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Happiness Decoded

Updated on February 22, 2020
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Happiness is something which everyone is seeking. I won't be exaggerating if I say that the ultimate goal of life is to be happy. Everyone wants to be happy, or happier. In today's stressful times, being happy almost seems like a task or a project.

What does HAPPINESS means to you ?

Before answering this question, stop and ponder over it.

Happiness can be different things to different people. It can be love, peace of mind, cute kids, money, success, house, appreciation, popularity, good health, caring family and so on. Some look for happiness in big accomplishments while for some, happiness can be found in day to day mundane things too.

Searching dictionary meaning of happiness-

Wikipedia defines happiness as a mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, happiness is a state of well-being and contentment . Another definition at explains happiness as the feeling that comes over you when you know life is good and you can't help but smile.

Going by the above definitions, we can decode happiness as:

  • It is a state of mind.
  • It is not about other people.
  • It is in the present moment.

Happiness is a state of mind

The Dalai Lama has given a simple advice to be happy- “By bringing about a change in our outlook toward things and events, all phenomena can become sources of happiness.” Happiness or unhappiness- both are states of mind. Circumstances have nothing to do with it. A person can be happy even in the adverse situations if he trains his mind to do so. You can choose to focus on positive attributes and blessings in every situation and be grateful about it or you can choose to focus on the negatives even in the most favourable situations and be unhappy about it. It all depends on how you train your mind to deal with people and situations. Life is a roller coaster ride and there are bounds to be ups and downs during this ride. But remember that 'ups and downs are a part of living but smiling through the ups and downs is the art of living.'

Happiness is not about other people

A common mistake that most of us make is that our happiness depends on others. A little criticism or off-beat remark from someone can easily throw us off balance. We may forget appreciation or a compliment but insults and snide remarks are forever itched in our memory. We can never be truly happy if our happiness is dependent on others because then we are always putting ourselves in a vulnerable position and thus, inviting unhappiness. Happiness is within ourselves. We just have to discover it and train ourselves to be happy irrespective of people and situations.

Happiness is in the present moment

But how can we do that?

It's very simple! Just, LIVE IN THE PRESENT MOMENT.

It's a general tendency of the mind to keep oscillating like a pendulum between the past and the future. Either we are nostalgic about the past happy moments or we regret the mistakes committed in the past. Or we keep worrying about the future. In both the scenarios, we miss the present moment.

Sometimes we keep postponing our happiness for future. 'I will be happy when...' - We put some condition to our happiness and when that condition is fulfilled, we put some other condition. It's like an endless vicious circle. The result is that happiness keeps eluding us.


Happiness is neither in the past nor in the future. Happiness is right here in this present moment.

Smile and be happy

Happiness can have different meanings for everyone. But one thing is for sure, happiness is indispensable for a lovely and meaningful life. All our daily struggles revolve around finding happiness. So give a good thought on 'what happiness means to you', reflect on the question and look for your own answers. Put efforts to know what happiness EXACTLY means for us and how we can create it.

Happiness is not a destination, it's the journey. Learn to savour life's little pleasures. Find joy in simple things. Everyday presents you endless opportunities to smile and be happy. You just have to be aware and not let any opportunity slip by. Remember a simple and profound advice by Leo Tolstoy, "If you want to be happy, just be!"

Should 'happiness' be a goal for governments?

See results

2012 Happy Planet Index

Happiness Index
El Salvador

Bobby McFerrin - Don't Worry Be Happy

© 2015 Shaloo Walia


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