The Definition of Happiness

With mental health issues on the rise, and specifically in these challenging times, one thing we should explore more is the definition of happiness. Happiness means something different to everyone and that which made some happy may have been removed during Covid lockdowns others may have discovered what they thought made them happy they don’t miss so maybe it wasn’t true happiness. Whether it’s family, friends, pets, or work that brings you happiness, no one is the same. So why is it defined? The definition of happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being, which can be defined by positive or pleasant emotions, ranging from contentment to intense joy.

Happiness is something we cannot touch. It is abstract. But we all wish to feel happiness at some point. Why do we wish that? Happiness cannot be explained in a way that includes everyone’s different feelings towards it. If it is an emotion, which is completely personal, why is it defined? If it is something we cannot ever touch, why do we wish for it so intently? Happiness is brought to people in several ways, all of which are different to the individual. Just picture, waking up by the sea, the temperature well over 30 degrees. The smell of the ocean right on your doorstep. As you step outside from your basic beach apartment, hot sand fills your toes. The sun already emitting radiation, like a nuclear power plant, causing your back to already feel like fire, and look like it too.

To many this may sound idyllic, like paradise, but for others it may sound like hell. Everyone finds happiness in different ways. Different cultures, different countries, different families. Everyone is different, so why is happiness defined? Society.

For hundreds of years society has created thousands of stigmas that have controlled our lives. If society says meditation is key for happiness; we do it. If society says sport is key for happiness; we do it. If society says money is key for happiness; we get some. But does money really buy happiness? The things we think we need to do to be happy, society creates, and has been for centuries in the past, and, unfortunately, will still be creating in the future.

As a generation, finding what makes us happy is important. 1 in 6 people are said to be suffering with common mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression. Studies show that the amount of people suffering with mental health problems has almost doubled since the 1980s. This shows the importance, and need, for us to find what makes us happy. Really, it is simple. People have been finding happiness since the world began. But everyone is different. From one generation to another, no two people are the same, and never will be. This makes the issue more complex. As a society, we cannot just say doing this or doing that will make us happy. Everyone has different tastes, which is what makes us all unique; what makes us special.

One thing, which is very difficult to comprehend, is what happiness feels like. You just know, I guess. It cannot be pinpointed. We go through life looking to the future, but when we decide to reminisce on the past, we will remember the times when we were fulfilled. When we were happy. Looking back, we will come to understand what it is that makes us happy. It is almost like having a scrapbook; in which, we can look back and think, oh yes, that makes me feel so content.

In a Harper’s Bazaar interview, the famous supermodel, Gisele Bundchen, once said: “If you are happy, you can give happiness. If you don’t love yourself and if you are unhappy with yourself, you can’t give anything else but that.” It is true; and happiness is whatever you want it to be. Whether it is the weird or the wonderful, if it makes you happy, it makes you happy. But it is personal. So why is it defined? Happiness is a complex emotion. It is what most people wish for in life. Happiness resides in everyone, but to everyone it is unique. So, what is the definition of happiness? You.

Article by Young Reporter Sophie Read
First appeared in Grimsby Telegraph on 23rd June 2020