What Makes You Happy?

Nothing can beat a good meal with friends or a hot summer’s day spent relaxing and reading at the beach to make me happy. Sure I wouldn’t mind more money in the bank, longer legs and maybe owning a holiday house in the Bahamas, but it doesn’t mean I can’t be happy with less that.

In fact, new findings suggest that happiness is more about life choices rather than genetic factors, prioritising success and material goals. A recent 25-year psychological study, as reported by news.com.au, has contradicted previous theories that long-term adult happiness mainly depends on genetic factors or childhood influences.

Think about it. What if you got twice the salary you’re on now but had no time off to actually enjoy life? What if you had the most desirable, genetically blessed body but no one to turn to when the chips are down?

“…new findings suggest that happiness is more about life choices rather than genetic factors”

Happiness, I believe, is not as elusive as many of us make it out to be. Heck, I get a high on eating my favourite pumpkin seed toast with strawberry jam for breakfast. According to author and happiness expert, Dr Robert Holden, living in the “not now” is a chief cause of unhappiness.

“When you miss out on the present,” he says, “you miss out on so much. No now; no life. The more present you are in each moment, the more happiness you will find. Happiness is where you are.”

But what if you don’t like where you are right now? Gratitude, Holden says, is the shortest shortcut to happiness. “The more grateful you are, the happier you will feel. It is impossible to be grateful and depressed. Gratitude is a deep spiritual realisation that you are created perfectly, and that everything you have ever wanted – love, joy, peace – is already yours.”

What do you think? What makes you happy? Why does happiness seem like a search for many of us?

Christine Dominguez is the Media Coordinator for Hay House Australia with an interest in health, wellbeing, psychology and metaphysics.

7 Responses to “What Makes You Happy?”
  1. Firstly, I want some of that pumpkin seed toast with jam. YUM! I also get ridiculously happy when I eat something I just love. For me, it’s a medium rare piece of atlantic salmon with a heap of avocado and fresh salad. MMMMMMMMM!

    I totally agree. Happiness is not a genetic factor unless you allow it to be. I was born into a family that was very negative about most things. I don’t remember being that happy growing up except for when I would go to bed early every night just so I could visualise a different life. As it turns out, the upbringing I had and my parents were so perfect for my life purpose and I am so grateful to them. Over the past 5 or so years however I have discovered true happiness and it has not depending on money or material things. Although money would enhance my happiness, my happiness is not based on it.

    What makes me happy is just ‘being’. When I just ‘be’, I remember who I really am, I remember to be present and I give full attention to those around me. The beauty of this is that I am noticing it makes those around me happy also. I just love that!

    I believe happiness seems like such a search for people because no one ever taught them young that happiness is a choice. So many generations have watched their parents search for something that was right under their nose the whole time. It is only now that the greater consciousness is beginning to realise that there is nothing mysterious about happiness. It is always with us, just waiting to be picked out of the crowd….

    • hayhouseoz says:

      Haha, yes food can certainly lift your mood! I even heard once that having ice-cream makes us happier as it takes us back into the simple days of childhood… anyway, enough on food!

      That insightful how you see your upbringing as being the perfect experience to enable you to live your life purpose. It definitely illustrates that everything works out perfectly even if we don’t know it at the time of hardship and struggle. Love your continual feedback and support Wendy. Christine x

  2. Katren Gardner says:

    Happiness – well for many people they run their lives seemingly happy and content with all they are, do and have and no absolutely no difference.

    How can you know if you are happy if you have never been unhappy? Pretty hard to answer but for many of us we did not have the “happy childhood” – certainly my mother despised me, treated me with emotional, verbal and physical abuse – at that stage did I know any better – no. That was the way life was and as a child I didn’t question it.

    People ask which of your life would you want to go back to? Huh, I’m here now and in the best of places and if it weren’t for the past I would not be the person I am now. Thanks for that troubled and unhappy past which included fibromyalgia since I was a child, motor vehicle accidents which I survived and KNOW that I was being cared for by my angels; thanks for the realisation that my relationships were not as they should have been and so I walked away – not without a lot of consideration and thought – for I was not prepared to compromise who I was for someone else’s “happiness”. No, it was not easy because it hurt and also because it unwittingly hurt the other person and we don’t do that without caring.

