Finding Lasting Happiness: Why Is It Such a Puzzle?

Do babies hold the key to the happiness puzzle?
Do babies hold the key to the happiness puzzle? | Source

Is Finding Happiness What You Want?

How do we tackle finding happiness? That is the billion dollar piece to the happiness puzzle that even having a billion dollars may not solve. More than any other emotion - perhaps even more than romantic love - you ask yourself, your family, your ministers and anyone else you come into contact with, the age old question of how and where do you find happiness?

Finding happiness is like seeking the Holy Grail. It is a global quest most people can relate to. It is so important, that one country, Bhutan, has a national edict that mandates its citizens to look for happiness. Unfortunately, happiness can be elusive, mystical, mythical even, and it is the rare person who does not spend time looking for ways to find happiness.

Sadly, it is also true that some may have resigned themselves to thinking that they will never be happy and have abandoned the quest. With no hope for happiness, is the search for love and peace summarily dismissed?

To answer the question of finding happiness, you must first admit to the existence of happiness and the importance of happiness. It is often a difficult admission in a world so full of sorrowful events that contradict and block even the most persistent pursuit of happiness. But the route to happiness is actually all around you and can appear in unexpected places, in unexpected ways. The trick is to be open to receive and experience it when you find happiness or when happiness finds you!


Gardening is a great route to happiness and contentment for many.
Gardening is a great route to happiness and contentment for many. | Source

Happiness is an individually defined, and, admittedly, an often elusive emotion. Scientists have long searched for a gene that is connected to and, may be responsible for the feeling of happiness.

As it turns out, scientists think they have found the gene for happiness, with its own specific place on the DNA molecular structure. That gene actually regulates the distribution of the neurotransmitter, serotonin. Research has demonstrated that low levels of serotonin contribute to depression. Adequate amounts or an abundance of serotonin helps contribute to innate optimism. Optimism is the thread connected to happiness.

The pathway to happiness, in other words, where to find happiness, really does lay within you or at least the propensity for happiness is somewhat controlled biologically. The mesolimbic pathway, an area located in the center of your brain, is most associated with the emotions of joy and happiness and is the area most affected by serotonin levels. But biology isn't the only factor in determining if you will find happiness.

Who can't find happiness in a baby's laughter, at least temporarily?

Journaling your gratitude can help you find happiness.

Why Even Look for Happiness?

There are many reasons to look for happiness. Aside from the feeling of well being, studies show that happy people are generally healthier people. Happy people tend to also enjoy greater success in life because they are often more productive in their endeavors and friendlier to others, key components to being successful. A case could be made that happiness is even infectious. Social scientists observe that people tend to intuitively gravitate towards happy people.

Fortunately, possessing the "happiness gene" is not the only determinant in finding happiness. Although, if it were, there would still be some people who would be happy and others not quite so, depending on the levels of serotonin their bodies produced.

The absolutely wonderful news is that it is within your ability to find happiness. Sometimes the trick becomes recognizing that you have the this amazing ability to find it. The next is to recognize that it is there in front of you.

Eating chocolate can have a positive effect on mood.
Eating chocolate can have a positive effect on mood. | Source

Listen to Music!

Keys to Finding Happiness

So, where and how can you find happiness? How do we create the opportunities for experiencing joy? Can the happiness puzzle be assembled?

There are a multitude of circumstances that will produce feelings of great contentment and happiness. Many of those circumstances come from a few basic activities, some that are listed below. Read a few of them and maybe the pieces will fit for you.

1. Fall in love. Serotonin is released in large amounts in persons who are experiencing love. With increased levels of serotonin come the feelings of joy and contentment. That is why poets write about it and singers sing about love.

2. Have a baby. The physical act of having a baby releases hormones. Some of those hormones directly affect the feelings of well being and the reduction of fear and anxiety. When all events are occurring as they should, the act of giving birth produces an incredible feeling of joy that is not just intellectual joy, but also a chemical reaction. Granted, this is not possible for a huge segment of the population (sorry guys), nor is it experienced very often by one individual. However, for those who do experience it, the memory of that joy can be revisited over a lifetime.

