Hunt for Happiness Week

January 15 to 21 is Hunt for Happiness Week. Are you happy? Right now? Generally? It’s not the easy question you think it might be. For most people there are moments of joy as well as moments of anger and pain. So, you might say, “I am OK.”. But is being OK good enough? Generally, people do not think of themselves as happy in the normal course of life. This overlooks many reasons to be happy and this week is all about hunting for reasons to be happy.

But, what is happiness? A warm day at the beach, paddling in the cool, blue sea? No. That’s pleasure. OK. Going out for a few drinks with a group of friends? No. That’s enjoyment.  Basically, happiness is having you needs fulfilled. Not too difficult right?

So if you are not happy there are two main routes to pursue. Either you change your needs to meet what your life fulfils or you change your life to fulfil your needs. Changing your needs to meet your life is a tenet of Buddhism which teaches that life is full of suffering caused by desire and that this suffering ceases when desire ceases. Now that is certainly something to think about, but let’s continue our hunt for happiness in a different way.

Now, to have your needs fulfilled you have to know what you needs are. I have written in the past about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which is a useful model to think about this.  He talks about physical needs (food, water, shelter, etc.), security needs (health, employment, accommodation, etc.), social needs (belonging, family, love, friendship, etc.), self-esteem needs (achievement and respect of others) and finally self-actualisation needs (creativity, self-expression, etc.). He also refers to it as a hierarchy as one group of needs underpins and supports the others. So, for example, you can’t focus of self-actualisation needs, if you don’t have enough food, water or shelter.

What if our needs are met, but we still don’t feel happy? Well are we grateful enough for what we do have? Do you appreciate your friends enough? Do you appreciate the beauty and wonder of nature? Perhaps thinking about or spending some of your time helping those less fortunate than you by working for a food bank or homeless shelter would help. 

One final point I would like to make about the pursuit of happiness is that some element of it is personal choice. As Julius Henry “Groucho” Marx (American Comedian and Actor) put it, “I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it”.

And now a little treat for you. It’s a song that was pretty much everywhere in the UK in 2022. The lyrics have a good message that speak to Buddhist philosophy and it’s something we can all learn from to some extent. Would you be happier if you were freed from desire?

If you think hypnotherapy can help you be happier, or with anything else, then contact me

One Response