What Really Makes Us Happy?

happy-person-jumping-happy-person-5I had a very interesting conversation recently on just this subject. My discussion partner was, at the time, pontificating about money. His argument went something like “Many people are only interested in the accumulation of wealth but once they have it, they are still not happy. It is not how much money you have but what you do with it that counts”. This set my mind working and it countered his rhetoric with the notion that this could well be applied to many other aspects of our lives. What if “it is not how much you have but what you do with it” could be looked at in relation to relationships, free time and so on. Could this be a basis for general happiness?

As humans, we are always striving for that extra that we think will make us happier… more money, a better relationship, better career, bigger house or faster car. Some, of course, will do all of this and more. What determines who is a mystery but the majority will strive most of their lives to get anywhere near the utopia they seek. Yet there is no guarantee that even if we finally get there, that we will be happy. All it means for most is more work, more stress, more pressure and eventual frustration. Not the best recipe for happiness.

In fact, what we generally do is highlight “doing” and totally reject “being”. The harder we work, the more money we will have, the less free time, the more work we can do, the more money we will have. The more “doing”, the happier we will become with our bigger car, house, etc.

For me happiness is the not the constant striving for material items, even we are largely judged by society (at least in the West) on how much or how many we have. No happiness can only be found in “being” and this only happens in the present moment. How many of us can truly say that we even try to appreciate what is going on around us and to accept what we are and have? Most of us spend a lot of our time analyzing the past and worrying about an imagined future including the aforementioned strive for wealth.

Many clients I have seen over the years have been stuck in this cycle of thinking. It can, left unchecked, lead to such disorders as anxiety, depression and an overall sense of dissatisfaction. I can also be the basis for rumination. “Being” gives us the ability to stay solidly grounded in the present where conscious decisions can be made and we can find acceptance for ourselves. Could it be in the end that happiness truly is a state of mind?

Dr. Nicholas Jenner is a counseling psychologist in private practice working with individuals, couples, groups and companies with a speciality in CBT techniques. Apart from seeing clients face-to-face, Dr. Jenner also runs a thriving online therapy business bringing help to those who find taking therapy online as convenient and tailored for their needs. More Details HERE

  4 comments for “What Really Makes Us Happy?

  1. September 4, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    Reblogged this on Ask Dr. James.

  2. September 4, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    Thank you for such an insightful article.
    In present times, unfortunately, “happiness” is a state of mind or a prize at the end of a long life check list. ” Once I have A, B and C, that equates to happiness”. This is what the world thinks happiness is.

  3. September 5, 2016 at 10:57 am

    Right on. Chasing pleasure is a formula for suffering.

    Happiness thrives in one time zone. It does not exist in the past or the future, it happens in this present moment. Happiness is different from emotions. Emotions are phemetal, fleeting, arriving, staying a while then fleeing. An emotion can last as little as five seconds without attention.

    Happiness can last hours, days even weeks.

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