4. Buy a dog, cat or some other pet. Rescue a dog or cat from the pound to feel an even greater sense of happiness. Pets provide hours of enjoyment. Their antics are often surprising and hilarious. The simple acting of caring for the needs of something else and knowing you are depended on, can help you find happiness.

5. Be grateful. Gratitude is the surest way to find happiness. It may not be the easiest because, unfortunately, there are many individuals who do not recognize what there is to be be grateful for. Open your eyes to what may be there. Be very intentional and create a gratitude journal. Identify those people, actions, events and even items you are grateful for. The magnitude does not matter, rather it's how they make you feel that matters.

6. Move to Denmark. Sounds funny, but according to studies, more positive people live in Denmark than anywhere else. Positive people are generally optimistic and happy. Short of moving to Denmark, surround yourself with positive people. The emotion is contagious, just as genuine laughter is. So pack the U-Haul or screen your friends.

6. Give freely. Giving fosters feelings of altruism and those feelings make you feel happy. This is why so many people volunteer to help others. There are many ways to volunteer in your community. Seek them out through your church or other sources simply by searching the web for opportunities. Don't think you have to take on a huge volunteer project right away. Just giving your smile when you get on the elevator can contribute to feeling happy. As mentioned before, smiles are generally contagious. Pass it on.

7. Eat dark chocolate. Chocolate contains chemicals that activate certain neurotransmitters in the brain that make you feel content. Eating dark chocolate also contains antioxidants that contribute to good health. So eat a few pieces, guilt free. It will put a smile on your face.

8. Be social. It has been proven that if you have friends and community connections, it is more likely that you will be happier. Stay connected to friends and family, they're important to your happiness and also to their happiness.

9. Have economic stability. Prosperity, the ability to easily take care of your needs, strongly impacts happiness. If you're not worrying about how to pay the bills, you can concentrate on other activities that bring contentment.

10. Most important of all, recognize and embrace the times you are happy. You deserve it. Develop a sense of satisfaction in all of your accomplishments and endeavors. That sense of satisfaction, over time, creates the perfect atmosphere for happiness.

Remember, when you are exploring where and how to find happiness, you must look within yourself. According to scientists, you really do carry a gene for it. It will not make you happy all the time. No one is, nor should you be. How would you know if you were happy if that was your only state of emotions? And there are events that will happen to you throughout your life that affect you profoundly and negatively. Like happiness, they are a part of life. They can't be avoided. The point is, you should actively pursue activities that contribute to your happiness. Sometimes happiness will just find you. Be grateful when it does.

Last, spread your happiness around and it's sure to increase for you. Do things for others. Reach out in a positive way.

Where to find happiness? Why, its path leads to you.


Copyright Cynthia Turner, 2012.

More by this Author


Comments 80 comments

TS Van Arsdale profile image

TS Van Arsdale 4 years ago from The Ether

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse


sandrabusby profile image

sandrabusby 4 years ago from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

Good suggestions, all. I'm headed for the dark chocolate myself.


topaz blue 4 years ago

Hello

Yes I'll be saying 'Thank You' for all that dark chocolate too!

Many thanks

Topaz Blue


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

I love #4 and #6...laughing out loud. Just eat chocolates while moving to Denmark! Pretty simple solution!

Fun hub to read and the underlying message is a good one for sure....be happy!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

hey Cyndi10 Great hub....positively healthy and helpful suggestions....adorable child peeking through the puzzle piece...and the chocolate looks yummy. Why must you tempt me??

Thought I'd mention a book on this subject....I found it interesting..."Gross National Happiness" by Arthur C. Brooks Voted UP ++ !!


WhydThatHappen 4 years ago

billybuc- And have a baby while you're at it!


annerivendell profile image

annerivendell 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

Great Hub. Martin Seligman, one of the "founders" of positive psychology, would say that Flourishing is a more accurate word because happiness is usually associated with cheeriness, a more temporary (and sometimes annoying?) state.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello TS, Siddhartha is of my favorites. In fact, I haven't read it in many years. In fact, I had plans to reread it when I have some free time.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello Sandra, I kinda favor the dark chocolate, as well. Hard to beat it. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi Topaz, looks as if dark chocolate is winning. Thanks for taking a read!


