Happiness is one of the most individual universal feelings or states of being. Everyone wants to be happy; everyone wants happiness in their lives and hearts. For everyone of us, happiness has a different meaning; more than that even, that meaning can change in the course of our lives time and again. What used to make us happy at the age of 15 sure isn’t the same as what makes us happy at 40. And figuring out how to do what makes you happy – thats the great, big mystery.
Today I would like to ask you all for your help. I am trying to figure out what happiness means, trying to figure out if we can create something like a “happiness quotient”, if happiness can somehow be measured. Basically, I need to know what makes you all happy and if / how you actually manage to do those things that make you happy – or if you let time, schedules, responsibilities etc get in the way. What is happiness? Lets have a look:
What Is Happiness?
Most of us probably don’t believe we need a formal definition of happiness; we know it when we feel it, and we often use the term to describe a range of positive emotions, including joy, pride, contentment, and gratitude.
But to understand the causes and effects of happiness, researchers first need to define it. Many of them use the term interchangeably with “subjective well-being,” which they measure by simply asking people to report how satisfied they feel with their own lives and how much positive and negative emotion they’re experiencing. Happiness thus would be measured by the “amount” of positive feelings we experience at a certain moment in time
Where Is Happiness?
The ancient Greeks were among the first to explore the link between the physical body and our emotional responses. They created the concept of the “four humors” – yellow bile, black bile, blood and phlegm – to explain the differences in personalities among humans. All four humors are present in each person; too much or too little of one created an imbalance that formed the notable personality traits in an individual.
Although the effects of phlegm and bile as humors have long since been dismissed as theories, after 2,400 years, the link between the physical and the emotional has come into focus once more. In the 21st century, the field of neuroscience proposes that happiness – like every other emotional experience – is the result of electrochemical reactions in the brain brought on by stimuli.
This revelation is part of the 5 neuroscience revolutions:
- the theories of Copernicus
- Charles Darwin’s theory of Evolution
- the theories and findings of Sigmund Freud
- the discovery of DNA
- Francis Crick’s happiness hypothesis: you, your joys and sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated neurons
Happiness is linked to a reward system in the brain associated with the release of pleasure inducing chemicals, a neurotransmitter / hormone called dopamine; Research has also implicated other hormones, like progesterone, oxytocin and testosterone, in producing other aspects of happiness, like a sense of well-being and connectedness with others.
So – I guess most of us would say when being asked that they feel happiness in their hearts and not their brains. Maybe it is a combination of both?! The concept of happiness is obviously one of the huge cornerstones of neuroscience – the science of the brain; it is also without a doubt a matter of the heart. But the biggest question of all is: What is it for you? What makes you “happy”? How do you define happiness for yourselves? What are the little things that make you feel good? Is happiness a materialistic measure or can it never truly be achieved by materialistic means like money? In other words, can happiness be bought? How in your routines, your hectic and stressful everyday lives do you manage to do what makes you happy?
I am SO MUCH looking forward to your answers! I’d be happy to share thoughts and ideas with you all and I am excited to find out what happiness means for YOU! So please leave a comment and let me / us know? I will certainly get back to you!! Thanks a lot and have a great, happy day –