True Hap­pi­ness!

The Miracle - - Women - For any in­quiries please email at shab­nam@skcoun­selling.ca

Shab­nam Khan – Fam­ily Coun­sel­lor “Life is never made un­bear­able by cir­cum­stances, but only by lack of mean­ing and pur­pose” For most peo­ple, feel­ing happy and find­ing life mean­ing­ful are both im­por­tant and re­lated goals. But do hap­pi­ness and mean­ing al­ways go to­gether? Re­cent re­search sug­gests that while hap­pi­ness and a sense of mean­ing of­ten over­lap, they also di­verge in im­por­tant and sur­pris­ing ways. As one might ex­pect, peo­ple’s hap­pi­ness lev­els were pos­i­tively cor­re­lated with whether they saw their lives as mean­ing­ful. How­ever, the two mea­sures were not iden­ti­cal – sug­gest­ing that what makes us happy may not al­ways bring more mean­ing, and vice versa. To probe for dif­fer­ences be­tween the two, the re­searchers ex­am­ined the sur­vey items that asked de­tailed ques­tions about peo­ple’s feel­ings and moods, their re­la­tion­ships with oth­ers, and their day-today ac­tiv­i­ties. Feel­ing happy was strongly cor­re­lated with see­ing life as easy, pleas­ant, and free from dif­fi­cult or trou­bling events. Hap­pi­ness was also cor­re­lated with be­ing in good health and gen­er­ally feel­ing well most of the time. How­ever, none of th­ese things were cor­re­lated with a greater sense of mean­ing. Feel­ing good most of the time might help us feel hap­pier, but it doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily bring a sense of pur­pose to our lives. In­ter­est­ingly, their find­ings sug­gest that money, con­trary to pop­u­lar say­ings, can in­deed buy hap­pi­ness. Hav­ing enough money to buy what one needs in life, as well as what one de­sires, were also pos­i­tively cor­re­lated with greater lev­els of hap­pi­ness. How­ever, hav­ing enough money seemed to make lit­tle dif­fer­ence in life’s sense of mean­ing. Peo­ple from wealthy coun­tries tend to be hap­pier, how­ever, they don’t see their lives as more mean­ing­ful. While peo­ple from low in­come coun­tries tend to see their lives as more mean­ing­ful. Al­though the rea­son­sns are not to­tally clear, this might be re­lated to greater re­li­gious be­lief, hav­ing more chil­dren, and stronger so­cial ties among those liv­ing in poorer coun­tries. Per­haps in­stead of say­ing that “money doesn’t buy hap­pi­ness,” we ought to say in­stead that “money doesn’t buy mean­ing.” Not too sur­pris­ingly, our re­la­tion­ships with other peo­ple are re­lated to both how happy we are as well as how mean­ing­ful we see our lives. Feel­ing more con­nected to oth­ers im­proved both hap­pi­ness and mean­ing. How­ever, the role we adopt in our re­la­tion­ships makes an im­por­tant dif­fer­ence. In ad­di­tion, spend­ing more time with friends was re­lated to greater hap­pi­ness but not more mean­ing. In con­trast, spend­ing more time with peo­ple one loves was cor­re­lated with greater mean­ing but not with more hap­pi­ness. When it comes to think­ing about how to be hap­pier, many of us fan­ta­size about tak­ing more va­ca­tions or find­ing ways to avoid tasks. How­ever, some tasks which don’t make us happy can, over time, add up to a mean­ing­ful life. Even rou­tine ac­tiv­i­ties - talk­ing on the phone, cook­ing, clean­ing, house­work, med­i­tat­ing, email­ing, pray­ing, read­ing book and bal­anc­ing fi­nances - ap­peared to bring more mean­ing to peo­ple’s lives, but not hap­pi­ness in the mo­ment. To con­clude, hap­pi­ness can be at­tained in things which we al­ready have but don’t re­al­ize the true mean­ing of this hap­pi­ness un­less we might be at the edge of los­ing it. Value and cher­ish each mo­ment of those pre­cious mo­ments as they will not re­turn

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