What True Happiness Tangibly Looks Like, According To Experts

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Woman loving herself

We don't often think of happiness as a state of mind. Instead, we view being happy as an emotion — which can often be fleeting and dependent upon a specific circumstance.

When someone asks you when you were happy in your life, most people think back to a moment when they were celebrating something. Or having a great time with friends and family.

Perhaps it was a birthday, or maybe even when a friend surprised you by showing up when you thought they were out of town. Maybe it was when you put on your swimsuit for the first time after losing all that weight and felt good about yourself. Or it might have been when you got butterflies in your stomach the night you met your future spouse. 

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But most of us, when asked, will answer in events or experiences. We rarely stop to think about what we're really suggesting: that happiness is only brought on by things or people or occasions in our lives when we have a reason to be happy.

But happiness — true happiness — is so much more than moments where we recognize that emotion. Happiness can be a real state of mind and being that's brought on by simply choosing to be happy. If you wait around for happiness to come to you, how will you ever know when you're going to be happy? How can you expect that you're going to feel good about something?

Pure joy is fleeting in our lives, but that doesn't mean that we can't have a regular base level of happiness that applies to our everyday lives. Being truly happy doesn't mean waiting around or hinging your hopes on something to come along and bring joy to your life. It means taking the time to realize that you're going to have to create happiness for yourself.

This can seem difficult, and for good reason. Most people live from moment to moment, looking to the future for something to bring them a smile. But it doesn't have to be this way, and yes, there is a way to make happiness a real part of your everyday life. YourTango Experts explain 4 reasons happiness is more than an emotion, plus how to be happier every day.

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Here is what true happiness actually tangibly looks like, according to YourTango experts:

1. It comes from within — not from external sources

“Happiness is an ‘inside job.' We cannot expect someone or something else outside of us to ‘make’ us happy. (I’ll only be happy if or when…) Though it is a wonderful bonus to have exciting things happen! If we are always putting it in the future, we will never feel happy, it will always be in the future. We always have a choice as to how we feel about anything, even if we aren’t aware of it.  

Learning to love yourself just the way you are is an excellent start to being happy. When we can love ourselves, we are not waiting for someone else to do it for us. We are being responsible for how we feel ourselves. When you love yourself you are okay no matter what happens, you can support yourself through testing times, and you are there for yourself.”

Deborah Anderson is a certified Law of Attraction coach and registered Louise L Hay Heal Your Life Workshop Leader. She coaches midlife women who are at a crossroads in their lives and helps them to find their life purpose. 

2. It's more than a fleeting sensation

“Cultivating happiness is an art. Each and every moment, we choose what we want to focus on or what to emphasize in our minds. We can either pull in past events that create the same emotional feelings we experienced before, or we can choose to release those and move forward to be completely present. 

We should always be looking for the positive aspects, in order to create uplifting feelings of connection with people and with ourselves. In this way, we can manifest new experiences of joy, and unexpected miracles can appear.

Mood can be boosted with some healthful foods or supplements, but when we choose to have a calm, peaceful, and positive state of mind, happiness can truly be a state of being.”

Nancy Addison is an educator, best-selling author, international speaker, healthy chef, and radio show host.

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3. Happiness is a decision you actively make

“We all long for that promised pursuit of happiness, yet many people discover the pursuit can become exhausting. The secret to happiness — and living in a state of being happy — is to decide to be happy. You accept it as fact and allow it to flow through you.

Then, rather than the hustle of chasing happiness, you’ll find all the ways in which you already embody all that happiness means to you — like joy, peace, love, and beauty.”

Debra Smouse is a life coach and author

4. Happiness is a mental "state" we must achieve

“We think about happiness as a state of emotional euphoria. We think happiness has to have a “wow” factor, like a trip to Disney World. We set ourselves up for failure when we do that. It’s not realistic or sustainable.

True happiness is a mindset. It’s being present in all the small joys and gifts that happen every day, even in the midst of huge challenges and heartbreaks. It’s choosing to focus on the good things that happen instead of focusing on the bad.

You really can choose happiness.”

—​Gretchen Martens is an author, speaker, coach, and happiness expert who helps support people in their pursuit of life transformation and change.

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Merethe Najjar is a professional writer, editor, and award-winning fiction author. Her articles have been featured in The Aviator Magazine, Infinite Press, Yahoo, BRIDES, and more.