What’s great about all these definitions is that commonalities start emerging. Shirley MacLaine and Michael J. Fox tell us to accept life’s situations and to accept uncertainty as a natural part of life. And the greater we are able to do that, the greater we can lean into happiness. Mastin Kipp tells us it’s ok to not strive to be happy, but accept whatever we’re feeling. He hints at an important concept, which is that we so often try to fix things and get to be “happy” or “at peace” or “over a situation,” but sometimes we need to acknowledge what we’re feeling (whatever that is). What you often find is that acknowledgement will allow you to move into the “happy space” quicker because your emotions aren’t trying to get your attention. You’re emotions aren’t screaming at you, telling you that you’re sad or angry. You’ve already begun the work of processing it.

Lastly, Aristotle shares a crucial part of happiness, which is staying active. How many “happy” people do you know who sit at home all day, everyday watching TV? They might be content or “ok” temporarily but are they truly thriving in happiness? Happiness is often found in the doing of what you’re passionate about and in building connections that are meaningful to you. Research has supported this with findings showing that strong social support is correlated with a number of positive outcomes. You might be in a rut now and you might have moments where you lose your connection to life, but you always have the opportunity to rebuild that connection (click here for a post on that).

So now it’s your turn to begin finding the happiness in you. What brings you joy? Maybe it’s a night in watching TV. Maybe it’s a night out at a new restaurant in town. Maybe it’s staying up late watching a movie with your significant other. Maybe it depends on your mood. Wherever your happiness resides, go enjoy it.

And tell us which of these definitions of happiness resonated with you most? Leave a comment and let us know how you define happiness.

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