Surprise, surprise! Scientists have proof of how you can be happy.
And their advice on how to achieve happiness echoes the beautiful thought in these lines:
“Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued is always beyond our grasp but if you will sit down quietly, may light upon you.” -Nathaniel Hawthorn
The message here is, don’t chase happiness. Let it come to you spontaneously, of its own sweet will.
But how many of us allow ourselves to wait in a relaxed way for that moment of happiness? Almost all the time we do things with the expectation that they will make us happy. And when that does not happen, we feel let down and low in spirits.
Yes, this does sound like oft-heard-but-hard-to-follow advice. Now here is the surprising thing: scientists have solid reasoning to support what philosophers have always taught.
In May 2011, researchers at the University of Denver concluded that women who were overly focussed on achieving happiness had trouble actually achieving it. Yes, it could be because they set their happiness standards too high, or because they gave more importance to their own happiness rather than building good relationships with others around them.
Whatever the reason, there was one thing scientists were sure about: it is much more effective to focus on doing things that make you happy, rather than pursue that elusive ideal called happiness…
To this I would like to add my own advice: don’t always do things with an eye on the results. I have realized that broken expectations are among the greatest reasons for unhappiness. And then, why place the burden of expectation on others to make you happy? Do it because you like it, and want to. That should be enough.
Do you agree?