Inspiration Life

Science presents: the key to Happiness

If there is one thing all of us are looking for, it is probably this intangible concept called “Happiness”. Finding happiness is considered such a profound motive, that it even got included in the first draft of the Constitution of the United States:

We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness;

But… how?

OK, so we all want to be happy. And wanting happiness got a semi-official sanction by Thomas Jefferson. All nice and dandy but the big question is HOW?

Seriously, how the hell are we supposed to be happy in a world where the newsmedia bombard us with misery on a daily basis, we are flooded with bills to pay, have a job which takes up a lot of time we’d like to spend doing other stuff (let’s be honest, nobody loves EVERY minute of their job), we don’t have enough time to spend on passtimes and our relationships with others aren’t as great as we’d want them to be. I mean, if I wanna meet up with someone, we have to get our calenders out, and may find an opening three weeks from now…

So how are we supposed to find happiness in such a hectic world? I’ve tried meditation, yoga, intuitive dancing, even sound healing. And while they all relieve some of the stress, they do not actually make me happy. I’ve cancelled my cable subscription to block out the daily news, but I still hear about the misery of the world.

Well, in come the scientists.

Psychology Professor says: Be you

Stepehn Joseph is an American professor of Psychology. He states that most of us are unhappy because we live a life which isn’t “our” life. We don’t do what feels right for us. Instead, we live a life where we do what is expected or do what is needed. We take a job because we need an income, not because we love it. We visit our parents every second weekend, because it is expected of us. Not because we want to (and our kids..? We drag them along to grandpa and grandma, despite the fact they’d rather go and play football with their friends). Joseph even wrote a book about it named “Authentic: How to be yourself and why it matters”.

Now frankly, I hate it when people tell me to “be authentic”. Because really, when are you really authentic? And often, the one saying it means you should be what THEY think is the authentic you, which is not the same as being authentic. But okay. Professor Joseph has written a book on the topic. And as is usance among professors, he supports his claims with an extensive body of knowledge (you know, scientific research and all that). One of the key findings: he notes that people who feel they can be themselves are a lot happier than those feeling they have to live up to expectations. More than anything else, this variable determines whether or not someone reports “being happy”.

Deathbed regrets

Actually, it gets even better. Bronnnie Ware is not a professor. Far from it. She’s a nurse. A palliative nurse, which means that none of her patients survived. Because she worked only with people who were about to die. She helped them through the last hours, days, weeks and assisted them in accepting the unavoidable. It is a job I would definately not be able to do, but it also brought beautiful moments. It brought her insights which she shared in another book: The Top Five Regrets of the Dying in which she shares the most important things people say they regret on their death bed.

Happiness

Happiness (Photo: Lotte Meijer via Unsplash.com)

Top 5 regrets

So what regrets do people have when they are about to live this worldly life? Do they fret about not getting a fancy car? Nope. Not getting a bigger house? Hell no. Regrets about not closing that big insurance deal? No. Sadness about losing a job? Uh-no. None of the things we worry about on a daily basis is in there. What is?

  1. Not having the courage to live a life true to themselves
  2. Having worked to hard
  3. Not having had the courage to express their feelings
  4. Having lost touch with friends
  5. Not having allowed themselves to be happy

It is a book which has brought me to tears a great many times. It is also a book which finds me nodding in agreement.  Isn’t it great that we’re given these insights so much earlier than the people featured in the book? We’re getting this before we reach our deathbed. We have time. How much is uncertain, but we DO have time.

So let’s live a life which is more attuned to who WE are. Uh, no. Let me start to live a life attuned to who I am (you decide about your own life, that’s not up to me). Let’s finally get a life I feel belongs to me. A life free of expectational burdens, but full of me-ness.

Only question which remains…
but how?

14 Comments

  • March 25, 2017 - 8:09 am | Permalink

    I love this post! I’m all about happiness and positivity and I have to say that being your true self actually helps to achieve happiness quicker. Living up to expectations of others is not living and I believe that being who we truly are can bring us happiness that we want. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • March 25, 2017 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed reading this! One of the most dominant regret is not having the courage to speak out….and this definitely affects one’s happiness. We need a constant reminder that our happiness is key…

  • March 25, 2017 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    Lovely post very insightful… Was a fab read! I’m a big believer in being positive so this gets a big thumbs up from me!
    Many Thanks, Cat

  • March 25, 2017 - 10:07 am | Permalink

    really enjoyed reading. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jenni Petrey
    March 25, 2017 - 11:51 am | Permalink

    I really enjoyed reading this. I always tell my children that they need to be themselves. Being you is vital to your own happiness.

  • March 25, 2017 - 12:18 pm | Permalink

    I am in the happiest place now than I have ever been before. But I still like to read these kinda texts. Very good post! 🙂

  • March 25, 2017 - 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Very useful article…thanks for sharing.

  • March 25, 2017 - 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Nice post. I love post about happiness and positivity. It just make to cheer up and you get to find something about yourself.

  • Laura
    March 25, 2017 - 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Very true, you will find happiness within. Thank you for this article.

  • March 27, 2017 - 9:36 pm | Permalink

    I had an epiphany in 2016, that brought me to this truth. It’s a work in progress, but I have started to live my life for me, instead of what everyone’s expectations for my life are.
    I have reduced my stress levels tremendously by not engaging with people that only suck the life out of me, and am pursuing my career goals. I work harder than ever, but love every minute of it, and will be launching an online blogger community with blogging courses, as well, on April 1st!
    Thank you for sharing this fantastic insight.

  • March 28, 2017 - 5:27 am | Permalink

    This is a great post. Sometimes we need a reminder about what’s really important.

  • shahin
    April 2, 2017 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    If we can understand our inner strength and check our expectations from life in a balanced way, we may live a sound life..no doubt.Thanks for a nice write up!

  • April 2, 2017 - 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Very nicely written! Thank you for sharing your thoughts 🙂

  • April 3, 2017 - 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Nice post. Happiness is “here and now”.

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