Is it normal to pursue happiness?

Yes, although that does not make it our only goal in life

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Everyone, due to temperament and the circumstances of their life, experiences moments when it is extremely difficult to feel happy. This should never been understood as a personal failure. Coping with life’s changes is always a challenge to the fragile balance that keeps us happy. Sometimes, therefore, we need to make adjustments that require a great deal of flexibility and creativity.

But changes aren’t the only thing that can keep us from being happy.Some illnesses such as depression entail symptoms that include loss of interest in life and sadness. In these cases, the most important thing is not if the people suffering from these conditions are more or less happy. What matters is early detection of the illness and special treatment that alleviates depression and offers people the tools to confront the disease.

Knowing ourselves well and learning to accept the circumstances with which life sometimes presents us, with hope and confidence in the future, will help us achieve a state of satisfaction with our own life, which if not precisely happiness, can seem like it to a large extent.

Try to be happy and make others happy. With these Golden Rules of Happiness we want to help you to be happy.

  1. Happiness is best understood as a state of satisfaction with one’s own life that is relatively stable, more than just a moment of great enthusiasm or enjoyment.
  2. Complete happiness is achieved through a state of harmony with oneself, with others and with life itself.This state is difficult to reach and maintain, and so not being completely happy should never be viewed as a personal failure.
  3. In general, a highly fulfilling life is the result of having sufficient interpersonal relationships, an adequate sense of control and life projects that are meaningful and which convey the feeling that your contribution to the world is worth it.
  4. Life changes such as starting a job, having a child, children becoming independent or retirement present a challenge to the balance that sustains happiness and entail readjustments that sometimes demand a great deal of flexibility and creativity.
  5. While uncommon, some people, because of their temperament, find it very easy (or very difficult) to maintain a consistent level of happiness. Others, however, have a larger range of variation, and depending on the life that they build, can be more or less happy.
  6. While taking advantage of all moments of enjoyment is very important, satisfaction and happiness go beyond this, and include such things as activities, learning and challenges.
  7. Some strategies that can trigger feelings of happiness are being grateful regularly for the good things we have or that are happening to us and being reasonably optimistic about the future.
  8. Adversity can significantly affect personal happiness.While in most case its effects are temporary, in others hardship can have more lasting consequences.
  9. Being happy is a natural human desire, but this doesn’t mean it is our only goal. In fact, many people make a life decision at a given time that is contrary to their happiness and is made for the happiness of others or to preserve important values such as authenticity or justice.
  10. Happiness is an asset that is shared at the societal level.What we do every day has a certain impact on our happiness and the happiness of others. For this reason, in the medium term, the most effective thing is to try and increase our happiness without diminishing the happiness of others, whether they are close to us or not.
Gonzalo Hervás

Professor of Psychology, Universidad Complutense de Madrid