What Is Happiness? Various Meanings and Definitions
People throughout the ages have asked this question. They wondered what is this feeling of happiness, what makes it arise, and how to hold it longer.
Is happiness a physical reaction, the effect of certain hormones in the body? Is it dependent on certain external circumstances, or is it some kind of inner, mental, emotional or state? All these could be triggers that lead to experiencing it.
Happiness often comes and goes. It comes, stays for a little while, and then some negative feeling replaces it and it is gone. Does this mean that we have no control of happiness and we cannot lengthen its duration?
Wikipedia defines happiness as, “Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being which can be defined by, among others, positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.”
Wikipedia also says, “Philosophers and religious thinkers often define happiness in terms of living a good life, or flourishing, rather than simply as an emotion.”
In an article on forbes.com, George Bradt writes that a survey of Harvard’s class of 1980, concluded that, “Happiness comes from choosing to be happy with whatever you do, strengthening your closest relationships and taking care of yourself physically, financially and emotionally.”
The same article says that 2015 Survey by Grant and Glueck studies shows:
1) 67% of those extremely happy said the happiest period of their lives is now.
2) 77% of those extremely happy said the state of their relationship was either the “greatest” of “very good”.
3) 93% of those extremely happy said they are in excellent or very good health.
Merriam Webster defines happiness as, “A state of well-being and contentment.”
www.vocabulary.com says, “Happiness is that feeling that comes over you when you know life is good and you can’t help but smile. It’s the opposite of sadness.”
I would like to suggest another definition to happiness, which I found from experience. This is a different definition and meaning, which I have written about in several articles and in my books.
“Happiness is a state of inner joy, which comes about when the mind becomes quiet, free from restless thinking and worries.”
People, who have been practicing meditation regularly, and who have learned to calm down their mind, would know exactly what I mean.
This might seem strange to you, but if you pay attention to your state of mind when you are happy, you would find out that this is true.
- How do you feel after a completion of a difficult task or of a goal?
- How do you feel when you solve a problem that has been bothering you for a long time?
- What do you feel when you are in love?
- How would you feel, if you get the job you wanted, a big sum of money, or a promotion at work?
In all these situations, you experience a feeling of relief, freedom and joy. For a while, your mind is free from planning, thinking, anticipating and worrying. When this happens, for a while, you feel happy. For a while, there are no thoughts in your mind that attract your attention and you enjoy happiness.
What does all this mean? It means that happiness and inner peace are interconnected. When the mind is quiet, there is happiness, and when there is happiness, the mind becomes quiet.
When a problem disappears, when you achieve a goal and when there is love in your life, the mind becomes quiet for a while, and relieved of its restless and constant thinking. At this moment, the happiness that is within you rises up, since there is nothing to stop it.
Then, after a while, when the mind returns to its habitual thinking and worrying, you feel, as if happiness disappeared.
If you experience happiness when there is inner peace, it means that if you train your mind to be peaceful you would have more happiness in your life. I do not want to go deeply into this topic, since I have written about it in my articles about happiness and about inner peace.