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi there Billy, How about that! Maybe chocolate's the national food in Denmark! Glad to hear from you, as always.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hey, thanks for the mention of the book. I will definitely look for it. Go for the chocolate. Remember, it's good for you. Just don't overdo. LOL. I appreciate you reading and leaving a comment.


Karmallama profile image

Karmallama 4 years ago from St. Paul, minnesota

Very beautiful! I especially appreciate the number list of things to do to make you happy. Great hub!


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

HaHa @Billybuc. Not gonna happen. LOL. So I guess it'll still just have to be the chocolate.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

@Annevendell, I like that word flourishing, but somehow I envision growing robust or something along those lines. And you're right about the word association. It is often temporary. On the other hand, contentment conjures up something more permanent, but not as euphoric. Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to leave me a comment.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Thank you so much, Karmallama, for leaving a comment. I'm glad you enjoyed reading the hub.


OTEE profile image

OTEE 4 years ago from India

*clap clap clap*

Wow! Wonderful Hub, Cindi.

I particularly liked, "The absolutely wonderful news is that it is within your ability to find happiness. Sometimes the trick becomes to recognize that you have the ability to find it and then recognize that you have found it."

:)


xstatic profile image

xstatic 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

Outstanding Hub! Great info here. No one can "make us happy." As you say, it lies within ourselves.


StephenCowry profile image

StephenCowry 4 years ago

Family is one great source of happiness, however, it is one's self that gives the opportunity to be happy. It's the decision we make that makes us happy. Great hub.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello OTEE, Thank you, Thank you. I'm so glad you took a peak and liked what you read!


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi xstatic, Those words are music to my ears. I'm glad you found the information useful. Too many times we look to someone else to make us happy. That's our responsibility to allow circumstances, etc. to contribute to our happiness. Thank you for your kind words!


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi Stephen, You are sooooo right! I really appreciate you leaving a comment.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

Cyndi10 what a unique hub.. had to vote up and useful


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi Frank, glad to hear from you today. Thanks for taking a look and voting up. Have a creative day!


OTEE profile image

OTEE 4 years ago from India

I passed this link to my son and here's what he had to say:

"Nice post. So, every time you find yourself feeling sad, help your sons out financially, generously. And do it often."


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

OTEE, I am laughing so hard. I can relate!!! I don't think I'll send this to my son. He might have the same reaction! LOL


Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Nice hub and very positive! I believe happiness is a state of being. If we're surrounded by friends and family who support us, and we derive joy from helping them, that's a great start. If you don't have that...move to Denmark! Rated up and useful :)


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi Green Lotus, We are responsible for our own happiness, but having supportive positive people around you can definitely make a difference in the state of mind you can reach easily.. And yep, there's always Denmark. :-)

I appreciate you reading and leaving a comment.


anuch60 profile image

anuch60 4 years ago from Vasai East

Happiness can come easily to anybody who has reduced his or her list of wants to the minimum. Be content with what you have. You are bound to be happy.


LikaMarie 4 years ago

Happiness is being a mom, a friend, a spouse, a student of life, or simply being me, and being able to share with others.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello anuch60, that can be so true, so true. Things in and of themselves don't bring happiness. In fact, wanting things that are not within your reach might be a source of unhappiness unless it spurs you to make positive changes. Thanks so much for leaving an insightful comment.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi LikaMarie, yes, yes and yes. Those are indeed a source of great happiness. It's all so individual and it's a very wise/lucky/blessed person who has their eyes wide open to the happiness they can experience everyday, in so many ways. Thank you so much for leaving a comment.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

A great upbeat and positive hub, love your list especially number 6 - I can cope with that ok!

Thank you and voted up


Sueswan 4 years ago

Hi Cyndi

Thanks for spreading happiness with this hub. I believe true happiness comes from within.

Voted up and away.

Enjoy your weekend. :)


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi Movie Master, Thank you so much for reading and voting. I appreciate you stopping by.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello Sue, Thanks so much for reading and voting up. I appreciate that. Enjoy your weekend, as well. Be Creative!


