The Happiness Series:
Part I – What is Happiness?
BSc, MSc, DipAdvHyp
Humanity is gripped by the pursuit of happiness. We all wish for a happy ending to the stories we tell ourselves, one where our favourite characters live happily ever after. To those going through difficult times, we say, “don’t worry, be happy”. We wish each other a Happy Birthday, a Happy New Year, and a Happy Christmas. We all love a good happy hour. In moments of conflict, we try to find a happy medium. We play happy families. We admire the happy-go-lucky. We all want a happy life because a happy life is the only life worth living.
Whether we realise it or not, the desire for happiness is a significant aspect of the human condition. It is a desire that often defines us, compels us, inspires us and drives us. We are all of us gripped by the tumultuous striving to experience a momentary glimpse of that wonderful yet frustratingly complicated and often fleeting feeling of happiness.
The Burning Question…
Yet despite the importance we place upon the pursuit of happiness, why are so many people unhappy?
I believe that the answer to this question is not due to misplaced desire. After all, there is nothing wrong with wanting to be happy.
Instead, I believe the answer to the question of why so many people are unhappy is due to a misunderstanding of how true happiness can be achieved.
In this new blog series, I untangle the many complexities and mysteries that cloud, distort and confuse the subject of happiness to discover: 1) what happiness is, 2) why so many people are unhappy, and 3) how true happiness can be achieved.
I hope that this new blog series will serve as a useful and empowering guide for you to not only understand how your mind works but to learn how to cultivate enduring, stable and profound happiness in your life.
What is Happiness?
In this first part of my new Happiness blog series, we will begin to explore the question of what happiness is.
Though happiness remains elusive for many, most people have experienced some form of happiness at some stage in their lives, and so most people know what happiness feels like.
However, if we are to consider a more precise definition, we might define happiness as a pleasurable emotional state that commonly involves positive feelings of contentment, satisfaction and joy.
Though happiness is usually considered to be a unitary emotional state, there are actually two forms of happiness: transient happiness and enduring happiness.
Transient happiness is a form of short-term happiness. It originates from specific events, circumstances and situations that happen outside of yourself in the world around you in isolated moments in time. Examples could be winning a sporting event, succeeding at a difficult task, or successfully asking someone you are attracted to out on a date.
The experience of transient happiness is dependent upon the event, circumstance or situation to which it is linked. Thus, once the event, circumstance or situation ends, the feeling of transient happiness will also end. Thus, transient happiness is somewhat unstable, unpredictable, and difficult to control. It lacks depth and exists on a more superficial level, often easily giving way to other more intense emotional states.
Enduring happiness is experienced across a longer period of time and arises from a positive appraisal of one’s life in general. For example, feeling as though you are content with your life, loving and respecting yourself as a person, and feeling positive about the future.
Enduring happiness originates from within yourself in your inner thoughts, reflections and introspections. It is not linked to specific events or circumstances, as in the case of transient happiness, but instead arises from a general appraisal of your life and how you feel about yourself.
Enduring happiness is thus more stable than transient happiness, is more resistant to change, and lasts for much longer periods of time. It is a very deep and profound feeling with very strong foundations. Enduringly happy people can experience a whole range of other intense emotional states without their experience of happiness fading or being negatively impacted.
Transient vs Enduring Happiness
Why is this distinction between transient and enduring happiness important? Well, firstly, it is important to understand that not all forms of happiness are the same.
Secondly, it’s important to understand that long-term, deep and meaningful happiness originates from within yourself, and is not solely dependent on anything from the external world. By itself, nothing in the world outside of yourself can make you truly happy for the simple reason that you cannot control what happens outside of yourself. The only thing you can truly control is yourself, including your thoughts, values, beliefs and reflections. To seek out happiness from specific situations, activities or people in the world around you is to deny yourself the spring of happiness that flows from within.
Unfortunately, unhappy people rarely try to cultivate enduring happiness from within themselves. Instead, they often look outside of themselves for things they believe will lead to quick and easy pleasurable feelings, such as drugs, alcohol, junk food and dependent relationships.
What people often struggle to understand is that while happiness is a pleasurable emotional state, not all pleasurable emotional states equal happiness. While drugs, alcohol, junk food and dependant relationships may lead to pleasurable feelings, and even some level of transient happiness, they will never lead to enduring happiness. This is because enduring happiness is a result of something far deeper and more profound.
In Part II of the Happiness Series, we will begin to explore this deeper and more profound aspect of happiness, and I will present you with alternative ways of thinking about precisely what happiness is, and how true happiness can be achieved.
How Hypnotherapy Can Help
The unconscious part of your mind very strongly influences how you think, how you feel and how you behave. Thus, understanding and controlling your unconscious mind is very important if you want to feel true, enduring happiness.
Thankfully, hypnotherapy is a very powerful and very effective way to access, understand and take control of your unconscious mind.
There may be parts of your unconscious mind—such as painful memories or unhealthy emotional associations—that lead to negative patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving, which in turn prevent you from experiencing happiness.
For example, you may have been bullied as a child, and painful unconscious memories linked to that experience might prevent you from having the confidence to be yourself around other people. Or, you might be addicted to junk food, and the negative effect that this addiction has on your energy levels, your health and your physical appearance may prevent you from pursuing activities that you find enjoyable.
Countless other reasons could explain why you are struggling to experience enduring happiness, but whatever the case may be, hypnotherapy can help.
Using hypnotherapy, you can: 1) discover the parts of your unconscious mind that are preventing you from being happy, 2) take control of those parts of your unconscious mind so that they no longer control you, and 3) transform those parts of your unconscious mind so that they lead to true, enduring happiness.
Contact me today to find out more, and take the first step towards nurturing and cultivating true, lasting happiness!