What is happiness?
There are many definitions of happiness with philosophical, religious, spiritual and psychological interpretations spanning as far back as 2,500 years ago with Confucius, Buddha, Socrates and Aristotle all defining happiness. More recently, happiness has become the subject of scientific study resulting in The Science of Happiness and the discovery that there are interesting similarities between ancient thinking and modern day scientific findings. Positive Psychology is the branch of psychology responsible for most happiness studies and is making traction in further understanding what makes us happy.
Happiness can be a great motivator because many of the things, people, experiences and feelings we strive for in life, we pursue because we believe they will bring us happiness. Often times they do (although some may not be good for our wellness) but once we obtain these things, they can become familiar to us, boredom and discontentment can set in and we start seeking something different, new and exciting to quench our happiness thirst. This is what psychologists call the ‘hedonic treadmill’ which is the process of continually adapting to improving circumstances and eventually returning to an individual happiness set point.