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Numerous research studies have defined happiness as a crucial factor in achieving good mental health and emotional well-being. To feel happy means feeling positive or having pleasant emotions, ranging from feelings of contentment to extreme joy. Many people also say that feeling happy helps them to be fulfilled and satisfied with themselves.
Achieving ultimate happiness is a life-long goal for many people. So, how can we achieve ultimate and lasting happiness?
To be self-aware is to know who you are as an individual and to have a very clear perception of your personality. This includes your needs and wants, wishes and desires, thoughts, beliefs, motivations and emotions, as well as your strengths and weaknesses.
The secret to self-fulfilment is not just to be self-aware, but to be in control of yourself to a point where you can motivate and regulate yourself and your attitude and behaviour, despite the changing external environment.
Self-awareness can help in developing empathy, which in turn supports in developing and maintaining healthy friendships and relationships. These social relationships are fundamental in promoting health and well-being. We feel happy because we know that we are valued by others.
Becoming self-aware can help you to find your purpose in life and assist in setting goals to achieve that purpose. Research has highlighted a positive link between achieving life goals and greater levels of self-satisfaction, self-fulfilment, happiness, health, well-being, and self-worth.
Gratitude creates feelings of happiness because when we are grateful, our brains release 50% more oxytocin which is known as a feel-good ‘cuddle hormone’. This boosts creativity and allows us to feel more positive about ourselves, in turn improving our mental health and well-being.
A positive attitude is linked to leading a more productive and successful life. This is because we are consciously motivated to see the best, not just in ourselves, but also in others. We view the glass as half full and any arising issues as opportunities rather than threats.
Gratitude helps people to behave more generously, offering their time and money in charity to support others. People have found great fulfilment from being generous and making regular donations. For example, some donate a percentage of their salary to charity every month, many Muslims in the UK and across the world use a Zakat calculator to donate 2.5% of their savings each year, and others dedicate their time to volunteer on a regular basis.
Developing meaningful relationships
A meaningful relationship is defined as a relationship with a significant other who is accepting of you – including all your imperfections – who is trusting, inspiring, and motivates you to be the best version of yourself. As humans, we have an innate need to be in social company, to be around family and friends, and develop personal relationships.
According to the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, meaningful relationships help us to thrive emotionally, psychologically, and socially. The knowledge of being cared for, supported and valued is highly important in developing self-belief, self-worth and a sense of belonging. Ultimately, it can also contribute towards developing feelings of self-fulfilment, contentment and happiness.
Having and maintaining meaningful relationships is very important for good mental health and well-being. It helps us to develop resilience in the face of adversity with the knowledge that we have people supporting and believing in us every step of the way.
Meaningful relationships are a two-way process. We need to actively invest our time and energy into developing, maintaining and sustaining these relationships. Empathy is an important feature of these relationships.
We need to develop the ability to hold honest and thoughtful conversations, to actively listen and support our significant other, and to develop the ability to empathise with them in their times of need. Ultimately, we would expect the same from them, after all.
Happiness is an antidote for low mood and feelings of worry and sadness. Leading a happier life means understanding and accepting yourself while finding contentment in the person that you are. It can be tricky to achieve this, yet with a positive attitude and the right people around you, a happier life shouldn’t be too far away.
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