Happiness

Who has it?  What is it?  How do we get it?

Happiness is subjective for everyone, but happiness must be defined by every person in order to be palpable.  How does one achieve a goal without measurable tasks?  It seems impossible to seek happiness but not know what must be done daily to have it.

So what is happiness?  I ask clients to pretend as though they have a magic wand which they will use to make their life happy overnight.  Then I ask, ‘what has changed?’  I often hear crickets to this question because it is difficult to envision what needs to change in our lives in order to achieve happiness if we don’t really know what that means for us.  Many psychotherapist, psychologists, and others in helping professionals claim to be  happiness experts, but are we?  In reality, everyone who comes to therapy is the master and expert of his or her own happiness.  It takes applied self-exploration in order to find out what that means, however.

What does happiness mean to you?  Is it feeling fulfilled by your job and family?  Is it obtaining a goal, like a college degree or promotion?  Or is it living in the moment and taking in the beauty of your surroundings?  These are great questions to ask, but the deeper question left unanswered is, what measurable/attainable tasks must I accomplish each day in order to achieve my goals?

Instead of thinking that happiness is something that happens to you, try thinking that happiness is something you cultivate and nurture.  If the goal is happiness, fulfillment, or a great life, the tasks that are required every day to get there can be challenging. Ironically, being happy and fulfilled can be exhausting, taxing, and overwhelming, especially if you struggle with depression, anxiety, or other life stressors.

What does a state of happiness look like to you?  And what do you have to do daily to feel happy?