Happiness – What Is It and How Do We Increase It?  (Part I)

 In my next blog series I will discuss the area of happiness.

 As a therapist I often hear is “All I want is to be happy” On the face of it that seems like a simple and reasonable thing to ask for, but with some thought, a person realizes that is a complicated request.  It is a goal that takes a lot of work.  No one is just happy. Being happy is an ongoing job.

 I believe that happiness has several elements. In the next blog entries I will talk about what is involved in answering that request.  I list a total of 14 areas that are important to being happy.  Take a look at these and see how many you have thought of and then think about how well you would rate yourself in each of these areas.  

 Happiness varies in human beings.  It is also not an absolute or a constant; it is possible to be a little happy or ecstatic.  By understanding exactly what happiness is you can raise your potential to increase your happiness.  In this blog, I will give the reader three important areas that need to be addressed if we are to be happy.


The first area is Work. Though people can be happy with their life work is still a very important part of finding joy in our lives. In my last blog, I wrote about what makes people happy at work.  We spend so much time at our job and we often feel under paid and under appreciated.   I believe it is hard to be happy unless to some degree you enjoy what you do.  


Another part of being happy is knowing yourself. Taking responsibilities for your vulnerabilities and accepting your limitations.  If you recognize your vulnerabilities and limitations you can accept them or you can work at getting past them.   Lack of awareness or denial can make us very unhappy.  If we passively wait for the world or others to make us feel good we are at the mercy of fate.  Though we can’t control everything we can give ourselves the best chance of creating a happy life  by self acceptance.  Happiness is figuring out your strengths and weaknesses and then building on what you are good at and compensating for your limitations.


To be happy, you have to have a purpose, something that is important for you to strive for.  That something needs to be within your reach but that takes significant effort on your part to accomplish.  That purpose can revolve your family, your work, a project that is important to you, or a spiritual pursuit.


In my next blog,  I will list additional areas that I believe are essential to having a happy life.

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