We all want it. But how does one achieve it? And if it can be achieved, what does it even mean?
Many of our lives look good on paper; thus, we have a tendency to feel guilty for feeling anxious or depressed, which then leads to even more negative feelings. How could seemingly stable people with nice lives have the audacity to feel down? If only we could all choose happiness.
There is a short-term happiness Aristotle called hedonia. It’s the feeling of happiness we receive from pleasure. It’s the dose of serotonin in our brains that makes us feel alive, but that’s just what it is: a dose. It does not last. Sometimes we mistake this for true happiness, then we find ourselves engrossed in sadness again when the high passes.
Aristotle, in addition, coined a term used to describe sustained happiness: eudaimonia, the happiness received from fulfillment. It translates to “good spirit,” a state of being. This means that peace and hope are so deeply-rooted in the soul that nothing external can shake it.
Eudaimonia, furthermore, is not something one can achieve by simply waking up and choosing it. Happiness, the lasting kind we seek, is a practice.
So, how does one practice happiness exactly?
We practice it by filling our cups daily—physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, etc. We must be intentional about doing good for our bodies, minds, and souls. Whether it’s reading or dancing, cooking or exploring in nature, surfing or listening to music, spending time with friends and family, or journaling—the list is endless. Whatever it is that fills your soul, do that. Do something every day to practice your own happiness.
My mom told me once something that has stuck with me: “The sooner you stop counting on anyone but yourself to make you happy, the happier you’ll be.” Not because others don’t have the power to make you happy—believe me, they do—but you cannot rely on anyone else to fill your cup. It is your job to fill it to the brim; the rest is a glorious overflow.
Give to yourself daily. Be intentional about loving yourself. This is how you achieve eudaimonia.