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Happiness isn’t Overrated–Our Definition is.

Credit: Is Happiness Overrated?  WSJ

A few weeks ago my mom passed an article to me from the Wall Street Journal called:  Is Happiness Overrated?   There are a lot of books, articles, speakers talking about how happiness is overrated.  Mostly from what I can tell the one thing this messages all have in common is their definition of happiness.

The idea that we can one day experience joy 24/7 have moments of sheer bliss and excitement is in my opinion a myth. The idea isn’t to be utterly blissed out all the time.  The idea is to experience life with as much purpose, awareness and honesty as possible.  I think we hit a snag when we believe that we can maintain the pleasure and joy that comes from achieving a goal, winning a prize, and buying a new house, every day of our lives.

The bottom line, life is challenging, there is death, destruction, tsunamis, nuclear disasters all mixed in with promotions, births, marriages, new jobs and the experience of a really fantastic meal with good friends.

I don’t believe happiness is overrated–I believe our definition of happiness is overrated.  I am not saying we need to start ‘settling’.  Quite the opposite I believe we need to start engaging.  Stop striving for that next taste of happiness and start engaging with what we have now.  Start embracing our lives with curiosity and awareness.  Figuring out our sense of purpose, our reason for being on this planet and going after that full tilt, according to research THAT makes us happy.  But when we are constantly ‘chasing’ the ever allusive happiness, we miss the every day joys of dinner with your nearest and dearest, the greeting of your dog first thing in the morning, the first feel of sunshine through your sunroof in the Spring or simply crawling in to bed at the end of the day.

According to Dr. Diener a professor at the University of Illinois–Happiness comes from a focus on relationship and doing the work that you love!!   Living and Working Happier–embracing the life you have while discovering the life that makes your heart sing–that’s happiness in my book.

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