An inspiring guest-post by Kita Szpak, which focuses on happiness as “a pleasurable or satisfying experience ” (Webster). Kita Szpak is a writer, arts promoter and communicator based in Ottawa, Canada.

People have been pondering over this question for years and I am one of those people. What interests me is the fact that to be happier, one has to already be happy or be in a state where personal happiness does/can exist. Because happiness, like any other emotion is relative, what makes me happy may be the “what” that makes you happier. Let’s use a simple example to illustrate this point: My husband brings me flowers every Friday night when he comes home from work. This act of kindness makes me happy. Your partner never brings you flowers, and you would be happier if they took the time and effort to do so. Sounds straightforward enough but we need to take this a step further.

Measuring degrees of happiness – less happy, somewhat happy, happy, happier – can be done by finding out what effect an external action will have on someone. A pleasant event, gesture or emotion will elevate someone’s happiness quotient but it will only do this for a short while. Once you start receiving flowers from your partner on a regular basis, the “happier” state reverts to “happy” or even “somewhat happy” once the newness or novelty of the positive action wears off. In other words, if you are looking for external stimuli to make you happier, this approach will only work temporarily, and will likely leave you frustrated in the long run.

Where the “happier” dial stays on “happier” is in the act of looking internally – inside yourself –to become aware, to accept, to find meaning, to grow in resilience and respect, and to take care of yourself as someone who is continually “becoming”. It is in this continual state of evolving that being happier can and does occur.

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