Today is International Happiness Day, and it’s a little ironic that we need a commemorative day to remind us to celebrate happiness.

Which begs the question – what is happiness?

Multiple books have been written about it. Will Smith starred in a show about the pursuit of it. Academics have debated over it. Consumer products and politicians promise it.

Why does it seem that everyone wants to achieve happiness? And is happiness really that important?

While I’m no academic or scientist, I’m of the view that happiness is a choice we make, regardless of circumstance.

If we based our sense of happiness on external things; stuff that will “make me” happy, it becomes a slippery slope.

So for example, if I believed that happiness is when I have enough to eat, a place to sleep, a job to go to – what happens when I lose all these things? Or if I said to myself that I’ll only be happy if I went to a certain school, or married a certain person, or commanded a salary of a certain amount – would that guarantee my happiness?

A percentage of those who do possess these things, aren’t happy.

The thing is, happiness that is based on the external, fluctuates. What “makes” you happy now, may not “make” you happy later.

Happiness is a dynamic concept that changes and evolves as we grow through the different seasons of life. Perhaps that is what makes it scientifically difficult to measure and study.

I believe that happiness is distinct from other intrinsic qualities such as sense of security, fulfilment, contentment, gratitude, self-actualisation. It is a by-product; an emotional overflow of those ideals.

When we are happy by choice and not by circumstance, we achieve something that is resilient, vibrant and stable because it is cultivated from within.

It’s a great day to be alive on International Happiness Day, and an excellent opportunity to redefine what happiness means to you.

For me, happiness just is.  :)

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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