Can you create your own happiness?
By Ishneet Sodhi, Psychologist
When I was younger, I remember going for summer vacations, solving word searches, playing till late evenings, and seeing traces of crayons on my fingers after completing my coloring book was all that made me happy.
As we grow older, our lives become mazy and our meaning of happiness gets somewhere lost in the complexities. Our logical mind starts searching for meaning in everything which inhibits us from realizing how every little thing can help us to be happy.
Can you remember the last time you were happy? The kind that is all with your heart?
We often believe that happiness comes only on a few occasions, through limited sources or it’s just a stroke of mere luck. The truth is, we can find happiness anywhere, at any time.
Happiness is different for everyone
Happiness, just like all other emotions, is a subjective one. What may look like happiness to me, may not be the same for you. Happiness is a subjective experience and cannot be put into words formally. We know what it is when we feel it.
Happiness comes from within
The need to feel happy is universal, but the experience is not. Happiness, like all other emotions, comes from within each one of us. It is different for everyone.
It is a common misconception that happiness is dependent on things and people outside of our control. Since the feeling of happiness is abstract and personal, it can surely be created by ourselves.
Happiness is a by-product of our environment and our perspective towards it. No matter how positive and encouraging our surroundings are, our negative outlook toward them can change the game.
When external factors such as our occupation, social and personal relationships, and domestic and cultural situations interact with our personality, they create a biological effect too. Dopamine and serotonin levels in our body are responsible for our optimistic mood and satisfaction (Dfarhud et al., 2014).
For example, when you feel pleasure, dopamine levels rise. Simple things like eating your favorite food, chatting with a friend, or laughing at a joke can raise dopamine and raise your mood. Taking time to do pleasurable things is important.
The importance of self-belief
Our thoughts about our environment and all that is happening around us are a bridge between how we feel and react.
Another aspect that makes a significant contribution to our happiness is how we view ourselves. ‘Self-efficacy’ is the ability to believe in our own capabilities. Once we take the power of creating our happiness, there’ll be no looking back.
On a daily basis, we encounter both positive and negative situations and people. It is inevitable to not only experience feelings, but what is essential is how we overcome those feelings. High self-efficacy is positively correlated with happiness and life satisfaction (Zyl & Dhurup, 2018).
You can control how you react
Another crucial element for creating our own happiness is our control over situations. It is noteworthy that the influence we have on the situation plays an important role. When we feel the control of our happiness is with external factors (over which we have little or no governance), we may suffer loss or disappointment.
For instance, I was in need of a new diary and when I went to buy it, I did not get it in my favorite color. So, instead of being happy to finally find a new diary to pen down my poems, I complained about the color. The excitement of using the diary was in my control, but the colors available were not.
We can try instead to place control of how situations can affect us firmly within ourselves. This way makes it more likely that we welcome happiness and minimize disappointment.
Happiness is good for you
Happiness helps us embrace emotional and physical well-being. It has been seen that happiness has a positive impact on our immune systems. Coping with stress and trauma becomes easier when our approach to life is positive.
People who are happy and content with their lives have better social and personal relationships. Life expectancy is also better with a good mood.
Create your own happiness!
Happiness can be found in all the little things around us if we wish to search for it. People, places, and events are not in our control and can never be complete. But, how we react to them can surely be in our control.
Happiness and sorrows are a part of our lives. To carry out a balanced life, we must learn the art of managing our emotions and reactions. If you’re looking for the answer to if we can create our happiness, it is surely a ‘yes’!
Lyubomirsky, S. (2013). The how of happiness: A practical guide to getting the life you want. Piatkus.
Dfarhud, D., Malmir, M., & Khanahmadi, M. (2014, November). Happiness & Health: The biological factors- systematic review article. Iranian journal of public health. Retrieved December 2, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4449495/
Zyl, Y. van, & Dhurup, M. (2018). Self-efficacy and its relationship with satisfaction with life and happiness among university students. Taylor & Francis. Retrieved December 2, 2021, from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14330237.2018.1528760?journalCode=rpia20
The world counts (2013). Retrieved December 2, 2021, from https://www.theworldcounts.com/happiness/the-definition-of-happiness-in-psychology