Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. (Albert Schweitzer)

The definition of happiness is a very personal matter – it’s inherently different from one person to the other.

So, naturally the question arises: what is the essence of happiness? Is it something that needs to be earned or bought, or is it a state of mind and one can think himself into happiness?

Happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude. (Dale Carnegie)

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. (Denis Waitely)

Psychologist Martin Seligman asserts that happiness is not solely derived from external, momentary pleasures, and provides the acronym PERMA to summarize Positive Psychology’s correlational findings: humans seem happiest when they have

  • Pleasure (tasty food, warm baths, etc.),
  • Engagement (or flow, the absorption of an enjoyed yet challenging activity),
  • Relationships (social ties have turned out to be extremely reliable indicator of happiness),
  • Meaning (a perceived quest or belonging to something bigger), and
  • Accomplishments (having realized tangible goals).

There have also been some studies of how religion relates to happiness. Causal relationships remain unclear, but more religion is seen in happier people. Consistent with Seiligman’s PERMA classification scheme, religion may provide a sense of meaning and connection to something bigger, beyond the self. Religion may also provide community membership and hence relationships. Another component may have to do with ritual.

As Seligmann proclaimed, external pleasures are not the sole basis for happiness. Which is corroborated by the fact that some things can make one person go ecstatic, but are hardly enough to put a shy smile on someone else’s face

It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness. (Charles Spurgeon)

Can one be always happy? What does it take to reach such a state of constant happiness – and more importantly, should one always be happy?

Is it really something one should strive for? Would constant happiness not steadily raise the bar to stay happy?

Some days are just bad days, that’s all. You have to experience sadness to know happiness, and I remind myself that not every day is going to be a good day, that’s just the way it is! (Sita Von Teese)

In summary, the very fact of being temporarily unhappy or stressed leads to subsequent happiness. Hence, being unhappy is probably a pre-requisite for happiness, and constant happiness is not an admirable state…

I’d like to hear what you think about happiness – share your thoughts in the comments below. And don’t forget to remain happy 😊