What really is happiness?

Happy International Happiness Day!

We all seek happiness. We see it as fundamental to leading a fulfilled life - at work, at home and with others. But is this an elusive venture?

In order to understand happiness, we must recognise it as a state as diverse as the people on the planet.  For some, time spent with family, by the sea or with a good piece of cake. For others, time spent alone, at work or with a glass of wine on a Friday night. It is different for everyone. But we must also realise that chasing happiness as an end in itself can have the opposite effect.


Perhaps real happiness is a culmination of such comforts but also a by-product of the meaning you create in your life. How do you get there? By letting go of the notion that happiness is an end in itself. If you spend your life chasing this haloed state, you might just miss real happiness pass you by.

Each year on International Happiness Day, the World Happiness Report is published in which countries are ranked based on a number of factors ranging from freedom and generosity to health and income. This year, the Happiness Report will spotlight Happiness and Community as its focus.

While community may act as a helpful framework to defining happiness, it is the endeavour to achieve happiness or live up to aura of expectation that can act as a hurdle in itself. It may be that our desire for a different career, more ‘me-time’ or not achieving our New Year’s resolutions can stand in our way, but happiness is not always about finding your Eat Pray Love moment, nor subscribing to a formula. Undoubtedly there is a plethora of methods to help you find it but like happiness, yours will be unique.

However, there are a few ways that may guide your ship.

Take charge.

Happiness is more often than not a byproduct of the responsibility we assume. Take control of your chances to turn doubt into motivation. This may manifest in the form of caring for a loved one, getting involved in your local community garden, pursuing old and new hobbies or devoting yourself to a project. With luck, the end result in which you have pleased others as well as yourself will be all the more rewarding.


Increase your happiness literacy.

Let go. Recognise that pursuing a haloed image of happiness may lead you down the opposite road. Instead of spending our time reaching for the unknown, can we instead relish in the moment we’re in?


Be realistic.

Happiness need not be englitening or groundbreaking. It need only be a silver lining, or one moment a day or a week that means something to you.

All in all, the familiar slogans - get up and move, follow your dreams - will stick around as a sign we’re still pursuing happiness. But however you find meaning, as Coco Chanel said, “Don’t be like the rest of them darling.”

Or take a look at our seven tips to practice self care! https://www.intangiblegoods.co/blog/7-ways-to-practice-self-care