Plato, Aristotle and even Freud studied. The Dali Lama has written a book on the subject. Everyone wants it but how do we know if we have it? If the purpose of life is in fact the pursuit of as most philosophers, psychologists and behavioral specialists agree then why is it so hard to define?
Happiness is a word that is used to define an experience. There lies part of the problem since no two people will have exactly the same experience of an event. No two experiences are alike since no two people are alike. Is being happy about how your life is going right now the same as feeling happy while watching kittens play? Or when you tell someone you are happy for them, are you actually feeling? Maybe or maybe not.
For myself I have found happiness in many different ways. When I began studying hypnosis and meditation I found an increased ability to have more positive feelings. It became easier to push away self doubt and fear and move forward. I find these techniques to be instumental in helping my clients find more happiness however they define it.
I have been working with a lady to lose weight. She has lost about 55 lbs in the last 7 months. When we discuss her experience she tells me that she likes the hypnosis not because I make her eat differently, but instead she said that what ever I am saying in the hypnosis process makes her feel happy and when she feels happy she doesn’t feel like eating too much or stuffing herself with carbs. She just feels good and no longer needs to eat to feel better. In her case happiness is the cause and not the result of losing weight.
For some being happy might be having finacial freedom, to someone else it might mean having a love relationship or helping others. Until you know what it is for you it is hard to define what it is exactly.
I have many clients who have the if-then disease. They tell me that if they can lose 50 pounds or win the lottery then they will be happy. The problem is that even when they get the thing they think will make them happy it doesn’t.
So how can we be sure of the meaning of happiness and can we have the “state” if we can’t define it?