The formula for healthy living and happiness
Let’s start with the main one.
What is Happiness?
Our life experiences and way of thinking are very different, and therefore there is no common understanding of what Happiness is.
However, philosophers and psychologists have been trying to understand it for centuries.
Here are the 4 main definitions of happiness:
- Hedonic happiness. It is based on pleasure and the absence of pain or suffering. Respectively – It focuses on subjective well-being, the pursuit of immediate gratification, and the fulfilment of personal desires. Happiness is equated with experiencing positive emotions and increasing pleasure while minimizing negative emotions and discomfort.
- Eudaimonic happiness. Unlike hedonistic happiness, it focuses on personal growth, self-realization and meaningful life. It’s more of a long-term process than a short-term feeling. This is due to a person’s ability to use and develop their abilities and potential – with excellence, personal development and contribution to the common good. Accordingly, a person is happy when he lives a full and meaningful life filled with emotions and events and reveals his highest potential.
- Virtue-based happiness. It is rooted in virtue ethics and emphasizes the development of qualities such as wisdom, courage, justice and compassion and believes that a virtuous life leads to a deeper and more sustainable sense of happiness.
- Psychological well-being. Psychological well-being is a broader concept that encompasses various dimensions of human development and emphasizes overall psychological functioning and satisfaction of psychological needs. It includes elements such as positive relationships, self-acceptance, personal growth, environmental mastery, autonomy, and a sense of purpose or meaning in life.
It is important to note that these definitions are not mutually exclusive and may coexist to varying degrees.
Respectively – we are all very different, and therefore the understanding of happiness is also slightly different for each of us.
Although definitions vary, in most cases, Happiness is defined as a subjective state of well-being and contentment characterized by feelings of joy, satisfaction and fulfilment.
Although happiness means different things to different people, it usually includes a sense of inner peace, positive emotions, and overall satisfaction with one’s life.
These feelings cannot be hidden – a person “is glowing”, and we all immediately notice it.
Happiness is not a permanent state and can change at any moment. How to keep it longer? Let’s talk about that.
Dimensions of happiness
Happiness is a complex and multifaceted experience and can be influenced by various factors.
Although the formula of absolute happiness has not yet been discovered, five main aspects of personal happiness are known – physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual. Plus, also material because if we are hungry, it will be more difficult for us to be happy.
And if we are not talking about a temporary feeling of happiness but about Happiness as something comprehensive and long-lasting – none of them should be neglected.
Accordingly – Happiness does not arise by itself. It manifests itself as a result of our actions, choices and lifestyle.
Well, or it does not manifest itself if our actions, choices and lifestyle do not contribute to the emergence of this feeling.
How our body, our general state of health and bodily experiences (physical sensations) influence the emergence of the feeling of happiness:
- Good physical health is closely related to happiness. If we are free from chronic disease or disability, our life satisfaction is likely to be higher.
- Energy and vitality. If we are vital and have a lot of energy, it will be easier for us to achieve our goals and feel the associated sense of fulfilment.
- Bodily sensory experiences, such as enjoying tasty food, physical activity, the experience of touch, or intimate relationships, can provide pleasure and contribute to overall happiness.
- Body image and self-esteem. If we feel comfortable in our body and are satisfied with its appearance – we have some important reasons to look at life more positively.
- Stress. Regular exercise and physical activity have been shown to reduce stress levels and promote emotional well-being. Activities such as exercise, yoga or meditation can promote feelings of happiness and relaxation.
- Sleep quality. Sufficient and restful sleep is very important for physical and mental health. If we have slept, we wake up fresh, energetic and ready for the big tasks of the day.
- Exercise! Even just a 40-minute walk three times a week will significantly improve your health.
- Eat healthy. Avoid ultra-processed foods, sugary drinks and sweets. Try to include more whole grains, fruits and vegetables in your diet every day;
- Don’t skip meals. Especially breakfast. Not eating slows your metabolic rate and can cause weight gain;
- Bad habits like smoking, drinking and drugs won’t improve your health either.
The emotional aspects of happiness include a range of feelings and experiences that contribute to our overall sense of well-being.
