I just saw something come across my email the other day asking “Is it healthier to be happy?” Intuitively I would say yes of course it is! It makes sense physiologically and biologically that when you are happy, you are not stressed. We all know that when the cells are stressed, that is when we develop diseases and illness. Therefore, being happy should mean happy cells and subsequently a healthier you. If that is all it takes to be happy, why are we not all happy? And for that matter what is happiness?
The New Oxford dictionary defines “Happy” as a state of feeling or showing pleasure or contentment. That sounds like a pretty accurate definition. So, if I asked 100 people that question. Are you happy? Or what is happiness to you, I think we would all probably define it a bit differently. And the meaning will for sure be all over the place for each of us.
Some people would say I am happy when my family is well and healthy. Some people are happy when they are with friends and family. Others would probably say their children, their pets, their jobs make them happy. I have friends who are happy just eating good food. For some it would mean financial security.
My own definition of happiness for me has always been very complex. I would say that I am happy when every aspect of my life is completely lined up. This means my personal life is in order, my inner circle is right and my outer circle is aligned.
Let me break it down for you.
Personal has to do with me and me alone. How is my emotional state? How is my health? Is my weight where I need it to be? I’m I getting enough sleep? I’m I exercising like I want to? I’m I being the best me that I can be?
Inner circle has to do with your relationship with close family and friends. Your people, your village, your posse – whatever you call them. Is this relationship okay? Are you fighting? Not speaking? Are they healthy? Are they well? Are any of them going through problems/issues at the moment that can impact your life as a person close to them. That means illness, death, financial problems, relationship problems, loss of jobs etcetra.
Outer circle are those people and things that are not related to you or close enough to be friends but nonetheless can impact your life positively or negatively. These includes work or career life, school life, neighbors, acquaintances, the world. Are there issue at work? Demotion? Pay cut? Lack of respect of coworkers? A bad neighbor making your life hell? Is your city, your country in crisis?
So given that definition I ask myself, are you happy? When I think about what my answer would be to that question, given my criteria above, I realize that I cannot answer it with a 100 percent affirmative because, I may be happy with one aspect of my life and unhappy with another. I bet it will be truly rare to find someone where all three aspects align perfectly.
So as I sit here pondering this question, I have come to the conclusion that my definition is too strict. I don’t believe happiness has to be 100 percent. It can’t possibly be. I personally, will take 70-80 percent any day but the closer to 100 percent you can get, I’m sure the better. I know that it is healthier to be happy and I most certainly want to be healthy. Therefore, moving forth, when asked if I am happy, I will give a resounding Yes! because I am a glass full kind of person! And honestly life in general is good. If I complained or thought otherwise, it would not be fair to the many people out there who are not as fortunate or have real problems.
Think about that the next time, you feel that you are unhappy. Yes, a part of your life may not be okay at the moment, but look, the other parts are okay. When all else fails, remember that you got out of bed today. I know so many people who would give up so much to be able to do just that.
As always please let me know your thoughts and thanks for reading,