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What is Happiness?

I may not know you yet but there is one thing I believe I can say with high probability of being correct, you have been chasing happiness for most of your life. But have you ever stopped and asked yourself what exactly is it that you are chasing? Is there a universal definition of Happiness? Does it look and feel the same for all people? How does one find happiness? These questions have been investigated by philosophers since the beginning of time. The answers are incredibly important if you are to be successful in creating a fulfilling and satisfying life. So, let's start delving into it.

Happiness has two main meanings. The first is the physical sense of joy, the kind we experience when we fall in love or receive a promotion at work. This type of happiness is fleeting and relatively short lived. It is driven by the chemicals produced by our brains and we have little control of when it starts or how long it lasts. This is why I am going to focus on the second meaning of happiness, which is a state of well being and contentment. This type of happiness comes from our own actions and therefore we have a great deal of control over it. The decisions we make and the way we choose to live our lives are the driving force in the deeper and long lasting experience of happiness.

The philosopher, Aristotle, once said that 'happiness is an activity'. It is not something that happens to you but rather a state of being you bring upon yourself through your actions. You might be thinking, "yeah right! If we had that much control over it, we would all experience happiness all the time". You are correct, it's not as simple as it may sound. Not because we don't have control over our happiness but because there are many factors that stand in the way of us recognizing and taking the necessary steps to living peaceful and fulfilling lives.

There are many obstacles on our path to happiness. There are familial and societal expectations, beliefs that were imposed on us since a very young age, negative experiences in life that make it difficult to connect with the part in ourselves that knows what is right for us. But the process of finding your path isn't supposed to be easy. As the author Joseph Campbell once said, 'if the path before you is clear, you're probably on someone else's'.

In my practice I help my clients open their minds to possibilities they didn't realize existed for them and support them in finding courage to start taking action toward these possibilities. I help them look at different aspects of their lives to determine which parts work great and which ones need some work. There are many aspects to be explored in this process. Each blog post will discuss a different component on this self discovery journey. I hope it will help shed some light onto the areas you need to work on in order to find your own path to happiness.

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