Gary's Guidance: Being Happy

July 2011

Time waits for no one!  So as life goes on, are you happy right now?  Finding happiness, whether in the moment of a day or experienced many times during a lifetime, is an evasive endeavor.  Chasing happiness is a process of taking action towards achieving a desired outcome.  Sometimes the process of doing is more fun than actually achieving the outcome.  This usually means that an expectation has been met resulting in happiness.  Sometimes happiness spontaneously occurs from something unexpected…like a surprise birthday party!

Happiness is not a permanent state.  Sometimes people are born predisposed to being happy…good for them.  Happiness is an emotional state subject to change.  It is connected to a mental state such as having happy thoughts.  Happiness can be a behavior as someone looks happy or acts happy.  There is actually a scientific approach/theory to happiness called positive psychology.  Its founder is Dr. Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania.  The state of being happy has links to biology, physiology, religious, psychological, and philosophical components.  So being happy has its complexities, but simply it comes by us through a smile.

There are over 300 million people living in the United States and quite possibly there may be 300 million different ways of being happy.  Think about your current state of happiness or when you were happy in the past.  Here are some reflections of happiness:  being employed, getting a first job, holding a baby, playing with a puppy, getting married, buying/selling a car, breathing fresh air, losing/gaining weight, eating a peach, listening to music, spending time with a loved one, getting an IRS tax return, winning a game, walking on the shore, graduating from school, laughing at something funny…happiness can be limitless.  Finding your way to happiness is a unique process.  Enjoy the day. ☺

Gary Kozick, LCSW

Originally appeared in the Arbor Terrace: A Senior Living Residence monthly newsletter, July 2011)