The Science of Happiness


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Boy (4-6) smiling, close-up

Charlotte Dempsey, Contributor

In a world cluttered with negative emotions, many people are consumed by this energy. Many fail to recognize that there is one thing that can save us all: happiness. The issue for many is that genuine happiness can be nearly impossible to attain. Regardless of your age, the feeling of being happy is essential to all aspects of life. Whether you are a stressed-out student, parent, or grandparent; you must be able to remove toxic negativity from life. Happiness is the key to success.

Many would say that they know what happiness is, but do they really? In order to achieve sincere happiness, it is vital to know how and what it means to be truly happy. Everyone has different definitions of happiness. For some it’s a place, for others it’s a person or activity. There are endless factors that contribute to one’s level of happiness, but there are a few key elements to recognize. Overall, happiness is a combination of how satisfied you are with your life and how good you feel on a day-to-day basis. Deeper than this, happiness is decided by thoughts, actions, behavior, and genetics. Although circumstances do play a role in one’s level of happiness, it is possible to adapt one’s mind to any circumstance.

So, once one knows what happiness is built from, how does one achieve it? The one thing to remember is that happiness is a skill. The same as learning a sport or hobby; it takes practice. It may be harder to attain for some than others. This may be especially challenging for students who are continuously faced with social pressures, academic stresses, and life decisions. Some ideas to keep in mind when striving for happiness are: to maintain relationships, experience new things, help others, and to be grateful. Pay attention to the small details at big events and use all of your senses. Live every moment to the fullest. Share your happiness and dwell on the moment. Make your happy times longer and the sad times shorter. Strive to surround yourself with people to fall back on when you’re not so happy and thank them when you do. Most importantly, don’t overlook the small things. Smile when you walk into school in the morning even if it’s the last place you want to be. Remind yourself that you are getting an education when many people do not have access to one. Wake up early and decide to do something nice for someone else today, even if it’s small. Savor experiences; they make one happier, more grateful and hopeful while at the same time reducing stress, guilt, and depression. This will strengthen the parts of the brain associated with happiness.

So, knowing what happiness is, what isn’t it? Happiness cannot be bought. No amount of money can make a person happy. Happiness is not blocking out the negative things in the world. One must recognize that they are there, but not dwell on them. Feeling happy has no final destination. As a person changes, so does their definition of happiness. It is impossible to move somewhere, be with one person, or win the lottery to make oneself happy. Maintaining this feeling takes continuous work. Three things must be avoided when trying to be happy. These are comparing oneself to others, lack of close relationships, and holding onto resentment. Let go of these ideas in the search to be happy, and anything is possible.

When everything is wrong in life, why should one even try to be happy? It is proven that happy people have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. They also have better immunity to diseases and other illnesses. Happy people have a healthier diet and live longer. Happiness is often a choice, so why not choose it?

Find meaning in life. Choose a fulfilling career, make time for family, study something important, discover a passion, have goals and pursue them. Make time for people who matter. Be grateful. Spend five minutes a day doing something for someone else, have a meaningful conversation, and make memories. Feel every moment. If one can do all of these things, or at least one, it is possible to create a happy life, and therefore, achieve success.