Some people are happy by nature. And some people tend to have lower moods. But why would both types of people want to increase their happiness? Why should you want to increase your happiness?
I think that I don’t have to persuade you to want some happiness in your life. I don’t think anyone needs to be convinced that happiness is great. But I want to give you 3 reasons why you should take your happiness seriously.
1. Happiness feels good
Even though our brains naturally focus on the negative aspects in life, we are designed to seek happiness. And that’s simply because it makes us feel good.
This is the reason why we, people, do almost everything we do. We go to work, we go on vacations, we meet friends for coffee, we go shopping and we get into relationships mostly because we want to be happy. And when we finally experience this great feeling, everything seems to be amazing!
It’s like the Universe is on our side and we are in always in luck. We feel invincible and believe that we can do anything we decide. We feel confident, attractive and we naturally enjoy our lives.
But when we lose our happiness and become depressed, all those things go away. And as we succumb to depression, we lose our self-esteem, we isolate from our friends and family and we feel powerless. The lack of happiness can be so painful to some people that they decide to take their own lives. It’s as if a life devoid of happiness is a burden that cannot be carried for too long. It often seems that when happiness is lost, the meaning of life seems to disappear as well.
This contrast shows us how much we need happiness in our lives and how much it matters! So it should not come as a surprise that we all try to seek happiness in any way we can.
2. Happiness enhances every area of our lives
Happiness does not just feel good, it is also good for us. Many studies have proven that optimism and happiness can have positive effects on anything from our health to our productivity.
Shawn Achor, the author of The Happiness Advantage, believes that the happier we are, the more successful we will be.1
“It turns out that our brains are literally hardwired to perform at their best not when they are negative or even neutral, but when they are positive.”
He says this based on research that involved more than 200 studies that proved happiness can have a positive impact on almost every area of our lives.1 When we are happier, we are usually healthier, we live longer, we have better relationships, we are more creative and more successful at our jobs. 1,3
Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology believes this too. In his book “Authentic Happiness” he states that:
“When we are in a positive mood, people like us better, and friendship, love, and coalitions are more likely to cement. In contrast to the constrictions of negative emotion, our mental set is expansive, tolerant, and creative. We are open to new ideas and new experience.” 2
Seligman also believes that the people who are optimistic (therefore also happier) tend to use up their potential and even to surpass it, while pessimists often fail to make use of their potential.3
If you think that happiness is overrated since good feelings never last, perhaps you want to think about happiness differently. You do not have to seek it just for a temporary lift in spirits. Maybe that seems too shallow for you. But if you want to use your potential and achieve something great in life, it may be a good idea to improve your happiness level since this will give you a powerful advantage!
3. Happiness allows us to create more
Look around you and you will see an amazing world that people have created for us. Every object and technology you use every day was created by someone. They had ideas about what they could make and they worked on those ideas until they materialized.
Unfortunately, most of us never do that. Most people are consumers who use the objects they have, but never create anything new. And that’s a shame. I say this not because everyone should be an entrepreneur or a Steve Jobs. No. I say this because I honestly believe that humans are naturally creative.
We want to create something for the joy of creating something that never existed before. And when we create a good product, we serve other people. We contribute to the world. We create something that can help, guide or inspire other people all over the world. And this gives us meaning and a great deal of happiness. But we can do this optimally only when we are optimistic, hopeful and happy.
“Positive emotions flood our brains with dopamine and serotonin, chemicals that not only make us feel good, but dial up the learning centers of our brains to higher levels. They help us organize new information, keep that information in the brain longer, and retrieve it faster later on. And they enable us to make and sustain more neural connections, which allows us to think more quickly and creatively, become more skilled at complex analysis and problem solving, and see and invent new ways of doing things.” 1 Shawn Achor
We may be tempted to think that we can achieve just as much by doing the same things even if we do not feel happy. And while it may be true that we can use our will to keep working even if we are in a bad mood, the way we do this is different. When we are happy, we also tend to be more hopeful about our projects and more confident about our abilities. We often work harder and persevere more just because we feel better and more hopeful. And this can have a big impact on the entire process and the results of our work.
“Optimism is invaluable to the meaningful life.”3
So I would say that if you want to create something, if you want to contribute to the world or carry out a mission, also focus on your own happiness. It will make your work much more enjoyable and quite possibly better and more inspiring!
You probably knew that happiness is desirable even before reading this article. But now you also know why happiness is good for you and how much it can improve your life. So if you were not too focused on your happiness before reading this, I hope that you will take it more seriously now.
Try to work on your happiness not just to feel better, but to live better!
One of the reasons why I want to help people become happier
is because I know this can make a really big difference. And if happiness can help people discover their potential and contribute to the world more, then I want to help people become happier!
One of the ways I do this is through my book Happy by Choice.
It helps people limit the negativity in their lives and increase the positivity they experience. And if you need to learn how to do that, I’d love for you to start reading my book and applying the techniques in it. You deserve to be happier and you can learn how to do that!
- “The Happiness Advantage” – Shawn Achor
- “Authentic Happiness” – Martin Seligman
- “Learned Optimism” – Martin Seligman