Happiness, Dissected

Posted: February 10, 2014 in Music Culture, Music Industry
Tags: , ,

The term “happiness” seems to be quite the trend these days. TED Talks try and teach us, self-helpers try and educate us, and the media all try to convince us that happiness is just around the corner. But let’s be honest here: what exactly is happiness? Is it wealth? Is it love? Is it your dream job? Is it success? And how do you know when you really are happy? Do you smile? Laugh? Give? Before we can be happy, we need to understand happiness (besides it being the  secretion of the “right” hormones,  when you exercise.) Here’s my take.

Happiness is a place. It’s defined as a state of mind, where you feel intense joy. So how do you get there? Think about what gives you intense joy. Think about where you’re in the best mood. Think about where you are most at ease. That’s where you need to keep taking your mind. Yes, I said your mind. It can be reading a book, cooking, photography, crossword puzzles, whatever. The key is to identify that place, and make it part of your life (which shouldn’t be too difficult, because it’s easy to make time for things that make you feel that good.)

Happiness is personal. You cannot put the onus of your own happiness on someone else. Couples who say they need each other, cannot live without each other, have it all wrong. You should not need people in your life, but want them there instead. Divorce is as common as marriage these days, because people change, they come and go. Therefore the quality of your happiness does too, if it’s in their hands. Your happiness shouldn’t depend on anyone else.

Happiness is on the inside. I’m sure you’ve all heard that cliché before. When self-helpers try and explain this, they say this is achieved by letting go, decreasing the negativity in your life, seeing the good, etc. Sure those practices may help, but they are also very difficult to maintain. How are you supposed to drive your inner happiness if you can’t follow the rules to attain it? Inner happiness is realizing you’re the one in control of it. Only you can both ignite and extinguish it.

Happiness is constant. That doesn’t mean you have to be surrounded by it 24/7, but that you should be able to access it on a regular basis. Temporary happiness is very easily achieved, with drugs, alcohol, even sex. But they are not long-lasting; they are in-the -moment experiences that make you feel better, for just that amount of time (forgetting the potential physical consequences.) Similarly, you can’t rely on the fickle concepts of fame and fortune for your happiness, because they’re never guaranteed. Happiness should exist in more predictable forms, or it will easily disappear.

Happiness is comfort. It’s when you can wear your sweatpants, have a bad hair day, and not care. It’s where you can be the best version of yourself, where you can be the most you. Having that comfort is like having a sense of security. That elusive intense joy, shines right through you, when you are the best version of yourself.

Everyone has bad days, regardless of how optimistic you aim to be. Everyone is going to think negatively. The purpose of happiness is not to eliminate those feelings or distract you from them, but to allow you to deal with them, because they will exist. Happiness is a powerful ally, best used when on your side. For me, music is that happiness.

Everyone’s road to happiness is unique. Call it a passion, call it a hobby, call it “me” time. Whatever best describes all of these concepts, figure out what that is for you (everyone has something.) Then find a way to do it on the regular. The most important aspect is being able to achieve it by yourself.  I’m not saying you’ll be Sunshine Sammy/Sally all the time, but you’ll at the very least feel good a little more often. But if that doesn’t work,  just watch this:

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