What does it mean to be happy?
Happiness is a sense of joy and fulfillment, a feeling of positive and pleasant. It’s the state when you feel pleasure and satisfaction feeling within you because something that happened has fulfilled some of your senses.
According to the Collins dictionary, the literal meaning of happy is: feeling, showing, expressing joy or pleased. And according to the Oxford dictionary, happiness means the state of feeling or showing pleasure; the state of being satisfied that something is good or right.
So, “the happiness” that we feel is a result of something. And there is a cause behind the feeling.
For example, you feel happy when you got a new job that you’ve been wanting. Or, you’re happy because you’re getting married. Another time you feel happy because you found out that you’re pregnant with your first baby. Or, you can be happy for a simple thing like your husband saves you from cooking dinner by taking you out for a meal 😊. And so on.
“Happiness is when something we want, we need, we like or we desire comes into existence. It’s the fulfillment of some of our senses”
Therefore, if you ask someone to define the meaning of happiness for them, you’ll get various answers that can be completely different from one to another.
What do we need to do to be happy?
We have to do, find, create, look, sense, feel, taste, see, or hear something that can please some if not all of our senses. Something that fulfills those senses and makes us smile or laugh. Positive.
For me, some of the ways to be happy are:
- Gratitude (being grateful for the good and bad)
- Accept everything that happens
- Presence. Being present in mind and body at any circumstances.
- Respect (self and others)
- Persistence and hard work
Everybody will have their preferences and views about the keys to happiness.
But If we take away the thing that caused happiness or change its nature, or something happened and disturbed the other senses, do you think you’ll still feel happy?
You will not be happy. Amirite?
Say, will you still be happy if you didn’t get the job despite your efforts to prepare yourself to nail down the test and interview? Or worse, you initially got a job, but then the company canceled their recruitment due to unforeseen circumstances? This happened to me, and it sucked.
When I relocated to the UK, I was a happy new bride and quite excited about the prospect of starting my new life. I knew long before the wedding that moving thousands of miles away from family and friends can be tough. But, I didn’t know how tough it would be. Especially when I tried to settle in my new environment which is different from where I was. And knowing nobody else apart from my husband was not easy. For weeks I felt homesick. This disturbed my happiness as a newlywed bride.
In this case, if I was not happy, was it okay for me to be sad and stressed? But when I let myself grieve and feel sad, does it mean that I don’t have a happy new life? Does it mean that I fail myself to achieve the common norm of life goal which is to be happy?
So, in this situation, obviously, I was not in a state of happiness. I felt sadness, sorrow, and stress. And all I wanted to do was just crying. Even though I might say positive things through my lips.
If we’re not happy what should we do?
1. Embrace your problems: recognize and acknowledge
First of all, you should recognize and acknowledge your problems. Don’t brush things under the carpet too much. It’s no good.
When the first time I realized that I felt homesick, I was initially feeling helpless and quite depressed actually. Because I’m an introvert anyway. So I’m quite reserved and like keeping things to myself. Especially when I think there’s no point in telling them to others.
So, feeling homesick was and has been something that I don’t tell anybody.
My argument is, I don’t want to create guilt for the people around me i.e. husband, and I don’t want to cause worries to my family and friends across the sea. That’s why I like to keep quiet about it.
I still remember those days when I used to sit in front of the TV and watch it mindlessly as my husband was at work. Feeling homesick, lonely and helpless. I used to cry and sob for hours.
But, I thank God who helped me.
I began recognizing and accepting my problems. Acknowledging the fact that not only I didn’t know many people and the area I moved, I also didn’t have a job or any structured routine. Also understanding and accepting every aspect involved in the life change that I had.
Because, relocation to a new place, especially due to a marriage/relationship like I did is essentially a massive life change. Being unfamiliar with the place, knowing hardly anybody, no structured activities such as work/ job that leaves you with plenty of idle time, and also financial limits due to having no own income are only some of the lifestyle changes that became the reasons for my homesickness.
So when I recognized my problems and acknowledged them, I gained control not to grieve too much. Yes, I still felt sad and cried a lot. But I managed to feel positive once I let the cry out.
When I felt positivity, I became optimistic again about my new life. And not only I managed to overcome my homesickness, but I was also able to see opportunities and ways to settle down in my new home.
(Note: I still do feel homesick from time to time even until now after 14+ years. No matter how well we’ve settled down in our new life, we do miss our old happy life sometimes. Therefore I always go back to my 15 tips of dealing with homesickness now and again)
2. Accept the fact and situation you are in
As much as we want to deny, it’s best to accept that ‘Yes we have problems’. Or ‘Yes we’re having life shit at the moment’. And ‘Yes there’s something to grieve and stress about’. It’s okay to feel this way.
Just admit the issue. Accept the problem. Embrace the low-life you face.
Don’t be one of those who try to deny the problems they have. Or even worse, try to belittle the issue by thinking that it’s not a problem and make any excuses to not think of it as a problem.
Because a problem is a problem. Everybody has it. It’s just in a different form and color.
3. Self-love and self-care
The next thing you want to do after you accepted your shitty situation is to do self-TLC. Because it’s so easy to blame ourselves for whatever problems we’re having. This self-blame can cause unconscious self-hate.
So instead, you should start appreciating yourself.
Write a letter to yourself. It’s quite good to release everything that blocks your mind. I would also write self-encouragement, the lessons that I can derive from the problems, and the possible next steps to deal with the problems.
Tell yourself about your self-worth and self-value. Every one of us has plus points. Although we forget them most of the time.
Then you want to do something to pamper yourself and relax. Everybody has own way of relaxation. You choose.
It doesn’t have to be big things that cause you a lot of money such as a holiday in the Caribbean or a two-day spa in a 5-star spa hotel. As long as it’s a positive thing, and you enjoy it, you’re good.
It can be as simple as starting to jog or walking exercise every morning, or DIY facial skin care at home. It can also be reading a book as you listen to your kinda music. Or perhaps watching Netflix with a big bowl of homemade popcorn. Just anything you like.
4. Prayers and meditation
You should feel a bit better now. The next thing you want to do is pray or meditate. Say your best prayers according to your belief. Or do meditation in the way you’re comfortable with.
But do pray/meditate with mindfulness.
Clear your mind. Focus on doing it. Feel the energy in your body. Sense your circulation from head to toe.
Intentional prayer/ meditation will bring peace somehow. Trust me.
5. Try to see the positive side of your problem
Then when you’re feeling a bit chilled and relaxed, you will be able to see the positive side of your problem.
Everything happens for a reason.
It’s up to us whether we choose the reason to be positive or negative. If we let negative thoughts dwell in our minds, then we will only see negative reasons. But, if we try to be positive, then we can see the reason as a positive thing for us.
Although it may take a while for us to understand why certain things happen, they happen for a reason.
I truly wish you to be happy at all times. Do share with me in the comment below if you have any other tips on how to be happy and what to do when you’re not happy.
All the best.