How Do We Define Happiness? The True Meaning Of Joy

By Mary Elizabeth Dean|Updated August 9, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Rashonda Douthit , LCSW

Happiness: it's something most of us spend our whole lives chasing. Some believe happiness comes from within, while others disagree, stating happiness is the sum of all factors in your life lining up in perfect form. No matter how you choose to define happiness, one thing is for sure: we all hope and wish for it.

When we are feeling happy, life is good and easy. There are a million songs out there about chasing it, and a million more about losing it. But what exactly is being happy? What makes us happy? If you are wondering how to feel happy, the answer to these questions will depend on you.

Happiness In The Small Moments

Find Happiness Right Where You Are

For many, happiness is not a feeling, but a state of mind. The first step to discovering this state of mind may be looking for joy in the small moments.

It has been said that gratitude is related to happiness. When you make a consistent effort to define what you are grateful for, you begin to see joy in the little things in life. Things as simple as a traffic-free commute or an unexpectedly good weather day may be normally overlooked, but when you acknowledge them and are grateful, you realize just how happy you can be in the world.

The key to realizing these moments of happiness is to slow down and be present for them. There is no happy app that you can download on your phone, but instant gratification can still be realized; all you must do is look around.

Letting Go Of Your Fears

When life is hard, happiness can be hard to find. The most important thing to remember on your journey to discovery of happiness is the importance of trusting the process. While it is true that happiness cannot exist at every waking moment, it is possible to be happy and sad at the same time. You will not go through your life free of negative emotions, no matter how much happiness you find.

Fear can hold you back from discovering true joy. When you let go of your reservations and open your mind to a new way of thinking, you also open the door that can lead you to find your real happy ending.

Being happy means opening your heart to the good and the bad.

Happiness From Within

While there are many things that can bring happiness in the outside world, some of the most profound and long lasting happiness may come from within oneself.

When you learn the skills to make yourself happy, you will be more confident that the happy feelings will remain. Things and situations in the outside world are not always under your control. Life is ever changing, and if your goal is to keep everything in your life up to par in order to be happy, you will likely be disappointed.

The great thing about realizing happiness inside yourself is that you will have one hundred percent control over it. Things that impact you on the outside will not jeopardize your inner peace and happiness. No one can touch this if you don't allow them to do so.

Once you learn how to become happy by reigning in your power within, no one will be able to take your joy away from you.

Money Won't Do It

The well-known phrase "money can't buy happiness" rings true according to research. If your basic needs are met, an increase in disposable income has been shown to have little impact on the amount of happiness in your life.

It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that money will make you happy. The truth is,, even winning the lottery will not guarantee you happiness. You may feel joy and excitement for a period after receiving money, but studies show that if you don't foster other methods to achieve happiness, the level of joy you feel will eventually return to the baseline.

Additionally, when you become accustomed to the amount of money you have, it will no longer make you happy. You will be on the search at this point for the next biggest thing to bring back that "too happy" feeling.

When you find yourself thinking, "I'm not happy", even though you have money in the bank, you will realize the true meaning of happiness has little to do with your financial situation and everything to do with your outlook.

Optimism And Happiness

Having a positive mindset is linked to happiness in many different areas. This makes sense, because if you are always looking at the downside of things, it will of course be difficult to be happy or joyful.

There are a ton of happiness articles out there that claim the key to happiness is opening your mind or smiling more. While this may be partly true, if your mindset doesn't align with what you are searching for it still may be difficult to find happiness in life. You must make an honest effort to look at the bright side of things in order to protect your joy.

When you rely on being optimistic in order to be happy, you are likely to find your mind open to many new things that you hadn't realized before. You can be sad and happy and realize there is a silver lining to every dark cloud. If you are the kind of person that finds happiness in a relationship, you can learn to be single and happy.

Fulfill Your Dreams

No matter how good your life is going or how positive you try to remain, if you are not chasing after your goals in life, true happiness may continue to be elusive. Happiness is something that often comes to us when we feel whole.

No matter what your goals in life are it is important to chase your dreams. Not doing so may mean you always feel a void.

Find Happiness Right Where You Are

This is because for your emotions to remain uplifted, you must protect your life from becoming stagnant. You will wake up every morning with a purpose and a reason to look forward to the day if you have a goal for happiness in mind.

Once you reach the goal or goals you have set for yourself, don't stop there. Always be on the search for the next big thing to do, and constantly set long and short-term goals for yourself. This will ensure that you are enjoying the journey instead of stressing and feeling anxious all the way up to the point of completion.

The goal is to feel happiness on your way to and all the way up to the goal you have set. Find peace and happiness on the road to your goals and you will unlock happiness for as long as you continue to chase after the stars.

Take Care Of Yourself

If you are struggling with a mental health issue such as anxiety or depression, it can be a huge roadblock for you on your path to happiness.

If you feel stuck to finding your key to happiness, a trained counselor or therapist can diagnose your problems and help with effective treatment.

It is so important that you pay attention to your mental health and take care of any issues you may have in order to pursue a happy and joyful life.

The worst thing you could do is to deprive yourself of the joyful life you deserve to live by letting mental health concerns control your life. Accept help from someone who cares and has devoted their life to helping people like you discover happiness and joy - you will thank yourself later!


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