Two kinds of happiness
There are two kinds of happiness. One is transitory and the other is sustainable.
The transitory type of happiness is the one many people think of when they think of happiness. Our advertising community promotes this type of happiness. The current Coco-Cola advertisement is one example. The ad conveys that if you drink Coca Cola you will be happy.
Another ad campaign indicates that traveling to Costa Rica will make you happy.
Yet another ad indicates that having the right shoes will make you happy.
Because I am tuned into and understand happiness I notice this type of misleading advertising often.
The message people receive is to look outside themselves for happiness. That what they own, or do, is what will make them happy. There is nothing wrong with desire. It is natural and provides a natural, intrinsic form of motivation. It is our perception that achieving the desire is the basis of our happiness that prevents so many from ever achieving more than momentary bits of happiness.
Happiness, true happiness, provides life promoting benefits to all our bodily functions: brain, immune system, chemical balance and so much more. It is far too important to allow these misleading and damaging infomercials for momentary pleasure to continue.
It is true that a new car will make you happy, for an afternoon (maybe even for a week). But this type of happiness requires constant care and feeding. It is actually a prison. It can only be sustained with constant attention.
Research supports this. Even big life events such as your own wedding or a long awaited promotion provide only transient happiness.
We ask ourselves, is that all there is?
The empty feeling that accompanies the disappearance of the transient happiness, especially after achievement of a long sought prize, can be devastating.
Fortunately, there is a different type of happiness. This second type of happiness is sustainable without the need to constantly feed it with new achievements, acquisitions and relationship highs.
Those things help maintain it but this second type of happiness is more about how an individual perceives life. It about whether the glass is half full or half empty but with a deep understanding and deliberate choice to look on the bright side. Anyone, even life long pessimists, can learn to view life more optimistically.
Why would you want to do this?
Well, first and foremost, life is just more fun and feels better when you do. Isn’t that why you do everything you do, because you believe you will feel better if you do it (or in some cases if you do not do it)? You want that promotion because you believe you will feel better if you have it than if you do not have it. You want the new car because that feels better than driving an unreliable old car. It is at the root of all your decisions, whether conscious or not.
But there are many more benefits. The last 20 years some scientists have turned their attention to studying human thriving. The findings have astounded them and are great news for us. Positive emotions, optimism, and happiness confer tremendous benefits in the form of improved health and immune function, better relationships and greater success. Information about these benefits and scientific citations supporting them are available on our website, Happiness1st.com.
Learning how to develop and maintain the sustainable type of happiness is fun and easy with the right knowledge and tools.
Jeanine Joy is the Founder and President of Happiness 1st Institute. We teach the skills that lead to sustainable happiness–the kind that can extend your life and more importantly, the number of healthy years in your life.