Nobody wants to admit they aren’t happy. I’m not talking about an unhappy feeling about a particular situation, that’s temporary and isolated.

I’m talking about the question, “are you a happy person?”

I didn’t want to admit it, but for a big chunk of my life, I wasn’t happy.

I was grumpy and complained a lot as a kid, and for many years later on, I was stressed to the max as a single mother.

Someone asked me back then if I was happy, and I froze. I didn’t have the answer. I didn’t know if I was happy (which seems like a pretty strong indication I wasn’t happy).

If I asked you, “Are you happy?”, what would you say?

People associate a lot of feelings and sensations with happiness. Excitement, thrill, joy, ecstasy, exhilaration, victory, inner peace, or satisfaction to name a few…

What words describe happiness for you?

What does it feel like in your body when you’re happy?

Is it possible to be a happy person even when you don’t feel good? Maybe your back’s been bothering you, or you had an argument with someone?

Do you have to have a sense of elation, excitement, or euphoria to be happy? Can you keep up these intense emotions non stop?

One or two kittens are super cute, but to be followed around by 50 of them nonstep would get pretty exhausting.

Those euphoric states are impossible to maintain all the time, so what happens on lower energy days?

Like your appetite for food, would it be natural for the sensations of happiness to ebb and flow?

Can you separate the state of inner happiness from other sensations like sadness, frustration, or fatigue?

I ask these questions, not to set right or wrong answers, but to get you thinking about what happiness means to you.

Happiness is a word we hear comonly, but unless we spend a little time contemplating what it means to us, we sort of bob along like a cork on the ocean.

With awareness, though, we can make course corrections and have more control over our direction.

How do some experts define happiness?

The ancient Greeks defined happiness as:

“Happiness is the joy that we feel when we’re striving after our potential.”

Shirley MacLaine, Academy Award winner, said:

“To be happy, you have to be willing to be compliant with not knowing.”

Michael J. Fox said:

“My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations.”

Mastin Kipp, the founder of Daily Love, said:

“I don’t expect to always be happy, I simply accept what is. And that acceptance is key. This is what self-love is all about, really, acceptance and the ability to love yourself right where you are.”

Aristotle said:

“Happiness is a state of activity.”

Eleanor Roosevelt said:

“Someone once asked me what I regarded as the three most important requirements for happiness. My answer was: A feeling that you have been honest with yourself and those around you; a feeling that you have done the best you could both in your personal life and in your work; and the ability to love others.”

Happiness relates to life satisfaction, appreciation of life, moments of pleasure, and with positive experiences of emotions.

A happy person is someone who often experiences positive emotions, such as joy, interest, and pride. They experience negative emotions too, but less frequently.

This isn’t to say happy people are free from negative or painful emotions. They still experience negative emotions, but they have a different relationship to them.

Think about these two key points:

1️⃣ Happier people spend more time in positive emotions and less time in negative emotions than unhappy people.

Shift your balance toward happiness by managing your state.

You’re in charge of your emotions. Your emotions aren’t in charge of you.

As much as possible, spend time preparing how you’re going to react to what your day might bring you.

Decide ahead of time how you’re going to show up when…

Your teenager slams the door…your boss criticizes your work…it rains all week…your car won’t start…

When negative emotions hit, how long are you going to let them stay?

Stuffing down negative emotions or refusing to accept their presence isn’t any more helpful than getting stuck in them, so how do you want to interact with them?

2️⃣ Happier people don’t let their negative emotions define them.

The human experience involves feeling a range of multiple emotions. But emotions come and go, and an emotional state isn’t the same as who we you are as a being.

You feel hurt, but you’re not a hurt person. You feel angry, but you’re not an angry person. You feel depressed, but you’re not a depressed person. At least not at your core.

You may have adopted a label of a hurt, angry, or depressed person, but that’s not how you were created.

Those are labels you’ve been carrying around. You may have attached the labels so early, that you’re certain it’s “who you are”, but consider the possibility that you’re none of those things.

This piece talks about peeling off those old labels:

What You’re Telling Yourself About Your Life is Wrong
Peel off the Label and See it Differently

It’s ok to experience more than one state at a time. Don’t you feel both scared and excited before you get on a roller coaster? Can’t you feel both elated and exhausted after a major accomplishment?

Happy people know, even if they’re feeling some sadness or anger or other emotion at the moment, they’re still an underlying happy person.

This terrifies me, and I wouldn’t feel happy to be on it!

I can finally say I am a happy person.

I’m a happy person because that’s who I am at the core of my being.

Some days are more fun than others. Some days my body doesn’t feel its best. But those are ripples on the surface. At the deepest part lies happiness.

I’m not depending on have feelings of euphoria. Happiness for me is peaceful sense of satisfaction and gratitude.

Happiness is a skill. There’s a formula for it. That formula comes more easily to some than to others, but there’s no doubt that you can master the skills for happiness too.

Have You Trained Yourself to be Unhappy?
Your habits are determining if you have a happy and satisfying life or not. The great news is you choose and form your…

I made a 5-day Guide to Mastering Happiness, and it’s yours for free! Click here to get the guide for free!

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Originally published at Change Your Mind Change Your Life.