I don’t think happiness is any one unique feeling.
Joy is happiness. Laughter is happiness. Being around your loved ones is happiness. Feeling content, for whatever reason, is happiness. Feeling satisfied and fulfilled is happiness. That feeling you get when you win at something is happiness. Relief is happiness.
If I had a gun at my head to define happiness, I’d define happiness as, Feeling Good.
There have been many studies on happiness, which I’ve highlighted in many articles. One common variable that seems to show up in every study is that generosity boosts happiness.
When you are generous to others, happiness follows.
As an example, a friend called the other day with a complex international tax question that I was able to explain in a way that he understood. He was very appreciative and thanked me for being so helpful.
I felt good after hanging up the phone for about 15 minutes.
On another occasion, I received an email from a first time, self-published author who wanted to know what he needed to do to succeed as an author. I spent about 30 minutes crafting a very long email, bullet pointing key things I felt were critical to my success. I got an email back from this person thanking me profusely.
That feeling of happiness stayed with me for about an hour.
While neither of these two individuals will very likely ever be able to adequately repay me for helping them, I think they already have by allowing me to be generous, which made me happy.
I think the real take away is that we should all devote a portion of every day being of service to others. Being of service to others is a form of generosity and it creates happiness for the person providing that service.
The key is being on the lookout and making yourself aware of opportunities to be of service to others. When you make generosity a daily habit, you’ll be happy every day of your life.