The pursuit of happiness can feel like a long and treacherous journey for many people. Learning how to be happy can sometimes feel like you’re running through a dark forest towards an unforeseen goal without knowing how to get there.
Some people aren’t even truly aware of what happiness really is. Others have felt like they’ve been in the dark for so long that they might not know where to start on the goal to achieving happiness.
What Is Happiness?
The word “happiness” was first used in the 14th century to mean “good fortune, luck.” But after that, it came to mean a state of being: ease, calm, and freedom from worry. That meaning held for centuries.
Today, happiness is regarded as a feeling, but this was not always the case. The original meaning of the word also included a sense of being content with one’s life as a whole.
Happiness is typically associated with a feeling of joy, pleasure, or contentment. When someone feels happy, that person often wants to hold on to the feeling and experience it for as long as possible. But happiness is a feeling that comes and goes. The happiest people are not those who try to hold on to their feelings of happiness, but those who are able to keep themselves in a state of mind that allows them to experience happiness.
This brings us to our next question: what does it mean to be happy? The most common answer to this question is that happiness comes from within—that one’s feelings are the source of happiness. But there are other answers too.
Some people believe that happiness comes from external sources (like money or power), while others think it depends on internal factors (like personality type).
Still, others say we can’t really know what happiness means until we’ve experienced it ourselves—that there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to defining what makes us happy.
If you’re still not sure what makes you happy, try asking yourself these questions:
1) Do I feel good about myself?
2) Am I satisfied with my life?
3) Do I have any regrets?
The Pursuit Of Happiness
The word “pursuit” means to follow someone or something until you catch them. The word “happiness” means a state of being happy. So, it would seem like the pursuit of happiness is a state of constantly being happy.
The pursuit of happiness is more along the lines of a journey to find happiness in your life. But you can’t really find happiness unless you know what makes you happy. And it appears that most people know what makes them happy. Most people think that money and stuff make them happy, but they don’t actually make us happy. They just make us feel good temporarily until we need to get more stuff or more money to keep feeling good!
Being happy is a state of mind. It’s not something that comes from having a lot of stuff in your life or having lots of money. We all have different things that make us happy in our lives and we have to figure out what those things are and then do more of them!
Happiness is an abstract concept. You can’t see it or touch it. It’s something you feel, but even that isn’t a concrete thing that you can understand by itself.
You might think of happiness as a feeling of joy, but what is joy? It’s the opposite of sadness and despair, but what are those things? The more you think about happiness in this way, the more it slips out of your grasp.
Is happiness about the future, or does it only exist in the present? Does it have to do with how you feel about yourself and your life, or does it come from how other people make you feel?
Happiness can be anything you want it to be.
How To Be Happy
There is no one-size-cuts-all approach to becoming happy. People can only offer up suggestions, and where one suggestion might work for a certain person, it might do nothing for the next.
Some suggestions on how to be happy are:
- Practice kindess
- Be generous
- Practice gratefulness
- Be thankful
- Become more playful
- Be truthful
- Practice forgiveness
- Be understanding
- Be proud
- Go outside and breathe the fresh air
- Get into a routine that you love
- Eat delicious food, but not too much of it!
- Spend time with people that make you laugh.
- Try out Exerpy
What Causes Unhappiness?
Just like it’s worth looking at what causes happiness, it’s equally as useful in looking at what causes people to become unhappy.
There’s a lot of talk about happiness these days, and for good reason. Most of us want to be happy, and who doesn’t? But what do we mean when we say that? What is it that actually makes us happy or unhappy?
The first thing to understand is that happiness isn’t something you can buy. It’s not a feeling or an emotion like sadness or anger. Happiness is more like a state of mind—it’s what happens when the right things are in place.
When things aren’t going your way and you feel yourself getting irritated with your job, your friends, your family, even your co-workers, and customers—that’s unhappiness.
The most obvious things that make us unhappy are situations where we have no control over what happens: someone cutting you off in traffic, bad weather delaying your flight home, a coworker messing up your project because they didn’t do their part right and now it has to be redone from scratch—all of these things can cause frustration and unhappiness.