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

The source of happiness is within us. We must be happy with the things we have at our disposition, and not seek happiness from the things we crave for.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi Vinaya, so wisely said. Thanks for leaving the comment.


kelleyward 4 years ago

I love this hub especially the eat dark chocolate and look within yourself. I have found both of those tips along with returning my focus on what is most important to my quality of life to be very helpful for happiness. Voted up and shared! Kelley


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello Kelley, thanks so much for reading. I so agree with you, the chocolate's the thing. Happy eating!


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello Naimishiha, Such a beautiful truth "happiness is the backbone of our life." Thanks for leaving a comment.


Angela Brummer profile image

Angela Brummer 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

This is great down to the image! Really nice! I will share this!


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello Angela, Thanks so much for reading and sharing. I appreciate that.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Voted up and awesome. Great hub and great ideas on happiness. You're right basically is comes from within and what you make of life will also determine if you'll be happy. Passing this on.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello Rose Lee, Thank you so much for taking a look. I hope you are able to put into practice some of the ideas although I have a feeling you already do. Thank you for the vote and for passing it on.


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 4 years ago from San Francisco

Thank you for this very positive insight. I found happiness in a mirror... long story...


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi Mhatter, Will you be sharing that mirror story with us some day? I'm curious. Thanks so much for leaving a comment.


Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States

Hi Cyndi! I sure hope this hub goes viral! We need more happiness in the world! Voted up!!!


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi Dexter, Sometimes happiness is a rare commodity, but it is free when we find it. Thanks so much for such a great compliment and the vote up!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Hi, I am going to move to Denmark and eat chocolate, yes I know others have said the same thing, we shall have to book a flight for all of us! lol! really interesting, fancy it being in the genes! voted up! cheers nell


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi Nell, How about that? Wouldn't it be great fun for a group of hubbers to show up for a flight to Denmark in search of happiness. I suppose the chocolate will have to do for me, anyway. You know, that fear of flying thing. LOL. Thanks so much for stopping in and voting up. I really appreciate that.


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

Happiness is not a chance, it's a choice. I always believed on that saying. Falling in love really gives us happiness..oh i love being in love :))


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello, You're so right. We often have a choice of reactions to situations. I think it's better to choose happiness and love. Thanks for reading and commenting


raciniwa profile image

raciniwa 4 years ago from Naga City, Cebu

wow...i sure would love to go to Denmark...the most enlightening message i read today...


ishwaryaa22 profile image

ishwaryaa22 4 years ago from Chennai, India

An uplifting and awe-inspiring hub! I have not heard about scientific aspects of happiness, especially the gene for happiness! Your explanation is very detailed and your list of suggestions are very helpful! It is nice to hear that Denmark is a very happy country & I would like to visit there in the near future. Also I enjoy eating chocolates - both milk & dark and like socializing with my friends & cousins! Falling in love (with the suitable person) is indeed very wonderful and giving birth to babies is very beautiful - they are truly few of the happiest times! Well-done!

Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Awesome. Voted up & Socially Shared.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi Raciniwa, You can join the rest of us on that Hubpages charter to Denmark :-) I always appreciate it when you read my work.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello Ishwaryaa, You can add reading my hub to happiness. It has been so wonderful to see such a response to my article. Thank you so much for sharing and voting to highly!!! You really helped make my day.


ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

I see I am not the only one here who is 'happy' to find this hub :) I find happiness in the positive relationships around me. Great hub.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Thanks you so much, Christy. I'm so glad you found the hub.


snowdrops profile image

snowdrops 4 years ago from The Second Star to the Right

this is very inspiring hub. thank you cyndi


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi Snowdrops, It is so nice to have you take a look this morning. Thank you for reading. Have a creative day!


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

Very inspiring hub. I learn many things from you. I agree with you that helping others is one of the key of happiness. I had tried this many times and it work! Thanks for writing and share with us. Voted up!

Love and peace, Prasetio


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello Prasetio, Thank you so much for reading and kindly leaving such a positive comment. That makes me happy. Take care! Cyndi


radhikasree profile image

radhikasree 4 years ago from Mumbai,India

My happiness is always restricted to two or three days only. Something happens to break my heart and it takes a lot of days to recover from that. Can you please tell me how to forget those bitter memories from our life? Even if I try to indulge in so many activities, those unwanted things get into my mind again.

