How Happy Art You?
by Art Ramsay, Ph.D.

 Happiness is a word that has been batted around for centuries, but I wonder how many people really know what it means in their lives? I read a book relating to joy a few years ago with a sentence that read something like – happiness is gotten when something happens to make you feel that way, while joy is something that comes from within knowing your spiritual connection, and is always present.

 From the above, I would suggest that joy is not measured by degree, but is a feeling that is always the same. Happiness, on the other hand, can be looked at by how happy you are. Do some evens, things, or people make you feel more happiness than others? If so, how do we measure that feeling?

 As I write this article, I am at an ocean beach resort. Am I happier here than at home? Since I do not have a ‘happiness gauge’ with me, I am not sure, but I do know that I feel more peaceful. Why? Because I have taken a week off from business stuff, except for writing this article. Shows how much I care about your happiness

 While I am writing this in the condo, I am not nearly as happy as I am when on the beach. There is an energy about the beach that lifts my spirits, similar to, but not the same as when I am hiking in the mountains or kayaking in a lake. So there is a degree of happiness, I suppose.

 Does it matter how happy you are, or is it more important to just be happy? I think it matters to some degree; the question is, how do you measure it? Is just a smile and a nice feeling put you at a 1, while jumping for joy or rolling in laughter put you at a 10? Does being at the beach fill you will happiness more or less than playing or attending a sport’s event? I leave the answer to you.

 Why is it that one kind of experience gives us a greater feeling of happiness than another? Well probably for the same reasons that one experience makes us mad or sad, while anther gives us happiness. It is how we process and respond to what is going on around us. If you have been reading my articles for awhile, you know the answer – beliefs.

 Let’s try a couple of exercises. You are at a family birthday party and mingling with friends and relatives. How would you rate your level of happiness, 1 least happy, to 10 most happy? Or are you even happy at these kinds of events?

 You are with your immediate family at a carnival or amusement park. You ride some or all of the rides with your kids. Happiness level, 1 – 10, during this event.

 You are at a sports event or playing golf, or fishing. How would you rate this experience, 1 – 10. And so on.

 Try going through scenarios like the ones above where happiness is involved. Rate each one as you did in the previous examples. When you are finished with as many as you can think of, or willing to do, calculate an average ‘happiness number’. This will give you a rough indication of how happy you are overall.

 So what does all this buy you? If you know how happy you are by this somewhat primitive way of measurement, you can choose to improve it by taking actions based on the outcome. While the average number is not likely to reveal beliefs, the individual numbers will.

 Let’s say you had low or non-existent ‘happiness number’ on family gatherings. This revelation will point to a need for looking deeply at your relationships with family members. You can then take steps to do some forgiveness work or whatever seems likely to dismantle the belief(s).

 If you got a low number overall, it is time for you to take some time off and go somewhere to relax, like I am doing now at the beach. Societies today, especially here in the United State, are on a nonstop treadmill. A fasted paced life will kill you; eventually physically, but more importantly, emotionally and mentally.

 I take a week off from my business practice two or three times a year even though I am retired from my previous government job. If you have a fulltime job and/or raising a family, you need time off. The stress involve with these kinds of daily activities is at the very least emotionally destructive.

 To me, happiness is elusive when it comes to identifying or measuring it. I sometimes cannot distinguish between happiness and peacefulness. Maybe they go together for me. I think that if you are happy you might also be peaceful, while if you are peaceful you definitely are happy.

 It is all in the mind, and how you respond to whatever is in your face in any give time. Remember, you are the creator of your life. You get to choose how you want it by your spiritual connection and the beliefs stored in your unconscious. Take a step toward happiness and away from busy-ness.


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