Here are some examples:
- Joy is the primary emotion associated with happiness. It is a deep feeling of excitement, elation, and/or pleasure that comes from positive experiences, accomplishments, or meaningful relationships with other people. Joy also includes feelings of enthusiasm and exuberance and simply being in a good mood.
- First of all, it is satisfaction with one’s life and circumstances – a sense of self-realization, which includes ease of feeling, peace of mind and gratitude for what has been given or achieved. Contentment is often characterized by a sense of peace and acceptance of the present moment.
- Happiness can also lead to feelings of anticipation and associated excitement. This emotional aspect includes feelings such as excitement, enthusiasm and longing for future events or new experiences. Excitement fills our life with vitality and energy.
- It is appreciating and acknowledging the positive aspects of our lives, which includes recognizing and expressing gratitude for the people, experiences and things that bring us joy and enhance our well-being. Gratitude promotes positive emotions and promotes feelings of abundance and satisfaction.
- Love and connection. Happiness often involves feelings of love, affection, and deep connection with other people. Romantic relationships and relationships with family, friends or acquaintances contribute to our emotional well-being and play an important role in our overall happiness.
- This refers to inner peace and quiet and includes a sense of emotional balance and harmony. It is freedom from stress, anxiety or inner turmoil. Serenity is often associated with a sense of contentment and acceptance.
- This emotional aspect includes a sense of satisfaction and success resulting from achieving meaningful goals – a purposeful life based on the values of a particular person.
- Optimism characterizes by a positive outlook and hopes for the future. It includes the belief that something good will happen and that obstacles can be overcome. It promotes resilience, motivation and a greater sense of well-being.
Our relationships with the people around us and our attitude towards events are the main factors affecting our emotional life.
- Try to keep a positive attitude, even when problems arise.
- Find an activity or a person who can help you reduce stress. And do not hesitate to use this personal stress reliever.
- Manage your time wisely, as this will help reduce stress.
- Find someone you trust and with whom you can openly share your feelings.
- Don’t hesitate to seek professional help when you need it.
- Smile – the more often, the better.
Humans are social creatures, and our interactions with each other play a crucial role in shaping our happiness and quality of life:
- Social support. Our relationships with family, friends and other people are very important. Social support provides emotional, practical and informational help in difficult times and reduces feelings of loneliness and isolation. Being able to rely on others and share your joys and sorrows promotes a sense of belonging and happiness.
- Positive and meaningful relationships are the foundation of happiness. Friendship, intimate connections, and connections with others foster a sense of belonging, love, and emotional intimacy, which in turn contribute to our overall happiness and life satisfaction.
- Social integration. Involvement in social activities, participation in community events, and involvement in social groups, clubs, organizations, etc., provide not only opportunities for social interaction, but also a sense of belonging and meaning in life.
- Shared experience. Sharing experiences increase our happiness. Whether it’s celebrating accomplishments, participating in social events, or other activities together, this time spent together creates bonds that contribute to our overall happiness.
- Social comparison. Comparing yourself to others can sometimes lead to feelings of inadequacy or envy. However, positive social comparison, such as learning from the achievements of others, can inspire and motivate us towards personal growth and happiness.
- Cultural factors. Cultural values, norms and social support systems largely determine our relationships with other people. A sense of cultural identity and a community supporting our values can contribute to a sense of happiness.
Socialization and engagement are the main factors influencing our social life.
- Get involved. There are many interest clubs, professional associations, forums, etc. You can definitely find something that you are indeed interested in.
- Usually, we don’t have many real friends – try not to lose them.
- If you have an unhealthy relationship, admit it and try to fix or end them;
- Balance your social life with your professional activities and relationships with your family.
Spiritual happiness includes aspects that contribute to a sense of fulfilment, and understanding of the purpose of one’s life, for example:
- Connection with something greater. Many spiritual traditions emphasize a connection with divine or transcendent power. This connection can provide a sense of support and comfort, promoting a deep sense of peace and happiness.
- Search for the meaning and purpose of life. They include studying existential questions and understanding one’s role in the universe. Of course, the meaning of life can be found in purely material values, but the answer is usually sought in religion and philosophy.
- Inner peace and harmony. Spiritual happiness involves the development of a sense of inner peace and harmony. This means finding peace amid life’s difficulties and chaos.
