Category Archives: Well-being

What is happiness? One thing

I was recently reminded of this short blog called “What is Happiness? One thing” which I posted back in August 2015. My belief in what I wrote still stands, probably stronger than ever. What is your thought? Has the impact of COVID-19 changed anything in your perspective of what happiness is?

“A few weeks ago, I was sitting at a cafe on a beautiful afternoon engaged in a pleasant conversation with a friend. At some point, he asked me, “Yuli, you are a psychotherapist. So…what is happiness?”

I remembered that my first real encounter with the word ‘happiness’ occurred when I was twelve years old. The topic engaged me and I wrote an elaborate essay :-). Since then, I had moved past the idea of happiness to other more tangible concepts like joy, love, fulfillment, and change. “So what is happiness?” my friend asked. The answer came surprisingly fast.

“It is noticing”, I said. “I am happy now. Aren’t you?” He hesitated, clearly not sure that this moment would qualify as happiness.

Yes, I am happy many times throughout the day. So are you. Have you noticed it?

You just laughed at a joke, you whistled, you sang along to an upbeat song on the radio, you smiled at a stranger passing by, you jumped with joy as your favorite baseball team scored, you leaned back re-reading your work and thought, “I am good at this”. You found a great spot at a restaurant, the meal your partner made delighted your senses and brought a wave of appreciation, you were touched, friends’ eyes looked at you with care, your lover whispered an inside joke and you burst out laughing, the cashier at the supermarket smiled warmly and offered someone to help you with your bags. And so the list goes on…

It is not stopping to smell the roses. It is a cultivated state of mind. It is allowing you to register your state of joy, lingering in it, expanding it, and appreciating it.

My life is far from perfect and every day I can get disappointed, sad, frustrated, or fearful. When these moments appear, I notice them too and sometimes I let them take me down. I may sit there for a bit, sometimes for a while but I eventually come up to the surface and get on with my life. I have learned to do this. It has not come easy.

Right now, you are able to read this article and think your own thoughts. You are free to choose what to notice. Choose happiness.