You've quoted some best points to gain happiness in our life. Up and useful.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello Radhikasree, Memories are both a gift and a curse, but memories are what makes us the individuals we are. Unfortunately, there is not a way to block unhappy or bitter memories. Over time the intensity may be mitigated, but there are often those unwanted memories that will intrude just as we are at our happiest. When that happens to me, I will choose an activity that gives me pleasure like reading or playing with the dog. As a writer, I can create worlds to take my mind off those bitter, sad memories. I realize no one can be happy all the time, but hope keeps us grounded and aspiring. Take care. Cyndi


josh3418 profile image

josh3418 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

Cyndi,

Awesome tips! Eating Dark Chocolate? Yes please! Who could pass that up? LOL Great hub Cyndi, happiness is a coveted quality that can be had if someone diligently searches for it!


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi Josh, Grab that Dark Chocolate. Who knew? Thanks much!


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear Cyndi,

I was prepared to love you as you are from the land of my Momma (yeah, Georgia!) and you're buds with Colin & Josh...

Now you seem to be telling me that all I need to do is have a baby and move to Denmark and I will be ecstatic... cuz, I have the dark chocolate and everything else "down pat"! Love your style -- Voted UP & UABI.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi there, Yep, livin' in Georgia. Good people. I'm seriously thinking about that charter to Denmark for all the Hubbers...after I win the lottery, of course. In the meantime, Ill stick to the dark chocolate with you. Thank you much for the vote up.


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 4 years ago from Virginia

Denmark? I would have not thought that...so where does Chesapeake, Virginia rank?...because in my book it is number one. An interesting hub with some great suggestions....I feel that happiness is a something different for each person. To me it is family...so number 2 on your list is a great one for me....my kids range from 24 to 3....so having a baby around is something we greatly enjoy in my family.

I greatly appreciate you providing some of the pieces to the happiness puzzle....being happy is the way to go.....voted up and interesting.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Denmark was a surprise to me, too. Virginia is wonderful and as for Chesapeake, it's right at the top, in my book. I love the area and the people. Happiness is very individual. I think the key is to be open to recognizing and embracing it.

You're so right about kids. They can keep you happily busy. I'm sure you're especially happy to be able to be at home to help them grow up. Thanks for the votes.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 4 years ago from sunny Florida

How sad for anyone who has resigned themselves to never finding happiness. There is so much to be had, at every turn.

So many small, seeming inconsequential happenings every day bring happiness.

Thank you for sharing this to remind us that we do not need to look far or search long to find this sometimes elusive joy.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

I agree with you completely! There is so much in the world, right around our own corner that can make us happy if we are just open to what's there. Be creative and take care.


ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

I found your discussion about the science behind happiness truly fascinating. I had not thought about optimism and DNA - well now I must know more! Thanks for the great hub. I vote up and will share over on Twitter too.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi Christy, Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment.

It really is fascinating to know they are finding so much of who we are really is controlled by DNA and chemistry. If that is understood, it may make it so much easier to help those who have problems. Thanks for sharing on Twitter.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 4 years ago

....well happiness is reading this definite hub presentation on the pursuit and sometimes elusive nature of happiness and also hooking up with you anytime we meet at the Hub.

I often refer to 'relative' happiness and in realistic obtainable terms - perhaps that is something we should all shoot for - sending you warm wishes and good energy from lake erie time ontario canada 3:29pm


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello to you, Epi, as you sit in comfort on Lake Erie. Always great to have you stop by, it's so good to get your thoughts and comments. I agree about the "relativity" of happiness. We need to know what it means for us and then what it would take to reach that elusive state. Take care.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

I'm always looking for the elusive "happiness." I need to embrace the times I'm happy, as you say. Great hub! Voted up and more!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

I'm always looking for the elusive "happiness." I need to embrace the times I'm happy, as you say. Great hub! Voted up and more!


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia Author

It can be difficult to embrace the times we are happy as we look ahead to "what's next" or we continue to look at what has happened in the past. Thanks for taking the time to stop in with a comment.

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