Is it happiness that we are all really seeking?
In our daily quest for well being, and search for true healing and even in the desire to attain health and fitness, I wonder, are we all simply finding ways to meet a deeper desire for happiness?
I have met many wellness and fitness aficionados who seem to be on an endless quest. Often setting a goal or envisioning a place they are striving to meet. And although their health and well being may not seem to be where one ‘wants’ it to be, could we ever reach this place of nirvana?
Where are we all headed anyway? How many new fitness classes or detox plans or wellness retreats must one subject themselves to to finally reach a place where one realizes that they are already whole, well, and complete.
Happiness is starting to melt into what our wellness goals are, and we are starting to understand the power of our mindset in actually attaining a perspective that one recognizes their true quest. Do we really need all of these seemingly privileged experiences and next new juice blend, or super food, or anti inflammatory concoction or even healing modality or technique? Do we need to over exert our bodies to achieve this non sustainable level of fitness or wellness?
How has wellness ballooned into a 3.4 trillion dollar industry? How could so many of us be so ‘un-well’? Or are we all just unhappy? With so much now available to us in terms of knowledge, expertise, and experience, how could so many of us still be in need or seeking?
'As economist Thierry Malleret has argued, people (and we would add, too many wellness businesses/approaches) confuse pleasure or short-term reward with happiness, putting too much emphasis on hedonic well-being (pleasure) instead of eudaimonic well-being, which is about contentment, a sense of purpose, and self-realization. (The concepts are from Aristotle.) A relentless quest for wellness, happiness and self-optimization, what The New Yorker has just called our era of “improving ourselves to death,” is hardly a path to happiness – it’s an ego-driven pressure. And in the future, the eudaimonic concept of well-being will become more important: less focus on self, and more focus on others and community. We need to fight the fact that our brains now produce too much dopamine – the “reward” neurotransmitter that leads us to want more instant/self gratification, whether via sugar or social media – and produce more serotonin, the neurotransmitter for “contentment,” which dopamine drives down.'
Will being fit make you happy? Or will being happy make you fit? Will you be happy once you are ‘healed’? Or will finding happiness result in your healing?
I have realized on my own quest for wellness and fitness, every road took me down another road as if the destination became further intangible. I’ve read all of the books, watched all of the programs, read all of the testimonies, tried all of the ‘fads’, and in the end I’ve realized, what good is it all when what is going on in my head is toxic? And so, I am now looking at ways I am unhappy, things in my life that needs resolution, people I need to let go of, toxic emotions, unhealthy situations, and especially those lingering, hurtful thoughts in my head. As you sip on your mushroom, maca, almond milk latte, what are you saying to yourself? What parts of your life are poison? It’s not really that plate of vibrant food, or that cool healing ceremony, or sound bath, or fitness class, it’s that person, that lives in your head. Do they support you in this healing?
Maybe if we shift our perspective on it all and really ask ourselves. Are you truly happy? And if the answer is no, why? Can you talk about it? Can you be real and vulnerable with yourself and truly speak as to why? I think once we are able to see clearly as to what this truth is, we will be closer to healing, closer to health, closer to all of our outward goals.
Now allow me to place into context what I see happiness to be/mean. It is not the endless smile on one’s face or the capacity to always be the life of the party and it also certainly does not mean there is nothing in your life that is disappointing or even maddening. Happiness to me means having purpose, an awareness of how one serves the world and others. Happiness also means an ability to be present in each moment, even if that means feeling upset or sad or angry, but having the ability to acknowledge one’s emotions and feel them as they are without the need to suppress or ‘drown one’s sorrows’. Happiness means the ability to maintain and engage in healthy relationships, having a community of family and friends and the ability to experience intimacy with self and others.
If we were to look at happiness in this way, not the superficial meaning we all may be using to mask a deeper emotion we are unable to process, then I believe we can also attain true health and well being. And also, it doesn’t cost 3.4 trillion dollars to obtain happiness.
May we first find happiness AND you will SOON realize that everything else is already what you have hoped it to be.
Some things to know about Happiness around the World -
Annual research like the World Happiness Report and Gallup-Sharecare Well-being Index take the global pulse on people’s happiness and these scientific surveys reveal crucial things. One, people overall aren’t very happy: The World Happiness Report (155 countries surveyed) reveals a world with a mediocre 5/10 happiness score. Two, happiness cannot be reduced to physical health or GDP (“money”): while those are two key measures, all the happiness research concurs that strong social connections and community are the most fundamental components for happiness. This is a key reason why poorer, unhealthier nations (i.e., Mexico, Costa Rica, etc.) often rank higher than rich, healthy ones; why the U.S. is seeing happiness plummet; why people in China, despite extraordinary per capita income gains, are no happier than they were 25 years ago; and why Northern European nations (like Norway, Denmark, etc.) always hit the happiness scores right out of the park. - Global Wellness Institute; Wellness Meets Happiness
Gross National Happiness (also known by the acronym: GNH) is a philosophy that guides the government of Bhutan. It includes an index which is used to measure the collective happiness and well-being of a population. Gross National Happiness is instituted as the goal of the government of Bhutan in the Constitution of Bhutan, enacted on 18 July 2008.
The term Gross National Happiness was coined in 1972 during an interview by a British journalist for the Financial Times at Bombay airport when the then king of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, said "Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product."
In 2011, The UN General Assembly passed Resolution "Happiness: towards a holistic approach to development" urging member nations to follow the example of Bhutan and measure happiness and well-being and calling happiness a "fundamental human goal."
Global Wellness Institute claims WELLNESS MEETS HAPPINESS as one of the trends for 2018. I have been monitoring GWI trends for about a decade, and they have always been progressive with their predictions. We are already seeing Happiness or the understanding of how Happiness impacts us as a whole in regards to mental health and wellness. Let this 'trend' spark within all of us a deeper understanding of what brings us Happiness. May we learn to connect deeper with ourselves and each other so that we no longer hide in isolation, recognizing how we are more the same than we are different.