Many of us believe that the more we have, the happier we are. But is it really the truth?
As economy develops, we seems to be able to live a better life. Earning money to buy the things that we desire, that’s how it goes. But do these material possessions always guarantee long-lasting happiness?
There might be a time that you have been saving money to buy yourself something, like a new gadget, a luxury car, or a grand apartment. Yes, you might be uplifted at the moment but the delight never lasts. The happiness recedes after a day, a week, a month, a year, or a decade. The new gadget will become old, the luxury car will depreciate, the grand apartment will become boring.
The truth is that although we have much more than the previous generations do, we are not happy as we are supposed to be.
Probably we have fallen into traps which keep us away from the long-lasting happiness that we have been chasing for throughout our lives. Check if you have fallen into one of these 3 traps and try to get rid of them:
We play hard but become slaves of desires
There is a kind of people who always play hard and sometimes we call them the hedonist. The hedonists always strive to maximize pleasure and hunt for excitement to satisfy their desires without realizing the negative side of their behaviors. They only look for pleasure and try to escape from pain. It is not uncommon that they would gradually become the slaves of desires with only vanity left after the excitement fades away.
We work hard but suffer from the pain
The busy bee is the exact opposite of the hedonist. They work hard in exchange for more material possessions. They look for the pleasure that comes in the future but suffer from the present pain. They do not realize that they are just running on a treadmill, running hard but only marking time. Ironically, the material possessions that they work hard for can only give them temporary happiness.
We do nothing hard but lose the passion of life and the hope of future
Then, you might think that it is better not to play hard or work hard. However, being a nihilist can neither guarantee you long-lasting happiness. Being a nihilist is the worst case because the nihilists believe that life is meaningless. They do not enjoy what they have got at the moment, nor do they have any hope for the future. Without passion and hope, one can hardly have feel any kind of happiness.
We spend years living our lives on this planet and it would be a pity if we cannot get a taste of what it is like to be truly happy. Easy come, easy go. The long-lasting happiness that keeps us living our lives passionately is something that worth us spending time to build. There is something we can do to pursue the happiness that lasts a lifetime.
1. Capture and collect positive emotions
To put it simply, the more positive emotions you capture in a day, the more likely your happiness sustains.
Positive emotions are not limited to joy and excitement. Psychologists say that positive emotions also include joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and love.  These positive emotions can broaden and build our long-lasting psychological, intellectual, physical and social resources which increase our well-beings.
Try to capture and collect your positive emotions every day. Keep a diary or take some photos. Instead of recording what happens, describe how you feel is rather more important. This will build your psychological resource and one day it will remind you what kinds of positive emotions you have experienced.
2. Engage with what you do
Wanderers with no goals often feel unhappy. They disconnect with the world and tend to be over-absorbed in their emotions or abstract, unexplainable thoughts. They are on a road to nowhere.
But instead, if we are more present in our lives and feel engaged with whatever we do or say, we can feel more grounded and happier. Being engaged prevents your mind from wandering and stops you from overthinking too much. On the other hand, when you are engaged in something, maybe your job or your hobby, you work for improvement and accomplishment. The pleasure of eventually achieving something gives you the feeling of pride and also makes whatever you are doing meaningful.
3. Derive meaning from everything you do
If we can’t find any meaning in what we do, we tend to have a sense of loss, thinking that we have wasted our time and energy. It is just like the nihilists who think life is meaningless and a waste of time.
Frankly, there are some times that we really find something meaningless. Those things that are supposed to disappoint or frustrate us are exactly what keep us from the long-lasting happiness. Try to derive meaning from them and think in the other way round. Losing a competition might be a chance for you to realize your room for improvement; failing in a interview might be a chance for you to look for a better opportunity.
4. Build in-depth relationships with others
We always need some kinds of connections with people, friends, families, and lovers. But what makes us feel satisfied from relationships is not the quantity but the quality.
Some might be satisfied with the fame but it is only the vanity. An in-depth relationship is a totally different story. It allows you to open up your mind fearlessly. You can have deep chats with your friends, hearing their stories and telling yours. You do not only gain practical support but also emotional supports from them. There is nothing better than being deeply known by someone who knows you better than yourself and speaks your mind.
5. Broaden your definitions of success
Success is not only about winning a game or trumping others. It can mean completing things you want to do or should do. It can be small or big, which does not really matter. It can be as simple as finishing a small task on your work. Sometimes people judge and they define the meaning of success as numbers. But bear in mind that you are the only one who can define your success.
And by celebrating your accomplishments, even the smallest ones, every day can make you happier. Just because of finishing a small task on your work, you can celebrate it by giving yourself a little treat. It is the mark showing that you are capable of achieving something and giving you a sense of pride.
Be happy and shine like a diamond
Happiness is sometimes a very abstract idea and we might be lost on the road to the long-lasting happiness. The pursuit of happiness is a lifelong lesson that we all have to take. But once you and I get the clues, we will all shine like a diamond, with an everlasting shiny light that everyone would admire.