July 8, 2013

Happiness???

Last week on The Daily Edition* we were discussing happiness. The UK developers of an app called Mappiness have drawn all sorts of conclusions about when people are the most happy, for example, when they are in natural environments, on the weekends as opposed to weekdays, when the sun is shining, when they are with friends, and so on.

I'm really interested in the concept of happiness. Actually, I'm really interested in the concept of pursuing happiness. The primary goal of my life is to be happy and fulfilled. But in order for that to happen, the people I love need to be happy too - I can't possibly be truly happy if my kids are unhappy. Presuming that they are happy (which is a big presumption, because children are not automatically happy and the biggest challenge a parent can face is to raise a happy child) then how can I be happy?
I see happiness as being very different to pleasure. Pleasure is transitory. Pleasurable activities feel good, physically or emotionally or both. Some of my favourites include:
  • Reading a great book in the bath
  • Getting a massage
  • Laughing hysterically
  • Cuddling my kids
  • Cuddling my kitten
  • Cuddling Simon Baker**
  • Eating steak bernaise with chips
  • Seeing a fabulous movie
  • Sleeping in on a Sunday morning
  • Watching my kids play together
  • Getting breakfast in bed
  • Talking to my besties
  • Having the perfect cappuccino
  • Having sex with Simon Baker***

All of those activities bring me great pleasure, and I will feel happy in those moments, but they are not what bring me lasting happiness. The things that have brought me lasting happiness are far fewer, but far more significant. They are
  • Having my three kids
  • My friendships with my besties
  • My close relationship with my parents
  • My writing career
  • My online community
The things that bring you sustained happiness aren't necessarily the things you'd expect. In my experience, money can buy you pleasurable moments, but not happiness. Food can give you moments of pleasure, but not happiness. A long awaited career opportunity can bring you great fulfilment, or stress and disappointment. Friends can be your greatest joy or can be toxic and destructive.

Think about what has brought you pleasure in your life. It's probably fairly predictable. But think about what has brought you real happiness and you may be very surprised.

Thoughts?

*the Channel 7 afternoon show (I appear on a panel every Tuesday. Watch it. It's fun.)
**Okay, so I've only done that once, but it was awesome
***Okay, so I haven't done that at all, but I'm SURE I'd like it

24 comments:

  1. Ooooo part of my overall proper happiness is doing nice things for my friends and family and also people I don't know...
    And gratitude for what I do have also brings me joy

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  2. Valuing and appreciating what I have ... and being valued and appreciated in return makes me happy :0)

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  3. Lana (Sharpest Pencil)July 8, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    My husband, my son, my dog, my family, my friends, my bed, Angry Birds, toast and tea and drugs* xxx


    *may or may not be true

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  4. Freud said the secret to happiness was work and love. I tend to agree. Work you love, and love (partner/kids/family/friends, whatever) that works. xx

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  5. I am eating toast having just spoken on the phone to you. So yes. Happy. x

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  6. I find the concept of happiness and pursuing it very interesting as well. Have you read "The Happiness Project?"

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  7. All of the above but substitute Channing Tatum for Simon Baker (drool) The pursuit of Happiness is a lifetime occupation and in the end we have to find it within ourselves. Yolanda

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  8. Happiness comes from loving and being loved, being actively grateful and the continued commitment to your own truths and finding inner peace (however confronting at the time) xx

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  9. My thoughts are you are one brilliant lady.Keep up the great writing.Victoria

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  10. Amazingly it is the small stuff that brings lasting happiness, ie the 'stuff you don't need to sweat over' (to paraphrase the infamous book):
    - the kids laughing at ridiculous antics on Top Gear (infantile sense of humour for adult males permeates the age gaps, I can testify to this)
    - birdsong in the morning
    - warm sun on my back
    - unexpected kiss from OH
    - smile and a "Good morning!" from a fellow runner in the early hours
    - unexpected thank-yous from anyone for doing things that you barely thought about at the time

    I could go on, but you get the picture.

    LCM x

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  11. I think about the happiness question a lot. As in, what were the happiest times, the unhappiest times and what was going on. I think to a certain extent, I was probably happiest when both my parents were living with me and the health problems were not as bad as they later became. I remember having breakfast with them with before going to work. Watching my Dad help my Mom around my small condo and them going out for walks in the hallway. The problem is that was a long time ago - in more recent days; I'm happy curling up with an e-book or working on online classes. But you're right so much should centre around the people in your life (and getting rid of the toxic ones - sometimes it's realized much too late though). I have to spend more time thinking about this!

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  12. It is hard, isn't it, to pinpoint what makes us truly happy. My kids being happy, content, confident people would make me ecstatic.

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  13. Gorgeous. And I do get the picture x

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  14. YES. That's all I want for my kids. TOTALLY x

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  15. No but people keep mentioning it to me!

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  16. I would, but I'm in fear if I have a sudden, uncontrollable urge to go
    to the bathroom. And, also, does that mean that my two four-legged
    furry rascals have to get human onsies? Actually, I sometimes believe
    they are humans in disguise, those two!

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  17. I would, but I'm in fear if I have a sudden, uncontrollable urge to go
    to the bathroom. And, also, does that mean that my two four-legged
    furry rascals have to get human onsies? Actually, I sometimes believe
    they are humans in disguise, those two!

    ReplyDelete

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