One of the first tips I picked up about blogging was to google your prospective topic to see what’s out there. So, today I googled: “How to be happy.” Do you know what comes up? – Lists! And I thought: Ooooh buddy, if happiness could be achieved by completing a magical list of items, wouldn’t everyone be happy!?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to knock these lists. I really think that some of the tips they provide could be beneficial and helpful. But are “8 new habits” really going to actually make you happier? … or just feel happier? Is there a difference?
Arthur Dobrin, author of The Lost Art of Happiness states that feeling happy is not the same as being happy. He goes on to say that being happy isn’t as simple as doing things that evoke feelings of happiness because “there are things that make you feel happy but may lead to a state of unhappiness.”
So, apparently there is a difference.
Psychologists have found “happy” or “happiness” to be a bit too broad, and instead use the term “subjective well-being.” Kendra Cherry, an author and educational consultant, looked into this a bit more and summarized it in a way that really makes sense to me. She says that the two key components of happiness (or subjective well-being) are: the balance of emotions and life satisfaction.
There ya go! With my little bit of internet research, I’ve narrowed the plethora of lists promising the secrets of how to be happy down to two things. You’re welcome, problem solved. Happiness for everyone!
All you need to do is just balance your emotions and be satisfied with life! Ta-da!
Okay, okay. I know that the idea of balancing emotions (pleasant and unpleasant feelings) and gaining life satisfaction (often related to various areas of our lives: relationships, work, etc.) doesn’t feel as easy as checking off various happiness tactic boxes like yoga, meditation, getting enough sleep, breathing deeply, etc.
But what if it actually worked!? It makes sense that a fulfilling (and happy) life is a complex beast. And there are folks out there who are dedicated to helping people do that deep work! If you are tired of checking things off lists without feeling happier, maybe it’s worth looking into balancing emotions and seeking life satisfaction. The folks at How of Happy are dedicated to creating a fulfilling human journey for all by teaching self awareness and how to create your ideal life.
Melissa is How of Happy’s Chief Chaos Interpreter. The interpretation of that title can be left up to you, but Melissa can be found doing a little bit of everything at work, and out in the world! She currently lives in the mountains of North Carolina, and considers herself a serial hobbyist. With a background in education, she is passionate about learning and growth, as well as supporting humans. She often finds her flavor of happy with a swirl of nature, adventure, introspection, and stillness.