What is Happiness?

This is the big question we all ask ourselves.  A lot of times it is not easy to find the answer because we tell ourselves a lie about what we think it is. We think that when we achieve or get this or that we will be happy. We tell ourselves stories like: “When I get a job, I will be happy”, or “When I get my own apartment, I will be happy”,  or “When I find the perfect man/woman, I will be happy”, or “When I get my own car, I will be happy”. While these things can all make us feel happy in the short-term, I believe long-term happiness is not something you can get from anything outside of you.

Last week I went to see a movie called “Happy” at a local movie theater. It was a documentary about the true meaning of happiness, with a lot of case studies of people around the world who consider themselves to be happy. The people in the case studies ranged from a man living in the slums in India, a woman in America who was once beautiful, but because of a tragic car accident had had her face ruined and was unrecognizable, to a woman living in a collective housing facility in Denmark where her family shared dinners with all the other families in the housing facility. The man in India obviously didn’t have much money or belongings, but because the community he lived in was so closely knit together, and everybody cared for each other, he considered himself a very happy man. Also, the woman who lost her outward beauty, had all the reason in the world to be angry and miserable, but she chose to look at the things that she did have in her life, and said that she was much happier now compared to before the accident. I guess it all really depends on how you choose to look at your situation.

One of the most famous researchers on the subject of happiness is a man called Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (I am not even sure how to pronounce that). He wrote a book that I read called “Flow”, which has become a term for the state of mind that people enter when they are so engaged and absorbed in what they are doing that they completely forget about everything else, even themselves. Another way to call this is “being in the moment”, “in the zone”, or “being present”. I am sure you have had those moments yourself, right? It could be while playing sports, drawing, doing everyday chores, anything really. I can certainly remember myself as a soccer player where time just seemed to fly by, and before I knew it it was time go home after practice. Or, sometimes being so caught up in the conversation I was having with my friends that I didn’t even realize it was way past midnight. According to the research, it is during these moments in life that we feel the most happy.

Besides these “flow” moments, being outside in nature on a beautiful day is something that makes me feel very happy. How can you not love nature when you come from a place like this? 😉

I have to say I am very proud of  where I was born, the Lofoten Islands, and I often miss being able to step outside of my house and go mountain hiking from there. Nothing beats the peacefulness I feel from listening to the wind, or birds singing on top of the mountain. Another thing that makes me happy is when I overcome something that I initially had a difficult time with. One of those things are my flexibility. As I have mentioned in an earlier post, I used to think that being inflexible was something that I just had to live with. This was before I met GYROKINESIS® and GYROTONIC®. It was a real joy to finish my first course and realize that it is actually possible to overcome my flexibility issue. Another thing I am proud of overcoming is being able to work and help clients in Japanese as well as English. This was another thing I had a big complex about for a while, and used to feel down and insecure about.  Then, when I had my first session in Japanese, and realized this was something I could do, I again felt empowered and more confident, two emotions that equal happiness to me. Also, recently, I had my first pair lesson where I taught both in English and Japanese at the same time. A few years ago, I would have never thought that would be possible.

How about you? What makes you happy? Have you ever been in a state of “flow” where nothing else around you matter?


GYROTONIC and GYROKINESIS are registered trademarks of Gyrotonic Sales Corp and are used with permission.

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