Teen Space

Happiness: Defined & Redefined

Happy young woman on a mountaintop
© Nina Uhlikova / Pexels

You might wonder, “Why define something like happiness? Isn’t it all right to just feel, savour and relish it?” We all have felt happy at some point or hopefully many points in our lives — happiness is a sense of joy, pleasure, well-being, satisfaction, and maybe at times, indulgence. You feel happy when an old friend calls you to catch up, you’re pleased when you ace an examination, you’re overjoyed when you’re thrown a surprise birthday party, you feel good after a workout, you’re satisfied after eating at your favourite restaurant, and you’re ecstatic about indulging in chocolate ice cream while watching a funny movie on the weekend. All of this “makes you feel good” and becomes your definition as well as a recipe for happiness — to do all the things you like.

But have you noticed that this does not last for as long as you may have hoped or expected? Happiness is all of the above pleasures, but it is more than them, too. Imagine grabbing all these fleeting emotions and packing them into a foundation stone that you root deeply in your being such that it is not “short-lived” anymore. That would be the perfect formula for happiness — a deeper sense of meaning and purpose that stays with you so that you’ll never feel low, sad, lost or empty again.

Real and long-lasting happiness comes from doing things that are meaningful and give you a sense of purpose. Things that might seem difficult, but they demand your best and make you feel worthwhile because of the afterglow of satisfaction they arouse in you. That is why being called to every classmate’s birthday party is not as rewarding in the long term as helping a friend in need and bringing a smile to their face knowing that you can be a true friend indeed. Happiness is different from the experience of pleasure on the surface

Cover of the October 2022 issue of The Teenager Today featuring Sriya Lenka

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Dr Shefali Batra is a Psychiatrist and Mindfulness Coach. Connect with her on Instagram @drshefalibatra and read more about her work at drshefalibatra.com.

Dr Shefali Batra

Dr Shefali Batra is a Psychiatrist and Mindfulness Coach. Connect with her on Instagram @drshefalibatra and read more about her work at drshefalibatra.com.