What is happiness? There are two kinds – do you know them?

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Everyone wishes for it, but very few claim to really have it: Happiness. Yet it is often only a question of perception.

The master question: What is HAPPINESS?
There are instructions for happiness, some people claim to have it, others wish they had it. But basically, one question must first be answered in order to get to the bottom of the phenomenon: What is happiness?

"Happiness is basically nothing other than the courageous will to live by accepting the conditions of life," is how the French writer Maurice Barrès (1862 – 1923) once defined the term "happiness". In Buthan, happiness was even appointed the most important state goal. Thus, in the 1970s, Buthan's king said, "Gross national happiness is more important than gross domestic product."

What is happiness?
To describe happiness, which can be subjectively influenced and perceived, in a definition as an objective thing is almost impossible. But even in ancient times people tried to grasp "happiness" and its background.

Aristotle, for example, wrote a book dealing with happiness, the "Eudaimonia". In it he wrote: Bliss is "the perfect and self-sufficient good and the ultimate goal of (human) action." Previously, Plato claimed that man can only be happy when the three parts of the human soul, reason, will and desire are in balance.

Today, the general view is that one is "the architect of one's own happiness" and that happiness is the interaction of consciously made decisions and coincidences.

Not all happiness is the same
In today's happiness research, a distinction is made between two types of happiness: happiness in life and happiness by chance.

Happiness in life is influenced by factors such as family, love, career, finances and leisure time. These are aspects that you can partly influence yourself and partly depend on society.

But happiness in life can also be a kind of well-being that gives you a happy feeling. For example, when you really feel at home, have a great circle of friends or live carefree with your family.

Another approach: personality-psychological concepts of happiness describe happiness in life as the "harmonious interaction of all the feelings of a well-organised personality". This means that even if life circumstances (family, work, etc.) change, personal happiness remains relatively unchanged. Happiness in life is thus seen here as a stable personality trait.

Chance happiness, as the name suggests, cannot be influenced. Chance happiness is important throughout life and comes suddenly and unexpectedly. Heinrich Heine wrote the following line about chance luck: "It kisses you quickly and flutters away."

Some luck factors
In general, luck factors influence personal happiness in life. Three of these factors are:

All over the world, people believe that they become happier when their income increases. And there is indeed no denying that money can make some of the worries you have in everyday life disappear into thin air. The rent can be debited, the insurance paid and the fridge filled – consequently, Maslow's bodily and security needs are met. But what remains unsatisfied by money are the social needs. As the saying goes, "You can't buy friends." – and so money alone certainly does not make people happy.

In today's world of work, demands are increasing, and at the same time working conditions are deteriorating. Work generally means security. But in part, giving up security can also mean freedom. Important: Communicate needs honestly to the environment: You only want to work 32 hours a week? Then ask your boss if it's possible. In principle, he can't say more than "no". And quite honestly: Do you want to work in a company that immediately dismisses you for communicating a need? Probably not. But one thing is important: stay fair and realistic!

Personal freedom
Personal freedom is strongly influenced by social obligations, but you don't have to let them steer you. Whether you start a family at 30, build your first house at 35 and buy your second car at 40 is up to you. If you want to turn your hobby into a profession at 45, then do it. If you want to sell your house at 60 and sail around the world in a boat, no one can stop you. Only you determine your life – but all too often we forget that.

Other happiness factors can be the social environment, family conditions and health


Bruce Jacobs

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