Happiness is the IN thing. Books are being written about it, Pharrell is singing about it, countries are tracking it, everyone wants it. But how do we use March 20th, International Day of Happiness to go beyond happiness as an inventory of fleeting moments and define a deep inner happiness for ourselves? A place we come from and return to over and again no matter the circumstance, societal pressure or highs and lows of life.
Getting married, going on a beach vacation, seeing your child walk for the first time are moments that give us great pleasure and create happiness within us. But what is it about those moments that bring us joy? What are the principles of our feeling happy?
According to an article in FastCoexist referencing Body Atlas, produced from research by Finnish scientists, happiness is the only emotion felt throughout our entire body. Other emotions are concentrated in the head, chest and stomach, but happiness is felt from head to toe. Could deep inner happiness perhaps be a celebration of the full spectrum of emotions? Could being happy also encompass some sadness, fear and anger?
In an article "What Happy People Do Differently" in Psychology Today, they found that happy people don't hide from negative emotions, but acknowledge and confront them head on. In some people’s terms that would mean “happy” people aren’t always “happy.” But if happiness is felt throughout the body and happy people by nature feel painful emotions, than could true happiness be felt all of the time? Even on just an ordinary day or worse, when we get fired, lose a loved one or find that we are in a lot of pain?
When we can answer these questions for ourselves, then we can recognize we have the power to constantly shape what we wish to be and how we choose to feel. So that no matter what is going on around us, happiness is always within our control and starts from the inside out.