being?
Psychologists say the answer may be contentment, learning to find peace and acceptance in the present moment. And this is a fundamental difference between eastern and western philosophies on happiness.
While traditions such as Buddhism or Hinduism focus on happiness as an inside job, western thought has made it about something to pursue or attain, even promoting it in governing like America’s Declaration of Independence.
So if you, like myself, need some help on finding peace and acceptance in the present moment, there’s a couple of things that can
One, is learning to be more mindful. And mindfulness as a term gets thrown around
a lot, but it’s the practice of noticing your thoughts and your feelings and sensations
and your environment in the present moment.
And accepting them without judgment or without thinking if they’re good or bad. I’ll link to some more resources on how
to do that down in the doobly do.
Meditation is one of the most popular ones but I know that’s not for everyone, so please check out those resources.
Another thing is practicing gratitude, which like mindfulness gets thrown around a lot, but gratitude actually has a lot of benefits
for your happiness and well-being. And a common practice is to keep a gratitude
journal, so you start off or finish your day by writing down three things that you’re grateful
When I do this, I always find that it comes back to me being grateful for my health and my family and very simple things, which is
basically being content.
And another thing you can do is lean into what you’re grateful for and the things that make you content. So if you are writing down that you’re grateful
for your health and your family, spend more time focusing on your health. Go for long walks. Spend more time with your family, unplug and
actually do grounding activities with them like gardening, playing board games, love
a bit of Scrabble.
The question of “What Makes Us Happy” is incredibly complicated. But the question of “What Makes Us Content”
is a lot easier to answer and accept. Happiness can be a lofty goal that you can
keep climbing for and climbing for, and never quite achieve – like your dream job, which
I assure you after you get after a certain amount of time you’ll just want a new job
or want to do something different.
Or maybe it’s your ideal car and once you buy that you’ll want to replace it soon enough.
Or it could be having the perfect amount of Readers, beautiful Blog Readers. And it doesn’t matter however many you have,
you always want more because you always want to grow.
But if we shift our expectations and pursue contentment, that is actually more likely to make us happy. You can have your happiness pie and eat it too.