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obstacles to happiness

Obstacles To Happiness

 

  • The relevance of happiness in our lives and the lives of the people around us is certaily unquantifiable. It can have a huge impact on our daily living and more importantly our progress in the race to self actualisation. Although researchers have yet to pin down the definition or an agreed-upon framework for happiness, there’s a lot we have learned in the last few decades.

  • Several questions come to mind when we think of hapiness. What exactly is hapiness?. It may seem like an odd question but we really want to know if it exists and in what form exactly. How is happiness measured- subjectively or objectively?. Is there anything to do to affect the happiness of people around me?. What exactly is the relevance of happiness in my life?

Before we delve deeper, let us first examine the definitions of happiness, as available in the Oxford dictionary and other sources. The Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of “happiness” is a simple and inehaustive, it just says it is “The state of being happy.” But our guts tell us there is more to it even if we do not have a degree in psychology- after all, hapiness is not so abstract. It is an emotion that everyone at some point in their lives has experienced. 

 

However, with a little insight into the definition provided by the Oxford Dictionary, it may be remotely possible to draw some inferences and form an opinion on the concept of happiness. The Oxford dictionary’s definition may be inehaustive but at least, it gives a clue to what happiness means. The Oxford Dictionary’s definition of happiness has the word ‘happy’ in it and it further defined happy to mean ‘the feeling of showing pleasure or excitment’. Now, this helps us better- So, happiness is the state of feeling or showing pleasure or contentment. From this definition, we can glean a few important points about happiness:

 

1. It is clear, at least from the perspective of the Oxford Dictionary that happiness is a state of mind and not a personality trait or anything else you may have imagined. 

 

2. Happiness is likened to the feeling of pleasure or contentment, meaning that happiness is not to be confused with joy, ecstasy, bliss, or other more intense feelings. A intending wife, may be excited just by the thoughts of what to wear when she eventually gets married.

 

3. Happiness can be either feeling or showing, meaning that happiness is not necessarily an internal or external experience, but can be both.

 

Now we have a better grasp on what happiness is—or at least, how the Oxford English Dictionary defines what happiness is. However, this definition is not the end-all, be-all definition of happiness. In fact, the definition of happiness is not a “settled” debate.

 

A popular opinion about happiness is that, it is a function of several subjective factors, such as feelings of joy,

satisfaction, contentment, and fulfillment. Hence, happiness only thrives from a positive state of my mind. Happiness is something that people seek to find, yet what defines happiness can vary from one person to the next. When most people talk about the true meaning of happiness, they might be talking about how they feel in the present moment or referring to a more general sense of how they feel about life overall.

 

Because of the difficulty constantly encountered in the definition of happiness, psychologists and other scientists often use the term, subjective well-being to describe it. And  this term indeed captures the essence of happiness, because happiness tends to focus majorly on an individual’s  overall personal feelings about their life in the present. In essence, it is important to understand that the key components of happiness or subjective well being, scientifically-called, are; the balance of emotions and life satisfaction. With regards to the balance of emotions, every experiences positive and negative emotions, and even mood swings but happiness is generally connected with more positive emotions than the negative. 

 

On the other hand, Life satisfaction also breeds happiness, in that, the more satisfaction you derive from life gnificantly determines how pleased you are, of your life. Hence, guaranteeing happiness or otherwise. Hence, if you are not so pleased with your relationship, work, and achievements so far, you may not be as happy as you really desire to be. However, this is not to say that your life will be completely void of happiness when things are not going so well. Sometimes, the HOPE that your situation will improve, may give you some level of satisfaction, hence; happiness. 

obstacles to happiness

How to Be a Happier Person 

Happiness is a function of many factors; including genetics, individual activities and external events- while some people seem to have a higher baseline or propensity for happiness, others have to put in more effort to attain happiness. A research conducted on 2,000 twins, to understand the variation in the baseline for happiness has revealed that 50% of overall life satisfaction is due to genetics, while 10% to external events, and 40% to individual activities. 

 

Hence, while it may be difficult to vary your natural drive for happiness, you may be able to control other aspects of life, influencing happiness. You can very well engage in fun activities and set-goals you will attain, to spike your propensity for happiness. Remember that even the people with a very high baseline for happinees can become unhappy as a result of some unpleasant life circumstances. Therefore, happiness is something that one needs to consciously and constantly pursue. Follow the following steps to derive more happiness.

1. Cultivate Strong Relationships

 

Social support is an essential part of well-being. Research has found that good social relationships are the strongest predictor of happiness. Having positive and supportive connections with people you care about can provide a buffer against stress, improve your health, and help you become a happier person. Hence, you need to know what to do with your annoying husband, if your relationship must turn out to be a fulfilling one.

 

In the Harvard Study of Adult Development, a longitudinal study that looked at participants over 80 years, researchers found that relationships and how happy people are in those relationships strongly impacted overall health. Sometimes, happiness is a sign that you are in a good relationship.