    I have two children (30 & 28 nowadays) and I have loved them totally unconditionally and watched them grow up into great people sorting out their lives, work and travel and also their “playtime” – a great reason for happiness for me and I feel for my mother because she lost out on knowing such a wonderful daughter and missed so much in the sharing and caring and laughter of such a wondrous relationship – thank you Universe for giving me such a great toolkit of my own – the ability to love unconditionally, strength to keep on going and work through problems, the guts and determination to keep on keeping on, and and thanks to my angels who I know have been with me every step of the way – particularly my beautiful blue blonde angel who sits on the bed with me or is just there watching and smiling with me – that’s a great source of happiness for me knowing that I am loved and looked after – smiles shared together.

    Some would think that marriage makes them happy – well sometimes it doesn’t and so I chose to be alone – ten years of getting to know me, but I wrote a letter to the Universe and asked for exactly what I wanted for my life and in a partner if I were to enter a relationship again – no more compromising myself – I knew what I wanted and more particularly what I deserved.

    Two years ago I had an accident at work which ended up in my having to have back surgery and magically a couple of months after the accident I met one of my customers (I was a telemarketer for 7 years with RSPCA)
    and he sounded particularly upset so I talked with him and we talked for a while and then decided to meet.
    Thank you Universe an unconditional loving and caring man. Just after we met I had a bad bout of fibromyalgia pain and asked him to leave me alone and go home – he refused. He wanted to look after me.
    What was this?? No on ever cared about this before or looked after me and after that day of pain I have had no pain from fibromyalgia – unconditional love that’s what I needed. Boy was I HAPPY to have that gone never to return.

    He looked after me and cared for me during the most exquisite pain I have ever been through with my back after the fall, took me to appointments, handed out the painkillers, held me, cooked for me and when the time came for back surgery came with me and stayed (he even has empathy pain and had to be sedated whilst I was being operated on). WOW two weeks after the operation no pain – I mean no pain – how amazing and no need to take brain numbing medications – thanks Archangel Raphael and my late father who was a doctor – they were in the theatre with the surgeon making sure he did a great job and they did. HAPPY oh yes, and I am extremely grateful for the assistance and persistence of my universal friends to keep me on the right path.

    Had I not suffered I would not know what happiness is – happiness is waking each morning and saying thankyou for another blessed day – happiness is seeing my kids doing so well and sharing time with them – happiness is being equal giver/taker in a relationship I would have never have dreamt of – happiness is giving love to all who surround me and receiving it in return – happinesss is a blue sky, butterflies, the sound of the ocean, happiness is the ability to recognise the contentment and peace and relax and be just me with my gorgeous man – happiness is being able to share, hug, care, cook for, listen to and smile with others even if we don’t know them. Its very contagious when you smile from your heart and the happiness spreads from you to them and then onwards from them to others – happiness is knowing that I am in the here and now and will always be looked after by my angelic team – there is nothing too big or too fearful because we can turn it around into what – happiness. Happiness is all around us – in the times we are by ourselves – hey we can read our books, work with the spiritual, be content and happy to have “me time”.

    HAPPINESS is a gift you give yourself and say thankyou and live in gratitude that you are blessed to be here and feel the bubbles of joy – outside entertainment might be fun but really the happiness bubble starts inside each of us and we have the free will and power to turn on that sunshine in our heart and switch the happiness button to high.

    Love and light, may you find your happiness and contentment, and enjoy your journey without looking back and wishing you could change the past – put a smile on you dial and keep it there, if it wanders bring it back to your face from your smiling, contented, happy heart.

    Katren xoxoxoxo

    • hayhouseoz says:

      Very poetic Katren! I think it’s easy to forget that happiness is a blue sky, butterflies, the sound of the ocean, a hug, a smile… thank you for sharing. Christine x

  3. Ornella says:

    Happiness, well that’s a fully loaded expectation! I feel that having pocessions could be great if you are already at a place of Happiness if not well the pocessions won’t get you there.Happiness is always expected to be made by someone else “he or she doesn’t make me happy anymore” well that’s a load of crap! If you expect others to make you happy you are setting yourself up for disappointment! Don’t get me wrong others can make you happy but don’t expect it. We make our own Happiness and when you can do that for yourself that’s the only Happiness that is the most satisfying! I myself learnt a huge lesson about six years ago! I wondered why I was always so outgoing & positive, well Iade myself that way. And when I expected someone else to be those things for me I was disappointed. Well I pointed the finger to everyone else but myself. Then I realized I have been responsible for how I feel & it doesn’t change now! So realizing that has also made me aware that as much as we have to do the work for ourselves others have to do the work for themselves as well. Wecan love eachother and have fun and Happiness but the true Happiness comes from within. Well atleast the Happiness that lasts. Thanks for the opportunity to express this! Ornella~

