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What is happiness in life?

What is happiness in life? Although most humans seek happiness, this concept can be difficult to grasp.

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March 31, 2021

What exactly is happiness in life? What does it allow? How to reach it? Many of us are looking for happiness, but this concept is quite difficult to grasp, and many questions arise when we think about it. This is especially true during the process of quitting smoking, which we generally undertake to improve our well-being, and thus our happiness.

What is happiness?

First of all, it's important to define this notion in order to understand what is hidden behind the term “happiness”.

What is happiness for you?

What is happiness for you?” is the question Julien Peron asked himself when he made his documentary released in 2017. After traveling the world for four years and interviewing more than 1,500 people, three major findings emerged:

  • Only a quarter of people manage to find a definition of happiness.
  • All these definitions are different.
  • We all want to be happy.

So, rather than trying to find a universal definition of happiness, you need to find the one that is specific to you and that fits you. To find your own concept of happiness, you can, for example, base yourself on your personal values, on your principles, or on your life goals. You may realize that for you, happiness is more related to family, relationship or financial success. This definition may also depend on your past and your education, which have shaped your way of seeing the world and therefore of thinking about things.

A general idea of what happiness is

It's therefore difficult, if not impossible, to find a single definition of happiness. However, one point on which everyone agrees is that the search for happiness is universal.

In recent years, as more and more people ask themselves what happiness is, research on this subject has multiplied. Several points are nevertheless recurrent:

  • Happiness is a state of mind that, unlike joy, is lasting and spreads over time. To be happy is to marvel at everything and to identify the best of each moment. To the question “what is happiness in life?”, we can therefore answer that it's a state where we manage to draw the positive from each situation.
  • Happiness approaches a lasting state of satisfaction and fulfillment, where stress is a distant memory.
  • Living in happiness doesn't mean that all our worries have disappeared. We simply accept them for what they are and no longer let them control our lives. We have somehow learned to cultivate self-compassion of the surprises and challenges that life throws our way, or as Einstein would say, “we have learned to dance in the rain”.

Happiness is, therefore, a certain state of well-being and completeness that lasts over time.

If you have just started to quit smoking, you may feel more depressed than usual. You should know that this state is only temporary and that it's linked to the fact that your body has to relearn how to live without tobacco, but especially without nicotine. During your withdrawal, Kwit is there to support you with its application.

What does happiness allow?

If everyone seeks to achieve happiness, it's because this state must have many advantages. But what are they? What does happiness allow?

Happiness allows us to surpass ourselves

As Confucius said, “happiness is not at the top of the mountain, but in how to climb”. In other words, happiness isn't so much in the results, but in the journey that precedes them. By doing what we love, by completing a project that is close to our hearts or by pursuing our goals, we are most often led out of our comfort zone and into impressing ourselves. The path may be paved with obstacles, but it pushes us to surpass ourselves, to achieve things we previously thought we were incapable of. And despite the difficulty, we often realize that surpassing ourselves for something we love allows us to be happier. It allows us to rediscover ourselves and become a better, more fulfilled version of ourselves. Even before we reach our goal, the simple fact of having it in our sights allows us to achieve happiness.

It's important to specify that this applies regardless of our project. There is no need to plan a road trip to the other side of the world, or to start a business without feeling like an entrepreneur to be happy. The simple fact of trying something that is close to our heart while scaring us is enough. By overcoming this fear and taking the plunge, we fulfill ourselves and live up to our values.

The search for happiness offers us the perfect opportunity to try that sport that we have been wanting to do for a long time, to start a creative activity, or even to change our habits to be happier!

Happiness makes you healthier

Voltaire said, “I've decided to be happy because it's good for my health”. But does happiness really have an impact on our health, both physical and mental?

According to some studies, happiness would indeed increase longevity, but also the quality of our life. Being happy would also strengthen our immune system and our cardiovascular system, while improving our body's ability to regenerate. Other studies have also shown that happiness has a positive impact on our mental health.

In recent years, studies on the impact of happiness on health have multiplied, reflecting the interest in this topic. The results are generally similar: being happy is good for your health. But be careful: this doesn't mean that happiness is a universal remedy for all ills. It only contributes to our quality of life by making our existence more pleasant.

Happy person in front of a lake

How to reach happiness?

Many of us want to achieve happiness. But in order to do so and not to chase chimeras, it's first of all important to understand what happiness isn't. This will allow us to move towards it.

What happiness isn’t

By asking the question “what is happiness”, we may quickly wonder about the origin of this state. If, according to Lykken, subjective well-being depends partly on hereditary components, other elements can also impact our ability to feel and experience happiness.

First, let's question what happiness isn't. As the saying goes, “money can't buy happiness”. Although not false, this statement must be qualified. With the over-mediatization of the model that associates happiness with wealth and consumption, money may seem necessary to be happy. Certainly, it can help some people to be happy at the beginning, for example by allowing them to buy things that make them happy. However, once a threshold has been crossed, money helps us less and less, or even no longer helps us at all in our quest for happiness. This can be explained by the fact that people who earn the most money are also the ones who work the most and are the most stressed. They no longer have time to devote themselves to other aspects of their lives, such as their family or their hobbies, which also contribute fully to their well-being. In order to achieve happiness, we need to balance everything that is important to us. This can be the personal well-being, but also well-being in a relationship or at work.

Happiness appears as the ability to be in harmony with which we really are by satisfying what we have in the present moment.

If you are or were a smoker, you may have noticed that in some cases, smoking can bring you a certain feeling of well-being. The reason for this is simple: the nicotine in tobacco facilitates the release of dopamine, the pleasure hormone, which activates the reward system. In short, smoking can induce a certain happiness. But this artificial feeling must be differentiated from natural happiness, especially since the more your dependence on nicotine increases, the more you will need to smoke to achieve the same state. This can create a vicious circle that could eventually make you more unhappy than happy. So when you quit smoking, you need to give your body time to learn to live without nicotine, but above all, you need to find natural methods that allow you to activate the reward system. Take the opportunity to take care of yourself and do something you've been wanting to do for a long time!

Ways to reach happiness

To reach happiness, it may be useful to remember the words of Charles Caleb Colton: “the present time has one advantage over every other: it is our own”. It's indeed essential to remember that we only have the capacity to act on the present moment. We must therefore let the past go and stop giving the future the power to torment us in order to live in a present that suits us and makes us happy. To do this, it's helpful to ask yourself three questions:

  • What areas of my life currently allow me to achieve happiness?
  • Which areas that I could easily reach would contribute to my happiness?
  • What feelings can happiness give me?

But the answers to these questions are unique to each person, which implies that the search for happiness is first and foremost a process of personal acceptance. To be happy, we must learn to live for ourselves without worrying about the eyes of others. This implies taking care of ourselves no matter what the circumstances are. In a way, to achieve happiness, we must take care of ourselves as if we were taking care of a small child: by bringing us the best and nothing else but the best. To help us do this, it can be helpful to learn to see and focus on the positive side of every event.

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