Happiness is living each day with love, grace, and gratitude. Happiness is an emotional state made of feelings of joy, contentment, satisfaction, and fulfilment.
Experts say that relationships, health, and lifestyle are essential to happiness more than money. Happiness depends heavily on us. Therefore, the surest way to find bliss is accepting that all of our happiness levels are within our control.
Why are You Unhappy?
Happiness is a choice. Happiness, just like unhappiness, is caused by patterns in our life: behavioral patterns of how we do the things we do and cognitive patterns of the things we think about.
Everyone has experienced episodes of sadness and unhappiness. Here are a few reasons that cause unhappiness and how to let the sunshine back in:
- Staying indoors
The shelter is our primary need. But staying indoors for long could be a top cause of unhappiness and fuels anxiety insomnia by missing a lot of sunlight. Did you know that spending time out has benefits? A day with nature improves mood and increases happiness.
There are more reasons to leave your house. Staying indoors could lead to behavioral problems such as irritability, anger outbursts, and frustration. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend all your time outdoors to stay happy. Just 20 minutes a day spent in green spaces can make a huge difference.
- Not getting enough sleep.
We need sleep for our optimum health. A good night’s sleep can make you feel like a million bucks. Lack of sleep makes us less alert and increases the risks of many health complications. Inadequate sleep makes us cranky and exhausted, making it hard to stay happy.
To stay happy, focus not just on the amount of sleep but also the timing of that sleep. Realize that human beings appear to be built for nighttime sleeping. You may argue that you have your level of happiness. But top researchers agree that being well-rested contributes a significant percentage of your overall satisfaction.
- Chronic inactivity and poor nutrition
Physical activities and proper nutrition are great contributors to our happiness. A study found that inactive individuals are more than twice likely to be unhappy as their counterparts who keep physically fit through regular exercise and proper diet.
Physical activities also play a role in increasing your confidence, stabilizing emotions and self-control, and decreasing feelings of hostility, depression, and anxiety. Your happiness will also be determined by what you eat. Even after controlling your physical activity levels and weight, poor diets will consistently make you less happy.
- You don’t make time for the right things.
When determining the cause of unhappiness, you are less likely to agree that chasing wrong things could be a reason why you are less happy. We all lose focus at some point in our lives. However, aligning your activities with your values can help you keep a positive perspective and attain happiness.
To help you make time for the right things, list your values by their importance and see how many of your daily activities align with those values. If there is a disconnect, that could be a reason why you’ve been unhappy lately and see ways to change it.
- You haven’t discovered meaning.
When you lack purpose, you’ll always strive to be someone else. Being someone else is a waste of the person you are and a thief of your happiness.
Some of us have fallen for the lie that our life purpose is to make it to the weekend, but for your happiness, you need to quit existing and find a way to start living. Determine what your passion and purpose are and deliberately pursue them. Your story is unique and will always be the best piece of your life’s adventure.
- You hang out with unhappy people.
Happiness is contagious. It is said that you are the sum of the five people you spend most of your time with. If you constantly hang around negative people, it’s unlikely to find happiness. When you realize that people around you are making you compromise with your values and morals, perhaps it’s time to change them.
The Levels of Happiness
- Happiness from experiences
Happiness from experiences is often considered short-term. Such is the kind of happiness you experience listening to good music or scoring points after a game. Also called level 1 happiness, happiness from experience is obvious, and while it may seem pleasurable, it often doesn’t last long, is shallow, and impacts no one except me.
- Happiness from growth
Also called level 2 happiness, happiness from growth is more focused on satisfying a need to progress in various areas of life. It’s driven by the need to improve your current state in life constantly. It’s more about getting a fitter body, improving your nutrition, practicing new languages, or a meditation technique. Whether it involves educational growth, level 2 happiness has skill development or physical training as a critical ingredient.
Level 2 happiness can be abused as it inevitably involves competition and comparison. At this level, we only find joy in achieving things. Since being good at something means being better than the current state or somebody else, level 2 happiness can get out of hand if you compare yourself with others. The only comparison for improvement should be with yourself; otherwise, unhappiness will grow.
- Happiness from giving back to the community or society
In level three, happiness shifts from celebrating me to celebrating others. It cuts across recognizing that other people are good and is devoid of competitiveness. We find pleasure in serving others; a good example is a mother-child love and care kind of happiness that provides meaning.
Since happiness three is tied to a love of others
and service. The people that you serve become your priority. This level of satisfaction is the ultimate goal in life. It does not negate the value of other happiness levels but ultimately surpasses them.
The journey to happiness may seem lengthy and require you to change a few things here and there. We cultivate happiness every day by adopting suitable patterns in life and sticking to them. Unhappy situations are inevitable. What matters is how you handle it when they come.