A variety of psychological, biological, religious, and philosophical approaches have striven to define happiness and identify its potential sources. Various research groups have employed the various scientific methods to research questions about what “happiness” is all about and how it might get attained (Seligman, 2004).
The Oxford dictionary defines happiness as an emotional or mental state of well-being, nurtured through positive and pleasant emotions ranging from joy to intense contentment. Happiness is the thought of a good life, freedom from suffering, the feeling of flourishing, well-being, joy, prosperity, and pleasure. The Miriam Webber dictionary defines happiness as the state of well-being and contentment. It is the deep feeling of an entire peacefulness with oneself and immersed in the cloud of joy with everything around us. It is the after feeling accompanied by a job well done. Happy moments are those which come when we do not miss anything. At a dictionary level, a negation of is the denial or the contradiction of something. It is the absence or the presence of something negative to the aimed. Thus, the negation of happiness means the absence of happiness or the presence of unhappiness. The denial of happiness may mean the presence or existence of sadness. The negation of happiness may get attributed to several factors, the most common of which are the absence of peace, denial of something of immediate happiness, torture or anger. Happiness exists when the heart is free from hatred and joy of accomplishment of a task not exempting self-esteem.
The term happiness has several connotations for different people, based on what makes different people happy. As such, the term happiness happens to have a lot of synonyms, as well as synonymous phrases. Some of the most common synonyms of happiness are elation, jubilance, playfulness, ecstasy, gaiety, delight, hilarity, delirium and pleasure. Some of the phrases that sum up to mean happiness are good spirits, good humor, well-being and seventh heaven. The counter happiness terms or unhappiness terms refer to the antonyms to happiness. They include displeasure, gloominess, upset, melancholy, despair or discouragement.
Martin Seligman suggests that happiness is an unwieldy term. To satisfy its meaning, he proposes three distinct routes. Happiness links to positive emotion and pleasure (the pleasant life), the engagement of unique strengths doing productive things (the engaged life) and finding ways to serve and contribute (the meaningful life). He argues that the happy people are those who orient their pursuits towards the three (Seligman, 2004).There erupt the question of what may cause our happiness. Is it all down to our genes? Is it due to external conditions? The answer to this can get narrowed to one three. According to him the causes of happiness are enjoyment that entails having a positive attitude towards every endeavor, at the workplace and around people.
A second cause is engaging, which entails doing something that engages productively. Spending time making our job better makes us feel happy. Third is enduring. That means doing something that lasts, and not that which we put up with. That creates satisfaction and happiness in the short run. Finally, he argues that happiness is a matter of choosing. That means, to create happiness, we ought to be proactive in building elements of enjoyment towards each endeavor. As a fact, happiness is our choice (Seligman, 2004).
Seligman M. (2004). Authentic Happiness: Using a New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential.NY: Simon & Schuster Audio Press
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