This series of articles is about happiness: how to define it and how to maximise it for yourself. Click here to see the Table Of Contents.
3 Things We All Want
There are three things that surveys consistently bring out when it comes to what people want in life. These three things are:
- Inner Peace
Of these, Happiness sits above the other two as the most desired state. Accordingly, this series will break down happiness into its 'layers' and describe how you can maximise it.
So... What Is It?
This question has been asked over and over across the ages by philosophers, priests and by every one of us. We might also ask other questions that are more nebulous, such as 'how can I be happier' or 'why am I unhappy'.
A simple dictionary definition of happiness may go like this: 'the quality or state of being happy' - which is not really that useful. Following from this, what does the word 'happy' mean?
Again the dictionary says 'delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing'. Likewise this is not much use as all it does is give synonyms for 'happy'.
However, most of us know when we are happy and when we are unhappy. We feel great and often describe it as a warm and fuzzy feeling. We also know when we are unhappy as well.
Physiologists and the medical profession will say that when we are happy our breathing is slow and steady (but then, the same occurs when we are asleep!).
Priests will say we are that much closer to God (Christianity), Allah (Islam) or to Enlightenment (Buddhism).
There seem to be multiple ways of describing the effects of happiness without actually defining it.
3 Types of Happiness
There are 3 types of happiness that people experience.
- Hedonistic happiness. This is experienced when there is a superficial attainment of your desires.
Getting a raise at work, winning the lottery and other short term hits will do this for you. However it can also be followed by periods of sadness and depression, and is often very short term.
- 'The Good Life.' This is the kind of happiness that emerges when you are 'in flow' - you are doing things you love to do, you're 'on purpose' and you are being authentically you.
This is OK in the short to medium term but cannot be permanently sustained.
- 'The Meaningful Life.' This type occurs when you fulfil your interpreted 'meaning of life.'
You're consistently living your purpose every day, your life has meaning, and you're contributing to the world in some way. And often, if not always, it results in gratitude.
Breaking It Down: The 6 Layers Of Happiness
In order to understand Happiness better, this series of articles is going to break the topic down into 'layers' of happiness. These 'layers' are actually boundaries that we place between ourselves and being happy. Keep peeling off each layer and you'll get to your essential self.
So, there are 6 layers in all:
Table Of Contents
Each article in this series will look at each layer and how you can maximise your happiness by peeling it off in turn, one by one.