2. Get Regular Excercise

 

It is essential to get regular  excercise for your body and mind, if you must help you must give yourself some chance for happiness. Regular excercise does not only benefit the body, it also benefits the mind. It benefits the body in that, it keeps it healthy, healthy enough to deal with other unpleasant circumstances that life may throw at it. Apart fro this fact, excercising also becomes a thing of ultimate excitement when your goals are achieved- ‘John sets a goal to achieve 3 sets of 15 reps of squats every morning, accomplishing that goal every morning brings him the satisfaction that he set a goal that he was able accomplished. 

 

Hence, even a little bit of exercise produces a happiness boost—people who were physically active for as little as 10 minutes a day or who worked out only once a week had higher levels of happiness than people who never exercised.

3. Learn to show gratitude

 

This section may seem irrelevant after you read the title but it is true that unreasonale and excessive expectations may cause to to look forward to too much, and this character will then become a determining factor of one’s happiness at the long run. Sometimes optimmism may have a negative effect, and this is a case of that. It is important to keep the faith and keep hope alive but when it is done recklessly, without regard for what is logically obtainable in a particular circumstance, there is a high chance that one is setting oneself up for disappoint and this disappointment eventually results in a castastrophic loss of happiness.

 

On a different but relatable note, keeping a gratitude list will also help you develop happiness into a habit. This system is not only an easy one, it is also affordable and simple. In one study, participants were asked to partake in a writing excercise for at least 10 to 20 minutes every night. One participant was instructed to write on their daily hassles, some about neutral events and others about things they were grateful for. It was discovered, at the end of the excercise that those who wrote on the things they were grateful for, became happier people with alot of positive emotions. This is so because, for them to reach that state of happiness, pondering everynight on the things they were grateful for, forced them to look inwards, and they sure found alot to be grateful for. 

4. Find a Sense of Purpose 

 

Having a sense of purpose, gives a person some level of hope that in turn, drives happiness. Research has found that people who believe they are alive to live serve some great purpose, tend to be really happy. As long as they believe they are on the path to self-actualisation, they are happy to be living a ‘fulfilled’ life. A sense of purpose involves seeing your life as having goals, direction, and meaning. It may help improve happiness by promoting healthier behaviors. 

 

Some things you can do to find a sense of purpose include:

•         Exploring your interests and passions

•         Engage in prosocial and altruistic causes

•         Work to address injustices

 

•         Look for new things you might want to learn more about

 

 

This sense of purpose is influenced by a variety of factors, but it is also something that you can cultivate. It involves finding a goal that you care deeply about that will lead you to engage in productive, positive actions in order to work toward that goal.  

Obstacles to Happiness 

Having understood what happiness is and its essence, you may be asking yourself already; what are the biggest obstacles to happiness?- It is important to understand and avoid the following barriers to happiness, if you must live a happy life.

 

1. Unrealistic Expectations: It is quite alright to be optimistic but when we one becomes unrealistically optimistic, there is a high chance that such person will may experience some disappointment which will innevitably lower the level of one’s happiness. 

 

2. Contempt for happiness: The United States, founded upon Puritan ideals, harbors a great deal of latent contempt for happiness.  Our Puritan founders seemed to eschew anything that might make one feel happy.  H.L. Mencken quipped, “Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere might be happy.”

 

We tend to view happy people as naive, frivolous, disconnected and flighty.  Think of a CEO or high government official and your mind will conjure up a steel-jawed, solemn, determined individual.  We want leaders to smile and be affable before they are promoted or elected—this makes them likeable.  But, power is serious business and we want our leaders to be serious.

 

Similarly, we all want to feel important ourselves and important people have important problems.  Our problems must, therefore, be significant for us to feel significant.

 

3. The people around us and the media: It is not ultimately advisable to take people’s opinion concerning your happiness. As illustated in the preceeding section, happiness is to a significant extent, intrinsic and subjective. When you pay too much attention to people’s opinion of happiness, you are eager to live up to their expections as opposed to finding meaning for your own life.

FAQs

What are the benefits of happiness?

 

Amongst other benefits, happiness Opens a person’s mind to positivity Optimism and vitality are critical to a person’s well-being. Protecting your health: Happiness lowers your risk for cardiovascular disease, lowers your blood pressure, enables better sleep, improves your diet, allows you to maintain a normal body weight through regular exercise and reduces stress. Improving a person’s problem-solving ability: Positive-minded individuals believe they “can” and want to achieve their goals. Some times, being happy also helps you to cope with stress.

 

How do you achieve happiness?

 

Happiness is highly essential to our health, well-being and growth in life, hence, it is important to pursue it religiously. Some of the ways to experience happiness is to do what makes you feel fufiled, amng other things.

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