But there are also other less obvious things at play: if you’ve been working overtime lately without getting paid for it, this might weigh down on you over time.
For a lot of people, the cause of unhappiness is trying to be happy.
Trying to be happy is just another way of saying “trying to escape suffering.” If we try to escape the suffering, we’ll never really see the beauty of our lives. We’ll never really live it. We’ll die without ever having lived.
What does it mean to live? It means to feel. It means experiencing life as it happens, in all its glory and all its pain. When you try to be happy, you’re trying not only trying to escape pain, but also glory. And when you do that, you’re left with nothing.
If we want more happiness in our lives, it’s not enough just to avoid feeling pain—we have to feel everything else, too: joy and sorrow, fear and anger, love and hate. The most important thing is not avoiding suffering; it’s living fully despite it.
Can Exercise Make Me Happy?
If you’re at a point where you feel like nothing can make you happy, exercise can potentially be your best friend.
As you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which are chemicals that help reduce stress and improve mood. Endorphins are more potent than morphine.
Plus, exercising regularly improves your overall health. It strengthens your heart and lungs so you can work out harder, which in turn leads to the release of even more endorphins.
And that’s not all—exercising also helps to regulate the chemicals in your brain responsible for regulating appetite and sleep. And if you want to get really technical about it, exercise actually increases the size of your hippocampus, which helps with memory and learning.
So exercising is one of the best ways to keep yourself healthy while also making sure that you are in a good mood.
What’s the Research On Exercise And Happiness?
According to a study published in the Journal of Health Psychology, exercise can make you happier—and you don’t need to do tons of it to benefit, either.
The findings were based on responses from over 1,000 men and women who engaged in varying levels of physical activity. Respondents who exercised for 30 minutes or less reported the highest levels of happiness. Those who exercised more than 30 minutes reported lower levels, and those who didn’t exercise at all had the lowest levels of all.
This isn’t the first study to find a relationship between exercise and happiness: In 2013, researchers found that, while people generally reported feeling worse after exercising than they did before, they also reported feeling better about themselves and their bodies after exercising.
Another research study from the University of Vermont found that just 20 minutes of exercise could raise the subjects’ happiness levels by 90%. And did you know that those effects can last for up to 12 hours? It’s true!
The fact that exercise makes you feel better is no secret. Most of us have experienced a run or a workout class that made us feel so good that we didn’t even want it to end. But the results of a recent study from the University of Michigan suggest that it’s not just “feel good” vibes you get from exercising, but actual happiness.
The researchers behind this study wanted to test whether exercise could be used as a treatment for depression—something that has been suggested before but never studied systematically. So, they asked 166 people who had symptoms of depression to work out regularly over an eight-week period.
By the end of those eight weeks, their depression symptoms were down an average of 58%—and the most active participants saw their symptoms drop by 75%.
“People who exercised felt better about themselves,” says lead researcher Joel Press in an interview with Time magazine. “They were more optimistic about the future and felt they had more energy every day.” It makes sense: when you’re feeling good physically, you’re going to feel good mentally too.
The study found that when people exercise, their brains release endorphins (the “feel-good” chemicals). These endorphins are responsible for feelings like happiness and euphoria. They also help to relieve stress and anxiety, which can improve your mood.
So if you want to learn how to be happy again, go for a run. Or go to a yoga class. Or walk around the block a few times. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you’re moving your body! Exerpy is an online mental health company that creates exercise therapy programs for those dealing with mental health concerns.
Final Thoughts On How To Be Happy
One Exerpy customer states:
“We were skeptical of the entire program at first. The idea of exercising makes us tired already, and yet we know the health benefits are real.
We decided to bite the bullet and give it a try. We picked an exercise regimen at random, and we committed to sticking with it for a full month, no matter what.
The results were nothing but incredible! Within a few weeks, we felt better in our bodies—more agile, more flexible, more limber. Our energy was higher throughout the day (we didn’t even need as much coffee), and we began to feel happier.
Now that we’ve been working out regularly for a couple of months, we can honestly say we feel so much better than when we started. It’s not just about how you look; it’s about how you feel. And how you feel can change everything about your life—and it will!”
Give Exerpy a try and see how it can help with your levels of happiness today!