Small statements = Profound happiness

“If you want to be happy, be.”- Leo Tolstoy

Emotions add dynamic and flavor to a world that is slowly starting to resemble a dystopian society. Sadness, anger, happiness and love are psychological states that create a physical change or reaction within us (Myers 2013). Emotions are innate; it helps you face challenges, focuses your mind and energizes your actions (Cyders & Smith 2008; Myers 2013). Everyone has been overwhelmed by some emotion at one time in their life. A moment of true happiness in my life was as a result of a few words that gave greater meaning to my choice of profession. Ever since I could remember my life’s goal was to become a teacher; a teacher, who has the ability to open up her students to the possibilities of life, helping them to reach their potential and to cultivate a deep passion for continuous learning within them. Therefore, I got my degree and have been a Teacher Aide for about one year, while I am confident that I still want to be a teacher, the education system is flawed and institutions are dysfunctional, to say the least. But one day, while in a hot, classroom on a sunny afternoon, trying to cover content and engage the students in the lesson, a student said “Miss, I think you should be a permanent teacher now, you’re very good and we actually understand.” It was such a small statement but it was music to my ears and it made my soul rejoice. I am truly happy when I am in front of a classroom educating the future generation.

Happiness is determined by intrinsic factors, personal perceptions and life experiences. American psychologist Albert Ellis, best known for his development of rational emotive behavior therapy believed that it is irrational to search for happiness in tangible, external environments but rather “happiness depends on our interpretations of events (Hale 2016).”

Our interpretations of events and cognitive reflections are important in one’s happiness, like that replay of a conversation that you were embarrassed about, your state of enjoyment around friends or the quality of your work environment. According to Psychology Today, it is only a minute portion that actually deals with how you feel while “the rest is the product of mental arithmetic, when you compute your expectations, your ideals, your acceptance of what you can’t change — and countless other factors (Biswas-Diener and Kashdan 2013).” This strangely corresponds with the philosophical eudaimonic view that happiness is the pursuit of becoming a better person by challenging oneself intellectually or by engaging in activities that make one spiritually richer (Clark 2010). So maybe Tolstoy was right and you can just be happy on demand because it is a state of mind.

Cognitive Reflections come in various forms.

On the other hand, Ashley Montagu’s statement on the subject of happiness is worth pondering: “the moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us.” This quote resembles the philosophical hedonistic view that happiness can be found outside of the individual in various circumstances and events. Similarly, Myer (2013) highlights mood-boosting experiences like finding money or recalling a happy event, results in people performing more good deeds like volunteering time, giving charity or holding the door for someone. Accordingly, my position as Teacher Aide is stressful and at times quite frustrating but moments where students acknowledge my passion, commitment and affection for them is immensely rewarding and truly energizes me and motivates me to continue guiding them through the learning process.

Ultimately, happiness is a state of being that one can reach by living life understanding who you are, appreciating the moments and not going through the motions

Pointers on Happiness?

· Take the time to do something you enjoy.

· Realize that happiness may not come from monetary gains.

· Act happy — the old, fake it until you make it actually works.

· Exercise — movement of the body relieves stress and anxiety and promotes health and energy.

· Count your blessings daily and express your gratitude to others.

· Prioritize close relationships because confiding in someone is good for your soul.

References

Anderson, Sarah. 2016. In Public. Image. https://www.facebook.com/DoodleTimeSarah/photos/a.640016586017990.1073741826.640010012685314/1292499277436381/?type=3&theater.

Biswas-Diener, Robert and Todd B. Kashdan. 2013. “What Happy People Do Differently”. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201307/what-happy-people-do-differently.

Clark, Josh. 2010. “What Is Happiness?”. Howstuffworks. http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/what-is-happiness.htm.

Hale, Jamie. 2016. “What Makes Us Happy? | Psych Central”. Psych Central. http://psychcentral.com/lib/what-makes-us-happy/.

Myers, David G. 2013. Psychology. 10th ed. New York: Worth Publishers.

Poetic Paradise,. 2016. Road To Happiness. Image. http://happy.worldpeacefull.com/wp-content/uploads/happiness.jpg.