“You are the one that possesses the keys to your being. You carry the passport to your own happiness.”
~Diane Von Furstenberg
The words happiness and joy are often used interchangeably. I recently encountered a great perspective on the two thanks to Rachel Fearnley, “Joy and happiness are wonderful feelings to experience, but are very different. Joy is more consistent and is cultivated internally.
It comes when you make peace with who you are, why you are, and how you are, whereas happiness tends to be externally triggered and is based on other people, things, places, thoughts, and events.” Today we will focus on happiness and next month explore joy. Stay tuned!
Happiness is a here-and-now emotion. Generally sparked by an event or situation that brings us to a state of happiness. On a recent road trip to the Tennessee Aquarium, I discovered that a Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Shop was right across the street. I was flooded with happiness. After lunch, I almost burst my happiness meter. The best (so far) butter pecan ice cream cradled in a waffle bowl. Happiness!
Happiness can be such a broad term and can be defined in so many ways. Psychologists and other social scientists typically use the term ‘subjective well-being’ when they talk about this emotional state. Just as it sounds, subjective well-being tends to focus on an individual’s overall personal feelings about their life in the present. My experience with the butter pecan ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s means nothing to a person that doesn’t even like ice-cream. Happiness is impacted by two components. How a person balances positive and negative emotions. In addition, to how satisfied a person is with his or her life. Maslow would argue that ensuring our basic needs and moving up on the hierarchy of needs impacts happiness.
Am I happy?
Although happiness or subjective well-being differs from person to person, happy people feel a wide range of emotions. Happy people are not immune to negative feelings but experience more positive feelings in general.
Signs of happiness…
- Living the life you envisioned or have always wanted
- Conditions of your life are good and needs met
- A sense of achievement or fulfilling a goal
- Satisfied with your life
- More positive than negative feelings