Happiness doesn’t mean always being happy

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(Updated 28/2/16) There’s a lot of talk about positivity and happiness at the moment, which I think is a great thing. It’s about time we valued people’s happiness and discussed its importance for the individual, the community, the wider world. World leaders are recognising that measuring their population’s Gross National Happiness is as important as the GDP.

People who consider themselves to be happier are often healthier as they exercise more and make better diet choices, and so can live longer, they are more productive at work which benefits the economy and they’re altruistic which benefits their local and wider community. Plus, happy people don’t usually commit crime, so there’s a reason to encourage happiness, if nothing else!

But happiness is not about being happy all the time. Life can be difficult, upsetting and painful, and to deny any of this would be wrong. Without feeling pain how can you know pleasure, without stress how can you appreciate calm? Happiness is about feeling all the emotions, fully experiencing life and finding ways to move forward positively.

Finding happiness in your life doesn’t mean you’re walking around with a great beam on your face and whistling a happy tune constantly. There are those moments but there are also the feelings of having meaning in your life, purpose, accomplishment, making a difference. Completing a task at work, getting your child to school on time or letting someone in front of you in the supermarket queue isn’t going to have you jumping for joy but it contributes to your happiness.

Life is never straight forward, there are wonderful moments and heart-breaking moments. It’s finding ways to build your resilience, to cope with the difficult and stressful times so you can move forward with positivity. You can’t always choose what life throws at you but you can control how you react to and deal with it.

Everyone can find, and recognise, happiness in their days, in small, fleeting moments, big, momentous occasions and in everyday, ordinary actions, and that includes you.

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