Secret To Happiness

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What is happiness--and what is it not? People have agonized over this question from time immortal, but only recently has science begun to weigh in on the debate. From the definition point of view in its different forms with of course same meaning, happiness is a state of well-being that encompasses living a good life that is, with a sense of meaning and deep satisfaction. Research shows that happiness is not the result of bouncing from one joy to the next; achieving happiness typically involves times of considerable discomfort.

Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being which can be defined by, among others, positive or pleasant  emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. Happiness as the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one's life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile. Happiness is a sense of well-being, joy, or contentment. When people are successful, or safe, or lucky, they feel happiness. The "pursuit of happiness" is something this life is based on, and different people feel happiness for different reasons. The World Happiness Report 2018 ranks 156 countries by their happiness levels. 

The whole religious and mythological scriptures are full of discussions about happiness, its role in human life, and methods to achieve happiness.  In a brief discourse about happiness, its forms, importance and means in one’s life are well documented in Upanishadas as: Om, May All become Happy, May All be Healthy (Free from Illness), May All See what is Auspicious, May no one Suffer in  any way.  Accordingly, Saat Sukh - सात सुख - Seven Happiness described by our ancestors are as:  1-Pehla Sukh Nirogi kaya (Fit Body). 2- Doosra Sukh Ghar mein ho maya (Laxmi / Money / Wealth).  3- Teesra Sukh Pativarta Nari (loyal and devoted wife). 4-Chautha Sukh Putra Aaagyakari (obedient Son). 5- Paanchwa Sukh Ho sunder vaas (Beautiful Home). 6-Chatha Sukh Ho sajan/sajni paas (Husband and Wife Living together).  7- Saatvaan Sukh Ho mitra sachhe (True Friends).

Recently, the study which started during 1938 Great Depression has revealed that relationships are the strongest influence on happiness. According to an 80-year-old Harvard study, good friends are more important to happiness than success or money. The study, the longest one on adult life, started tracking 268 Harvard students during the Great Depression in 1938.  Eighty years later, researchers have revealed how happy we are in our relationships has a strong influence on happiness, and as a result, on our overall health.  The men included in the study were given regular interviews and questionnaires throughout the course of the study. Nineteen of the original recruits are still alive and now the men’s offspring too are included in the study. Researchers studied their health and broader lives of the participants, including things like how successful their careers and marriages turned out to be and found good friends protected people from mental and physical decline, and gave a better idea of how long someone's life will be than their social class, IQ or genes. Speaking about it, said Robert Waldinger, director of the study, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, said, “The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health,” adding, “Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too. Researchers found that the quality of people's relationships at 50 was a better predictor of physical health than their cholesterol levels. The people who were the most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80’s. The results showed that participants who had a nurturing family environment early in life were more likely to have secure relationships in their 80s.

This type of systematic and well documented study on happiness so called as a scientific study also strength what it is mentioned in religious and mythological scriptures about happiness.  The study mention about the need and role of true friends in one’s life which simply supports the seventh happiness mentioned above i.e., Saatvaan Sukh Ho mitra sachhe (True Friends).

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