The Science of Happiness
What is happiness?
Happiness is a complex and multi-faceted phenomenon related to various aspects of life, including our thoughts, feelings, behaviours, and relationships. It is a state of well-being characterized by feelings of contentment, joy, and fulfilment.
A few years ago, I heard a powerful story that taught me a lot about happiness, read on.
Once upon a time, a wise old man lived in a small village. Despite his age and the many hardships he had faced in life, he was always smiling and radiating happiness. People from all over would come to him seeking his advice and wisdom, and they were always amazed by how joyful and content he was.
One day, a curious young man asked him about his secret to happiness. The old man smiled and reached into his pocket, pulling out a small glass jar filled with stones. He asked the young man to count the stones, and the young man obliged.
The old man then asked, “Do you know what these stones represent?” The young man shook his head. The old man explained, “Every day, I write something I am grateful for and place it in this jar. These stones represent all the happiness and joy I have experienced.”
The young man was fascinated and asked the man to share some of the things he had written down. The old man smiled and pulled out a few stones, reading, “the warmth of the sun on my face, the laughter of a child, a good meal shared with friends, a beautiful sunset.”
The young man was struck by how simple yet profound the old man's happiness was. He realized that happiness is not the big things in life, but the small, everyday moments. He thanked the old man and went home, determined to start his own jar of happiness and gratitude.
Years passed, and the young man became an old man himself, wise and content like the old man he once met. He was often asked the secret to his happiness, and he would smile and pull out his jar of stones, just as the old man had done for him all those years ago.
And so, the jar of happiness and gratitude was passed down from generation to generation, reminding all who saw it that true happiness is in the simple things in life.
6 ways we complicate happiness in life:
Expectations: We have unrealistic expectations about what will make us happy, such as material possessions, fame, or success. When these things don't bring the level of happiness we expect, we feel disappointed and unsatisfied.
Comparison: We often compare ourselves to others and their successes and happiness, which leads to feelings of inadequacy and dissatisfaction with our own lives.
The Pursuit of Pleasure: We believe that happiness comes from external sources, such as pleasure and excitement. This leads to a constant search for new and more intense experiences, rather than finding joy in everyday moments and within us.
Negative Thoughts and Emotions: Our thoughts and emotions also play a role in complicating happiness. Negative thoughts and emotions such as stress, anxiety, and depression make it difficult for us to find happiness, even in positive experiences.
Lack of Mindfulness: We focus on the future or the past, and in the bargain, we forget to be present in the moment. This makes it difficult to experience and appreciate life's simple pleasures.
It is important to focus on the present moment, practice gratitude, and find joy in everyday experiences.