Is there a secret to happiness?

Is there a secret to happiness?

Is there a secret to happiness? has been edited by Aashna Kanuga.

Do you ever look at happy people and wonder, what is their secret to happiness? Do they not have issues?

If you’re a human being, I suspect you want to be happy. If you do not, then well, that is another level of screwed up.

But if you fall in line with the “normal”, tell me, what is happiness for you? For me, idealistically, happiness is sitting by the ocean having a beer and listening to Pink Floyd with my friends, and the girl I love. Realistically, happiness at this very moment would be clearing my examinations and choosing a career of my choice.

My versions of happiness may not be yours, but that is just fair, as the stimulus for happiness is highly subjective and thus hard to measure. This brings me to my next question:

What is the definition of happiness?

“Happiness” is not only immeasurable, but it is also difficult to singularly define. You can’t define happiness without using a synonym for happiness. You can’t interpret it to everyone’s satisfaction. The Oxford dictionary defines happiness as “the feeling of being happy”. Well, that must have been hard to figure out.

So if happiness is hard to define, then what? The solution to understanding it is through examination and experimentation. And by that, I mean is through science. When compared with misery, happiness has come out virtually untouched in the study of the social sciences. People have always had an inclination to study the causes for being sad over being happy.

However, over the past decade, the science of happiness has received a fair bit of attention. Obviously, everyone would like to be happier, probably more now than ever. Modern living is depressing. Not a day passes by without hearing about blood spilt across the globe, politicians fighting and accusing each other, your boss swearing at you, your partner cheating on you with a random tinder match.

The progressive nature of humans to distort nature has had some dire consequences for the human mind. Our barely evolved brains are struggling to handle the modern world properly. The process that should have taken countless years to adapt—of the digital environment through the process of evolution—has taken merely decades.

When our brain comes into contact with technology, we are instantly addicted. It wouldn’t surprise me if we fall in love with technology some day. Take for instance the movie ‘Her’. In this movie, a lonely guy falls in love with a voice over the phone. They never meet physically, yet are a vital part of each other’s life. All she is is a voice. Granted the voice is Scarlett Johansson, but still, just a voice.

Contrary to popular belief, the opposite of happiness is not being unhappy, but it is depression. Here is how they are linked:

There is a stigma associated with depression because people mistakenly believe that if you were tough enough, negative feelings would not get you down. The toughest CEOs, Navy SEALs, Harvard professors, sports stars, all have gone through depression. Sometimes, trying to be tough by ignoring emotions backfires and makes us weaker. The key to a good emotional immune system is being aware of your emotions and channelling the energy they provide toward constructive ends.

It was found that roughly 50 percent of our happiness is determined by our genes. 40 percent by our daily activities and the remaining 10 percent by our circumstances. Here is where it gets really interesting: What you choose to do with the 40 percent is, entirely up to you.

What can you do with the 40 percent? Because the possibilities are endless.

I presume you were patiently reading, in the hope I would live up to my end of the bargain by revealing the secret to happiness. But I cannot. I’m sorry. It’s up to you to find out what makes you happy. Whether it is getting that dream job, finding love or picking up a hobby.

Here is the beauty of it, though: it leaves you with a world of unexplored opportunities to “find your mojo” and to truly, if necessary, liberate yourself from the shackles of society and continue on the path of happiness!

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Sanchit Verma

Live my life with one motto: if an opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.