How to be happy?
„If only we’d stop trying to be happy we’d have a pretty good time.“
This topic is quite a controversial and also philosophical one. Let´s be honest here: we can´t guide you to fundamental happiness. There´s no neat trick that works for everyone. If so it would be a more peaceful and relaxed world. What we want to do is make you think. Because even if you´re totally against everything we will write down here: thinking about it may bring you a step further to your version of happiness. So join us on this ride!
While being happy might be the ultimate goal and achievement of everyone’s life, achieving true happiness is not that simple. The term Happiness can be divided into basically two varieties. The first is a short term, nearly ecstatic rush of Happiness. This Happiness-rush is quite a cruel creature – once you were able to capture a glimpse of it, it is gone already again.
So would it be recommended at all, to chase the illusion of a life that consists only out of happy moments?
„Gotta have a little sadness once in a while so you know when the good times come.“
The second variety is the long term, innerly peacefull and lasting happiness. And that is the variety of happiness that is more sustainable. While the ecstatic happiness rushes are what spice up life, the fundamental happiness is the one that makes you feel satisfied. The one that let´s you feel relaxed, being balanced and in peace with yourself.
Life can be exhausting, boring and full of dickhe… ahem, people that are hard to get along with. But life can also be full of joy, fun and full of nice and great people.
You are the one that defines your very own life.
And yes, this is a hell of a task. Most likely the most important and hardest task you ever signed yourself up for.
Here are three questions you can ask yourself to align your course to destination Happiness, and they might help you to get this task done in the best way possible!
What are you working for?
Might it be solely to be able to pursue a luxury lifestyle, three times extravagant holidays a year, a sports car that goes from 0 to 100 in a blink of an eye? Or might it to be able to provide a good life for your family. Or doing your part in changing the world with your very own everyday science – hopefully to the better.
Those aims are extremely diverse and your very own. They will also change often in life – but being aware for what YOU are working so hard for whatever it might be will help you to keep being motivated. And you then also know, what you really WANT to spend your money on. And please, don´t feel sad because you feel like the lifestyle you pursued 10 years ago was wasteful – it was the lifestyle you wanted to live and that brought you (hopefully) joy those days.
What are you passionate about?
Being passionate about what you´re doing is one of the most crucial things when it comes down to joyfulness and in the greater scheme happiness. If you´re passionate about what you´re doing, then work goes easy and you actually like to work and furthermore – it doesn´t feel like work. But it´s not obligatory to be passionate about your work. If you´re passionate about beer, coffee or deliciousness in general – be passionate! If you´re passionate about motorsports, skiing or any other sport – be passionate! If you´re passionate about video games and/or eSports – be passionate! If you´re passionate about arts, painting, sculpting or craftsmanship – be passionate!
Especially Hobbies are there to bring joy – and not meant to generate any income. Although this doesn´t exclude each other.
Passion is the spark that lit the fire in your heart for a specific topic – and also keeps it burning!
Why do I chase Happiness?
Although this sounds controversial: happiness is, most of the time, only short-lasting – those rushes we talked about earlier. Happiness is what you feel when you had a good experiment, got compliments, won some poster prize or won a game of Monopoly. Chasing this kind of happiness means, only wins, only great results and only external love from other people will count – and they´re hard to get. And if those don´t happen, you´re starting to feel unhappy until you get a glimpse of it again. You can´t really chase happiness.
The key, in our opinion, is to chase joy. You can feel joyful for doing a good job for yourself. You can feel joyful while playing the game – although you might not win it. You can feel joyful in appreciation that you were invited to speak to a broad audience that are all experts in their fields. And you will feel joyful by doing something you´re passionate about. You will feel joyful treating yourself with something from your bucket or wish list. You might feel joyful if you enjoy a beautiful sunset with a beautiful cup of coffee in your hands. Go and enjoy.
Go and chase joy instead of happiness. Because that way, fundamental happiness will be your most loyal companion.
This post is also the last one of our Mental Health Awareness Month post series. We honestly hope it lit a spark of thought on this important topic. And that you and your mental health benefit from it.
Remember: You Are Not Alone!
All the best!
The Mental Health Awareness Month post series is brought to you by Helmholtz Juniors
We thank Pedro Ivo Silva Batista (DESY), Martin Schrader (HZDR), Michaela Löffler (UFZ), Nicolas Stoll (AWI), Fabian Wolf (GEOMAR), Younes Bouhadjar (FZJ), Stephanie Taylor (DZNE), Khwab Sanghvi (DKFZ), Lukas Kreis (GSI), Johannes Nelles (UFZ), Vasundhra Shaw (DESY) and Olya Oppenheim (MDC) for the text and Marlene Härtel (HZB), Martin Schrader (HZDR), Anna-Lena Amend (HMGU) and Xin You (UFZ) for the design.
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And for all that loyal companions that read through all:
And if you still feel a bit down, here´s something that should cheer you up: