Happiness is an emotional state characterized by emotions of joy, fullness, satisfaction, and contentment.
While happiness can be defined in a variety of ways, it is frequently stated as involving positive emotions and life satisfaction.
When most people talk about happiness, they may be referring to how they feel in the present moment or to a more broad sense of how they feel about life in general.
According to a Harvard professor, “winning a $20 million lottery will not make you happier in life.”
What brings us joy in life? It appears to be a simple question, but we find ourselves asking it on a daily basis.
There are various plausible explanations on where happiness comes from. One of the most contentious ideas is that having more money leads to happiness.
Dr. Sanjiv Chopra, a Harvard Medical School professor of medicine, disagrees.
“Winning a $20 million lottery ticket isn’t going to make you happy. According to studies, lottery winners return to their baseline after a year. “Some are even less happy,” he added earlier this year in a TED Talk.
“A few may have spent their money on a large estate or a flashy car.” Perhaps they blew it all on gambling. But, at the end of three months, it’s simply a house and a great automobile. “You get used to it,” adds Chopra, author of several books on the subject.
He coined the term “hedonic adaptation” to describe people’s overall inclination to return to a predetermined level of enjoyment despite life’s ups and downs.
Chopra presents the four factors that have been scientifically related to happiness in his talk:
Family and friends
It is critical for our overall well-being to form close bonds with people we trust and confide in. Chopra advises, “Choose your friends wisely and enjoy everything little and good with them.”
Many others have emphasized the value of deep and lasting relationships.
In a 2017 Harvard Business Review article, former US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy remarked, “The world is suffering from an epidemic of loneliness.” “We will continue to break apart — in the workplace and in society — unless we can rebuild strong, true social relationships.”
Researchers also stated that “loneliness and social isolation can be as harmful to one’s health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day,” but friendships can “lower the chance of mortality or the development of certain diseases, as well as expedite recovery in those who become ill.”
“The ability to forgive liberates you from the shackles of hatred and other undesirable emotions that might lower your happiness quotient,” Chopra explains.
Nelson Mandela, he says, is a hero who learned the art of forgiveness. When the famed freedom fighter was released from prison in 1990, he was asked if he felt any anger toward his captors.
“I’m not bitter, and I’m not resentful.” Mandela said, “Resentment is like drinking poison and praying it kills your adversaries.”
Anyone who has ever felt wronged (which is most likely each and every one of us) understands how difficult it is to forgive.
Karen Swartz, director of The Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Mood Disorders Adult Consultation Clinic, argues that “making a conscious decision to let go of bad sensations whether the individual merits it or not” might result in more than just enhanced happiness.
It can also lessen the risk of heart attack, improve cholesterol levels, and reduce blood pressure, anxiety, sadness, and stress, according to studies.
Getting active with charity and contributing money to help others, according to Chopra, is one of the most gratifying ways to spend your time and money. Volunteering has even been linked to increased satisfaction, self-esteem, and a lower mortality rate, according to studies.
Giving, rather than getting, contributes to long-term happiness, according to a study from the University of Chicago and Northwestern University.
In one study, 96 people were given $5 every day for five days with the option of spending it on themselves or others.
The researchers noted, “Everyone started out with identical levels of self-reported satisfaction.” “Those who spent money on themselves reported a continuous fall in happiness over the course of five days.” Happiness, on the other hand, did not appear to wane for individuals who contributed their money to someone else.”
“A fantastic anonymous adage says, ‘If you don’t know the language of appreciation, you’ll never be on speaking terms with happiness,'” Chopra tells the crowd.
Simply stating “I’m glad” at least once a day might help you practice gratitude.
In fact, one American Psychological Association study discovered that doing so can help people relish great experiences, cope with stressful situations, and deepen relationships.
“Looking on what you’re grateful for makes you more aware of the good things in your life,” Chopra adds. As a result, “the less unpleasant things in your life make you less biased.”