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"The first ingredient of political stability is an informed citizen... And the first ingredient of social justice is an enlightened society. Education is thus the key to global peace and prosperity."

- Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General

the pursuit of happiness

By Editor on 01 June 2012

Happiness can be defined as the state of being happy. But what is happiness? What truly brings us happiness? And how can we individually define it? To try to do this, we really have to be honest with ourselves, think about what determines our happiness and the different ways we try to gain it in our lives. We are all different and have different things that make us happy. However similarly, we all want to be happy. Whether it is spending time with family and friends, enjoying a sport or hobby, even succeeding at a work goal, we feel a level of joy, contentment, accomplishment and satisfaction in our lives when we experience it. It is this emotion of happiness that thrives us and then drives us to chase after it. However if we look at this pursuit of happiness from a distance, we start to realize this chase can be compared to a mouse running on a treadmill after a piece of cheese it considers happiness. But is this really the peace we are searching for?

If we stop to consider how we find happiness, we are usually looking for it outside ourselves. When we buy something new like a great pair of shoes, an amazing dress or finally get the latest iPad, we definitely get that over-the-moon feeling of excitement and happiness but for how long? It is fair to conclude that the pursuit of material items can make us happy for the moment, but unfortunately it tends to be short lived and more of a fleeting emotion. And as the feelings diminish, we are left with the desire for happiness again and begin the search for something else.

Now if we take a moment and reflect on great experiences or events in our life, the people we love and that love us back ... these memories bring back feelings of great pleasure and joy in our life. We hold onto these memories like little treasures we picked up along our life journey. They provide us with a warm comfort and longer lasting feelings of happiness of wonderful things in our life. So how can we preserve and maintain these feelings in our everyday lives?

Now again sit for a moment and observe yourself. Happiness is a natural, innate emotion that is already part of us and in our nature. How evident is this fact by just witnessing a new baby experience happiness. We are all born with the fundamental awareness of happiness. We just need to refocus our attention, look inwards and start the search from within. Inside each and every one of us, there is the ability to be happy and peaceful. We need to learn (or relearn) to think, feel and be more positive in our life to hold onto the sense of happiness. It might sound simple enough but does take time and practice. You are the most important person in your life and deserve to enjoy all the benefits life has to offer. By dedicating the time on yourself and consciously reflecting on things you love which brings you joy, in essence all the good things in your life, the more time you will enjoy true happiness during your day. Everyone can find their own way to access their inner self whether through meditation, yoga, exercise or prayer and can come closer to finding that internal place of peace and happiness. It is important to just begin the process and even as simple as starting to meditate a minute a day. And then with time, slowly building this up to what works for you. By creating gateways toward this place, your life can become fuller, your relationships can be more loving and you can increase long lasting happiness in your own life including those around you.

Live a happy day smile