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21 May 2012, 08:34

In our quest for happiness - as a Buddhist monk tried to explain during a meditation evening - we search far and wide, not realising that happiness comes from within. Happiness is abundant and we have the means and ways of being happy.

Certain material things make us happy. But it does not last. We are often disappointed when we manage to attain that something we thought would make us happy and the happiness last only for a short while. Then what?

It is important to define what happiness is for you as individual. There are so many aspects to take into consideration. Lets begin with what are the characteristics of happy people? 

  • In general it has to do with how you feel and regard yourself, your attitude and how you flow with life, in other words self esteem. If you are comfortable about who you are and how you are; your attitude will reflect your state of being. People who can find the good in themselves also look for good in others. If they encounter the dark side of life, they have the wisdom to see it for what it is and move on.
  • They are people who can easily let go of the past whether it is mistakes they have made or experiences they have suffered. They let go and often use those experiences to improve their own life and the lives of others around them. Without polarity we will not know what is good and what is bad.
  • These people are also comfortable with the concept of oneness. We are all connected on some level of being.
  • They are also those people who notice and are grateful for what they have; they work with their talents and strive to develop and grow in many different directions. They love the things they already have.
  • They have multiple passions.
  • They have the wonderful gift of knowing what is good for their bodies, their minds and their souls. They nourish their physical bodies and mental bodies with good food. They stay flexible through movement/exercise. They appreciate beauty and music/creativity and nature.
  • They balance life and find the middle path in everything they do. They priorities and are true to themselves. They are authentic and dependable. People who, when they do something, they do it as best they are able to. They are also mature enough to realise what their limitations are but do not shy away from a reasonable challenge.

Seeking happiness can be counterproductive - striving towards the above objectives can prove to be more rewarding and a sure way to being happy. Whether you are fortunate to have good health or whether you are someone suffering ailments beyond your control, happiness for you as individual is within reach.

What is happiness? According to Wikipedia happiness is defined either as, 1) "... a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy."  or 2) is regarded by Philosophers and religious thinking as - "... often define happiness in terms of living a good life, or flourishing, rather than simply an emotion."

If we combine the above two definitions we are bound to be happy. An emotional state of contentment or happiness is often the consequence of living a good and moral life. It is the development of a positive, optimistic attitude towards life and then living.

Happiness in itself is overrated. For the pure fact that it is transient. Any moment of happiness is just a moment. It is the journey towards happiness that makes happiness a goal worth pursuing. Accomplishing the characteristics of happy people eventually lets you live a life of purpose and allows you to experience a general state of contentment. Happiness that comes from within sends positive messages to all you come into contact with. It is a service to yourself and others when you begin to be the happy person every one wants to associate with. 

There isn't one well paved way towards happiness neither is there instantaneous happiness. That is why it is important that you work at self development by choosing the characteristics of happy people you feel you need to improve. It is no wonder we have so many different self-help books today. What helped one person to become a person operating at full potential and being happy might not be the sole solution for another person. Over time we assimilate all the guidelines and find our own paths. 

Happiness has a lot to do with giving and receiving love, kindness and patience. Living your truth authentically gives you an edge in the game of happiness. Build healthy relationships and enjoy the company of like minded people. Your body is also a very good sensor; pay attention to your feelings and intuition and the little niggles you have from time to time. They are a good barometer of whether you are on the right path. We tend to reason too much and feel to little. 

There are a few pitfalls on the way to happiness. Excess of anything is not recommended. Keep a good balance. No body can make you happy. No possession can make you happy. You are still allowed to feel other emotions; anger/frustration/sadness moves us into action no other emotions are possible to move us.  Once you have experienced these emotions and sorted the situation with your new attitude of "great expectations". Move on. Expecting something better or exciting or new when life gives us a curve ball usually reward us for our optimism. Sometimes the reward is only realised in good time. Patience is a good combination with optimism.

Keep in mind that over a lifetime you change but the basic core of happiness is constant. An open mind and heart is what you need to stay in the normal flow of life and consequently receive the reward it offers.

Happiness is within reach of everyone.

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