What does happiness mean? This entire website is about being a happier mom (related: why should I be a happy mom?), but what does that happiness actually mean? What happiness means refers to your overall subjective well-being – it is a state of being, that refers to your deep sense of contentment with yourself and your life. Happiness is your overall life satisfaction/contentment, and your sense of connectedness to life.
Here’s what it is not. Happiness is not fleeting joy. Happiness is not a cheap thrill. It is not a high we chase or a sensation of abundant joy we bask in all day. Nor is happiness something that is rocked or destroyed by occasional negative thoughts, or a low day. Happiness is not something that happens to us, or as a by product of some other circumstance. So what does happiness mean?
Happiness is a state of being. Being truly happy means being content – content in our relationship with ourselves, and with the unique circumstances of our lives – on a level deep enough that it is impervious to the ups and downs of quotidian life.Happy Mom Guide
Quite literally, psychologists are now defining happiness as a state of subjective well-being (SWB). Being truly happy means being content – content in our relationship with ourselves, and with the unique circumstances of our lives – on a level deep enough that it is impervious to the ups and downs of quotidian life.
Positive psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky, writer of The How of Happiness defines happiness as:
“The experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness. Listen for free on Audible through this 2 free books promo (easy to cancel).
Happiness is not a destination, but it is a state of being while on our life journey. So how do we build and foster this in our lives? How do we lean into that journey?
You can work at your happiness.
(Yes, there may be a genetic component of happiness that suggests a set-point. But that’s only a set-point. You have influence over your happiness. And just by virtue of your reading this, you either (a) believe you may have some control over your happiness, and/or (b) you hope to at least try). At the very least, you might consider that you can try to see happiness as something you can work at strengthening.
We create the fortitude of our deep contentment/happiness through work. Deep happiness is something we work on, and commit to, and strengthen every single day through active effort. Happiness is part of our relationship with ourselves, and is part of the work we do with ourselves. Just like in a relationship with another, we work to strengthen our relationship with ourselves.
Here are some things that can improve happiness:
- Having enough to be comfortable, and being able to afford “experiences.” According to Happiness.com, deep contentment is supported by having enough to meet our basic needs and to “invest in others” in our lives. This means you would ideally be comfortable, but not need to be wealthy. (source)
- Putting in effort to gain and maintain happiness. We can call up that state of being – that state of deep contentment and happiness – through presence (including counting our blessings).
- Writing a gratitude journal or exercising are strategies that work if they are regular habits and not one-off events. (source)
- Here are 10 things you can do to be happier right this second.