Deconstructing happiness…sounds dangerous and full of risk, doesn’t it? When we deconstruct something, there is always the risk of discovering something we did not want to see, or even the risk of being unable to reassemble what we have taken apart. So why would we want to deconstruct happiness?
Simple. Like Fraulein Maria sings in “The Sound of Music:”
“Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. When you read, you begin with A-B-C, when you sing you begin with Do-Re-Mi.”
When you Laugh, You Begin With “Ha Ha Ha!”
Before I get into some of my other laughter, happiness, and positivity articles, I think this is a good foundational start. We have discussed Laughter Yoga with some specificity in other articles. In this article, I will attempt to break down the concept of happiness, which may seem simple on the surface (and it is), but there are many dimensions and layers to understanding personal happiness, enrichment, and satisfaction. I am NOT going to try and cover the entire spectrum of happiness, satisfaction, and positive psychology. Instead, I want to examine a few different dimensions of what we typically call “happiness,” and answer a few basic questions.
What does it mean to be happy?
Each of us measures happiness based on who we are: what our ethics and morals are, what our culture has dictated about things like satisfaction and mores, and the myriad elements of our personal and professional lives. To even attempt to cover all of the dimensions of what constitutes an individuals’ dimensions of happiness would be nearly impossible. I’d probably break Google. And while I’d like to meet Jeff Bezos, I don’t want it to be THAT way!
Is it enough to say that happiness is how we generally feel on a day-to-day basis, and our overall feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment? In scientific circles, this is known as affect. A happy person is considered to have a Positive Affect. Conversely, unhappiness is known as having a negative affect. To keep it simple, affect is your overall mood.
Can we measure something like happiness?
Well, believe it or not, one of the simplest happiness measures is called the PANAS – the Positive and Negative Affect Scale. It is a simple questionnaire that gives a snapshot of your mood. A high affect score means that you are generally happy. A negative affect score indicates you may be generally unhappy. Take the PANAS for FREE here.
It is important to remember that the PANAS is just a measure of your mood when you took it, which is why I refer to it as a snapshot. Through many years of scientific study, though, the tool has proven to be very reliable.
There are many, many other happiness and satisfaction measures. With my coaching clients, we explore several happiness measurements, many of which can be found on the Authentic Happiness website through the University of Pennsylvania website where the PANAS is taken. All of the questionnaires are free and can be taken by anyone that has an account.
“Knowing is Half the Battle”
G.I. Joe and his army knew what they were talking about!
Knowing IS only half of the battle…but it is an important half. Being able to measure and recognize your happiness and satisfaction levels only TELL, with very little SHOW.
So how do we get from knowing to getting benefits from our self-awareness? By purposefully creating happiness all around you!
Notice earlier we did not say that happiness was an end result or a destination? By creating happiness, I am not talking about manic good cheer, or laughing at every life challenge.
How can we “create” happiness?
Laughter Yoga, Positive Psychology, and Authentic Leadership, of course!
I will be writing more about all of these topics in coming articles, but my whole coaching model is centered around the personal and professional benefits of unconditional laughter, and how the body and mind respond to natural laughter. When you have learned to use laughter as an exercise and when you have embraced the whole body/mind experience that extended, non-humor based laughter can provide; you immediately “get” what I’m talking about.
When we purposefully laugh, with no need for jokes or humor, we create a powerful experience that is felt at the individual and group level. Laughter Yoga creates lasting and genuine happiness.
It really is that simple!
CLICK HERE for a few videos that highlight the basic philosophy of Laughter Yoga. If this message of laughter and happiness resonates with you, please contact me to talk about bringing happiness and Laughter Yoga to you! Whether you want to laugh by yourself, get a group of friends and family together, or introduce Laughter Yoga at your next corporate training, I am eager to work with YOU!
Remember my mission is simple: “Spreading Mirth on Earth!”