    • hayhouseoz says:

      Wow, thanks for sharing Ornella! That’s true wisdom loud and clear! Totally agree – once we believe that happiness is inside of us we don’t feel the need to get to happiness or search for it. Love your work. Christine x

  4. Wendy Harrison - Angel Intuitive, Reiki Master, Health Practitoner says:

    The notion of ‘happiness’ is complex! From my experience – happiness appears in two states – transitory and long-term. Transitory happiness is chemically driven. Happiness becomes the by-product of another experience (receiving a gift, buying a new ‘toy’, indulging in a favorite activity) which brings us pleasure at that moment in time. Transitory happiness certainly has a place in our lives – but the ‘feel-good’ result of this happiness only lasts as long as we focus on it. All too soon, the memory of the moment is lost, and the search for ‘happiness’ continues!

    Happiness should not be a ‘quest’ in life; it should be a way of life, a heart filled with peace. So why does the concept of ‘happiness’ concern me?

    In today’s culture there is a strong emphasis placed on ‘being happy’ and if you don’t fit this criteria, you are labeled as ‘depressed’. The drive to be ‘happy’ is on…without real exploration undertaken to discover what ‘happiness’ means to each individual and whether the happiness they can describe is of a transitory or long-term nature. Do we have the power to choose to be happy or unhappy? Is our state of happiness as simple as the choices we make in our everyday life? Self-deception and happiness; we can deceive ourselves into thinking we’re happy when we’re not and we can be happy without realizing it.

    Is all happiness created equal? My younger son (Mr 21) was born with significant life challenges to face. When describing my son – I have always pondered why I choose to describe his life as ‘one of not knowing true happiness’. The pediatricians were ‘happy’ when I followed their advice/diagnosis. They became un-happy if I challenged their views based on a thought, feeling or idea I might have. Family and friends were ‘happy’ for me when my assertiveness paid off and I secured funding for therapy programs, speech pathologists, integration assistance. Their ‘happiness’ short-lived when no miracle cure emerged for what ‘ailed’ my son at an emotional level.

    At age 10 – my son simply said – ‘I don’t want to do this anymore’ and I chose to respect his wishes – despite at that moment feeling like the world’s biggest failure as a parent! My son first expressed his desire to die at 11yrs old. How could I feel ‘happy’ about that! I renewed my focus on dealing with his ‘mental health issues’…medications, therapies, behavioral modification. My son is now 21 – his self-harm has escalated over the past few years – but I support his current choice to come off all his mediations. As he has simply stated – with or without medications he doesn’t feel ‘happy’. With or without medication he still self- harms. With or without medication he still has severe pain. What is happiness?

    I hear my son’s laughter and my heart lifts and I am immediately ‘happy’, perhaps this is the turning point in our life I’ve been waiting for? This happiness may only be transitory (he’s watching a funny movie) but in that moment I’m euphoric, not prepared for the emotional pain and anguish when life returns to ‘normal’ and I acknowledge the fleeting happiness was not long-term.

    Happiness is not a single all encompassing concept. I want to emphasize how complex the notion of happiness is while most people think of it in a very simplistic way. Self-actualization is important to happiness. Self-actualization seems to support the idea that happiness is the good life, reaching one’s potentials.

    I’ve been asked, ‘Would I change the way I have done things in my life?’ For the most, my answer is a resounding NO! The challenges in my life have brought a balance of emotion enabling me to be grateful for the life I’ve been given.

    There is only 1 thing I wish I had approached differently in my life, and that was my goal to make my son ‘happy’ by giving him opportunities to become what society judged – ‘more normal’. My youngest son is an amazing young man – he is resilient, smart, handsome, intriguing, creative and soulful. I now draw long-tern happiness from the knowledge I am supporting his choices in life, and where-ever those choices may lead him – I am happy that he has been empowered to make his choices based on his view of happiness/unhappiness.

    My heart is filled with peace. At times I may focus so closely on the details of my life that it’s almost as if I’m peering through a magnifying glass. If I lose sight of the bigger picture, my activities and responsibilities could take on an uncomfortable intensity. The peace I desire, however, is never out of reach. I recognize that divine love supports me throughout the day. As I attune myself to this love, all worry is alleviated.

    *Now that is true long-lasting happiness!*

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