Have you ever wondered what makes you happy in your life?
The answers that come to your mind must be traveling, retail therapy or a weekend getaway and much more. We all have our definition for the art of contentment in our lives, which is driven by these worldly pleasures.
Is it long-term happiness?
Every time you come back from a beautiful vacation, the happiness you felt goes away within a week. So, what is the driving factor for long-lasting happiness in your life? What is the actual meaning of happiness?
Happiness, by definition, is the state of being happy. At its simplest, it’s all about minimizing pain and maximizing pleasure. Many of the famous researchers and psychologists had tried to decode the theory of happiness.
Let’s dive in and start with finding out the meaning of it.
What is Happiness?
Happiness is when you feel well in your life. It has been researched in the field of positive psychology by Sonja Lyubomirsky, and she described it as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.” Fundamentally, it means a certain level of joyfulness when things around you are happening in a more exuberant way than they usually occur.
How Social Connections and Relationships are Related to Happiness?
Having good people in your life is something that matters the most to be happy. To be socially active is very good for us. It kills loneliness. Researchers have proved that people who are socially connected are healthier and happier than people who are not. Good relationships protect your brain and keep you healthy. If you want to be happy and healthy, replace your screen time with people time. Meet more positive people, make friends and be more socially active in real life rather than the internet world.
A Harvard Study on Adult’s Life and Happiness.
The Harvard study on adult development claims to have discovered the answer to this big question of what makes a person live a joyful life. This ongoing Harvard study on adult’s life is considered to be the most extended study, which started in 1938. They tracked the lives of 724 men for 75 years. Every year, they used to make a report by asking them questions about their work, personal life, and their health conditions without even knowing how their lives are going to change in the future.
Research conducted on two groups of men. The first group started in the study when they were sophomores at Harvard College. All of them finished their college during World War 2 and mostly went off to serve in the war. The second group of boys were from Boston’s poorest neighborhoods. With interviews and, medical examination, those teenagers entered the study. Researchers went to their homes and interviewed their parents.
All of these teenagers grew up into adults, coming through all phase of life. They started working well and became factory workers, lawyers, and doctors, one of them was the president of the United States. The researchers concluded from this research that, “Good relationships are the key factors that matter the most for long-lasting happiness.” If you have good relationships in your life, it doesn’t matter if you are living a high standard lifestyle or a conventional lifestyle.
“The lesson that came from tens of thousands of pages of that research was that good relationships keep us happier and healthier.” Dr. Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist, and director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development said in a “TED Talk” video released in 2015.
Factors that Contribute to Lasting Happiness.
Our happiness depends on many factors, some of them are in our control, and some of them are not. Studies suggest that there are some intrinsic and extrinsic factors, which influence our happiness the most. I’ve tried to explain them in a brief manner below; please have a look.
- Good relationships: When it comes to a relationship, keep an eye on quality over quantity. It doesn’t matter at all how many relationships or friends you have in society, the thing that matters is how many good and healthy relationships you have in your social and personal life. People who have someone to count upon, always overcome through their tough times.
- Good physical and mental health: Being committed to a toxic relationship badly impacts your health, both physically and mentally. In adverse, good relationships, have the power to sharpen your memory.
- Satisfactory work life: It is one of the most critical factors in this century to be happy. Due to many reasons like having social pressure, the race of competition, in maintaining the social status, most people tend to make their work life an unwanted burden on them. Instead, we should choose our work life very wisely. One should always choose his/her work life where he feels at utmost satisfaction while working.
- The ability to see beauty in art and nature: This is a must requirement to see the beautiful hidden corners of this world. You should have the skills to find the beauty in the entire creation of God, and automatically you will enjoy every moment of your life. Even when you’ll be going through a bad phase in your life, you’ll find some way to stay happy and patient.
In the end, I would like to conclude it with a beautiful quote from Mark Twain.
“There isn’t time, so brief is life, for bickering, apologies, heart burns, callings to account. There is only time for loving and but an instant so to speak for that.”
How beautifully he has expressed the entire understanding of happiness just in two lines. It’s all about the quality of relationships you have in your whole life, and yes they are more than enough for everlasting happiness.