Being Happy v Pursuing Happiness – the subtle but crucial difference…

Achieving Happiness, in one shape or another, is the goal of everyone. We all want to get into that happy place – and for as long as possible.

Interestingly, there are many distinctive approaches we each try to follow to attain happiness. A corporate executive and a nursery teacher are both pursuing happiness – in their own way.

Why pursuing happiness directly is ineffective:

Happiness isn’t something that can be pursued in the same way as material outcomes. You can pursue the goal of owning a particular type of car or attaining an ideal weight. However, you can’t pursue happiness because it’s not a tangible thing. Happiness is the result of having a lifestyles that operates in particular manner. The particular way each of us finds happines is distinct for, however there are some guidelines you can follow.

Happiness is an internal feeling. Happiness is already present within you. It’s your natural state of being – just look at the joy on a baby’s face! It’s not something that can be captured from the outside world. You just need to create circumstances to allow yourself to experience it in your life.

Material possessions don’t lead to happiness. Buying things can be pleasurable and many can give you pleasure, but they won’t lead to a sustained sense of wellbeing. Think of all the things you have bought and then 6 months later become irrelevant.

Fun doesn’t lead to happiness. Fun is good but can be only a temporary distraction…going to the cinema, eating a huge pizza or having a night in the bar can be fun – but really is only a diversion from the normal humdrum of life and won’t make you happy in the long run.

What does a person need with a purpose to be happy?

Sufficient economic resources. Research has shown that happiness does not continue to increase in line with income once someone reaches c. $75,000 per annum. It has found that up to that level there is a relationship between money and happiness.

A sufficient income permits you to fund a comfortable life-style and pursue your most essential hobbies. It’s not easy to be happy if you don’t have a home or sufficient food to eat.

Relationships. Meaningful relationships and community with others are important parts of happiness. There are few humans that be alone in life and be happy. This is one of the main reasons that very successful people are often miserable – they commonly lack significant relationships.

Feeling needed. We have a fundamental need to feel needed. It is important to us to feel like our existence matters, to someone. We can achieve this through volunteering to help others in need or by caring for pets.

Positive expectations. When you are an optimist and expect good things to happen – they tend to and this makes experiencing happiness much easier.

Having something to look forward to, like a great vacation in a couple of months, can really help to create positive expectation which fuels positive feelings.

The experience of progress and improvement. Setting goals and achieving them, no matter how small creates a feedback loop of success. Which re-enforces self-appreciation and feelings of happiness.

Getting rid of things that bring you down. Turn of the news if it makes you fearful or angry. Avoid engaging with those people who tend to wind you up or make you feel upset. Create more space for positive experiences and people which fuel your happiness.

There’s no guarantee that if you have these things in your life will make you happy. But many people have used some and indeed all of them to improve, boost and maintain their feelings of happiness.

The best strategy for happiness is to create an environment that allows it to appear and flourish, rather than pursuing it directly and trying to capture it by force.