Happiness has been a controversial topic for many years now. Some people believe it is an end goal while others take it as the beginning point to greatness. People usually draw happiness from different things. Generally, happiness has to do with an emotional and mental state of welfare that can be characterized through pleasant and positive emotion such as contentment and joy. However, happiness and its sources have been defined differently based on religious, biological, philosophical and psychological grounds. This essay seeks to demystify the puzzle about happiness and how it is attained.
One of the strongest theories used to discuss about happiness is positive psychology that has focused on cognition, personality and mood. Every person has an innate sunny disposition. However, researchers from different backgrounds believe that human beings can learn how to create more meaning and gratification in life. So, what is happiness? Can there be one definite statement used to define it? Well, most people believe that it is the thought of having a good life without suffering, having pleasure, prosperity and joy among other such like things. However, that cannot be enough to define happiness. May be it is just a part of it. People can still be happy even without material wealth. Again, not all rich people are happy. Therefore, happiness is more than what we think. It is not an end goal. Basically, it is something that is continuous and is founded on certain truths that go beyond having pleasure and getting tangible things that we ever wanted.
In the United States, the pursuit of happiness is considered a fundamental right for the Americans and has deeply preoccupied their minds. However, not every person understands what happiness is all about. Can it be studied or were people born with it? Is there a way people can be happier? It is not easy to define happiness because it is very elusive to attain it. People experience moments of happiness and can also say when they don’t feel happy. Positive psychology is a science that focuses on the virtues and strengths that make it possible for people to thrive. Happiness comes with the discovery of individual strengths and reinforcing them in life. It is a psychological wellbeing that brings internal satisfaction and not necessarily with the presence of material things. Happiness is pleasurable but most importantly, it involves engagement and finding meaning in life. People can choose to be happy even when all does not seem to work materially.
Heavenly Father desires that we find true, lasting happiness. Our happiness is the design of all the blessings He gives us—gospel teachings, commandments, priesthood ordinances, family relationships, prophets, temples, the beauties of creation, and even the opportunity to experience adversity. His plan for our salvation is often called "the great plan of happiness" (Alma 42:8). He sent His Beloved Son to carry out the Atonement so we can be happy in this life and receive a fulness of joy in the eternities.
Testifying of God's "eternal purposes," the prophet Lehi taught, "Men are, that they might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:15, 25). Many people try to find happiness and fulfillment in activities that are contrary to the Lord's commandments. Ignoring God's plan for them, they reject the only source of real happiness. They give in to the devil, who "seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself" (2 Nephi 2:27). Eventually they learn the truth of Alma's warning to his son Corianton: "Wickedness never was happiness" (Alma 41:10).
Others seek only to have fun in life. With this as their main goal, they allow temporary pleasure to distract them from lasting happiness. They rob themselves of the enduring joys of spiritual growth, service, and hard work.
As we seek to be happy, we should remember that the only way to real happiness is to live the gospel. We will find peaceful, eternal happiness as we strive to keep the commandments, pray for strength, repent of our sins, participate in wholesome activities, and give meaningful service.