- Compassion and love. This includes cultivating qualities such as compassion, kindness, and love for self, others, and the world. These virtues promote a deep sense of connection, empathy and happiness in relationships and interactions with other people.
- Self-discovery and self-realization – the exploration of one’s true nature, inner self and potential, which includes self-reflection, personal growth and a journey of self-discovery.
- Gratitude and contentment. It involves appreciating the present moment and being grateful for it, recognising the blessings of a simple life and finding joy in it.
- Transcendence and transpersonal Spiritual happiness can include experiences beyond the ordinary and familiar, where one transcends the limitations of the individual self and connects with something greater or transcendent. This experience may be through prayer, meditation, nature, art, music or other practices that open the door to the transcendent.
- Service and contribution. Engaging in service, altruism, and promoting the well-being of others and the world can be deeply satisfying. Spiritual happiness often involves recognizing the interconnectedness of all beings and actively working to positively influence it.
- Harmony with nature. Many spiritual traditions emphasize the interconnectedness of humans and nature. Connecting with nature in a spiritual context can be a deeply personal and transformative experience, allowing a person to tap into their spiritual essence and find a deep sense of spiritual happiness in this connection.
- Striving to develop and embody qualities such as patience, forgiveness, honesty, and humility can be part of spiritual happiness. These virtues promote personal growth, strengthen character, and promote a sense of moral and spiritual well-being.
Gaining spiritual experience and self-awareness is essential.
- Find a quiet place and spend some time there every day in reflection or meditation.
- Reflect on the meaning of your life, at least sometimes.
- If you are religious, study and practice it.
- Attend the theatre, concerts and other social events.
- Spend time in nature by taking walks, hiking or other outdoor activities that allow you to experience the healing and restorative effects of nature.
Intellectual aspects of happiness refer to the cognitive and intellectual dimensions that contribute to feelings of well-being and fulfilment. These include intellectual stimulation, growth and the pursuit of knowledge, such as:
- Curiosity and learning. It includes a thirst for knowledge, a desire to learn and a desire for personal growth. Engaging in intellectual pursuits, learning new skills, learning about yourself and expanding your understanding of the world around you can create a sense of fulfilment and intellectual satisfaction.
- Critical thinking and problem-solving skills. This is the ability to think critically and participate in problem-solving, which includes analyzing situations, evaluating ideas, considering different points of view and creatively searching for optimal solutions. The ability to solve problems and overcome obstacles can improve a person’s sense of intellectual well-being.
- Intellectual challenge. It is engaging in intellectually stimulating activities that include reading books, engaging in thought-provoking discussions, participating in debates, solving puzzles, engaging in challenging projects, and seeking out new, interesting experiences. Intellectual stimulation promotes the development of mental faculties and keeps the mind sharp.
- Creativity and self-expression. Engaging in activities such as writing, painting, music, etc., allows you to generate new ideas that provide a basis for self-expression and can bring joy and a deep sense of satisfaction.
- Knowledge sharing and teaching. Sharing knowledge and teaching allows you to strengthen and deepen your understanding of the subject while contributing to the intellectual growth of others. Whether it’s teaching, mentoring, or sharing insights and experiences with others, contributing to the intellectual development of others can be very rewarding.
- Broad view and openness. Intellectual happiness often involves keeping a broad perspective and an open mind. This includes being receptive to new ideas, being willing to challenge one’s own beliefs, and seeking opportunities to expand one’s understanding.
The pursuit of knowledge and exploring oneself and the world around us are key components of intellectual well-being.
- Be curious.
- Keep track of current events and how changes in the world around you can affect your life.
- Take your assignments seriously. Before making a decision, do your research on this topic.
- If you need help – do not hesitate to contact your mentor or seek it elsewhere.
Happiness is a very broad and ambiguous concept.
For some, the most important thing is physical pleasure, for others – service, self-affirmation, etc.
Physical pleasure is short-lived, and sensations eventually “dull” and weaken.
The joy that comes from selfless acts, creativity and self-expression can provide a longer-lasting sense of happiness.
Research also shows that long-term happiness can be gained by building relationships, learning to enjoy small events in your life, being attentive, sensitive and grateful …, trying to learn about yourself and the world around you …
Taking care of your health.
Devote more time to yourself and be happy!
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