How to Find Happiness

 Happy man hugs childHugs give happiness. Celebrate Happiness Happens month.
(Photo by Antonio Tomas Oliviveria)

August has arrived, which means the introduction to National Happiness Happens Month.  Not only is the entire month dedicated to being happy, but two weeks in the month have significant happiness connotations as well. National Happiness Happens month includes National Smile Week and National Friendship Week.

Since this month is filled with joy and happiness, I felt that in order to fully understand what my month should consist of, I must first find out about the true definition of happiness.

To do this, I watched a documentary and researched the story of the classic philosopher, Epicurus, who was known to be the philosopher of happiness. Epicurus was the founder of the school of philosophy called Epicureanism, which, for lack of a better term, is the study of divine intervention and the greatest form of happiness that can be attained. What I learned from Epicurus I hope to share with you now, so that together we can figure out what makes people happy. Today, I want to think about how we can apply this to our everyday lives, in order to be a happy person, especially this August.

Epicurus - the philosopher of happiness

Epicurus – the “Philosopher of Happiness”

Of the main things I took away from what Epicurus described as happiness was the equation that happiness = pleasure. So, from this, I decided to think about what gives me pleasure. Everybody has their own form of pleasure, which is what gives everyone their own form of happiness. This, to me, is the first essential fact you must know before you begin to realize how to create your own happiness.

I extracted from this ideology that finding your own pleasure is the key to how to find happiness. So, if you say that you find pleasure in eating well-crafted cheese with a fine wine, then by eating the cheese and drinking a fine wine you are finding happiness.

Except, this is partial happiness. The point of happiness isn’t being happy at certain points of the day, but rather to find an infinite happiness that, in your head, will never abandon you and will be a constant emotion in your life.

So, from here the question is how do we find the meaning of joy, at every time of the day, everyday of our lives to create eternal pleasure and then happiness?

How to Find Happiness with Epicureanism

Epicurus believed one instance in finding such happiness is to discontinue false beliefs that come into your head. Among them, is one belief that our daily deeds and thoughts are being judged, letting other people get into our head and toy with our emotions.  The other belief is that death is something we fear. His conclusion is that if we take these thoughts out of our head, we can enter a state he calls “ataraxia,” which is the freedom from all worries. A state of truly being happy.

Another step to eternal happiness is to distinguish necessary and unnecessary desires. Desiring to be free from bodily pain is necessary and can make you a happy person, whereas an unnecessary desire, like a luxurious car or a fancy meal for dinner, produce unhappiness due to the mind’s need for more.

Generally, Epicurus’ definition of happiness isn’t precisely to find things that please us. Instead, it’s so much simpler. Epicurus perfectly defined happiness as the pleasure of having the absence of pain. Once you eliminate any absence of mental pain, whether it’s from stress, wanting more out of life, hoping for anything, etc., you can find happiness.

I think that’s the most accurate definition of happiness that you can find.

Epicurean Advice for Being Happy

Don’t put negative thoughts in your head that make you worry.
Don’t feel the obligation for need, or that there are some things missing in your life.
Simply focus on one thing and that is that life is pleasurable.
If there’s one thing in your life that you know is for certain, it’s that you are alive.

Hotei Japanese Laughing Buddha or God of Happiness

Hotei, the Japanese Laughing Buddha or God of Happiness
(Photo by Andrea Schaffer)

August isn’t only a month of letting happiness happen in your life. It’s a series of days that will allow you to spread your life’s pleasures with the people who matter most. To attain happiness is to absorb pleasures and to live without the thought of luxuries and unnecessary things. Epicurus believed, much like Buddhist philosophy, that the meaning of joy can be found in the absence of pain.

So, for Happy National Happiness Happens Month: Go smile. Go love. Control your mind. But above all, live. Live in happiness.

Celebrate the lives of people you love, and the happiness they bring you everyday,
with Everlasting Footprint.

About Brandon Plotnick

Brandon Plotnick is a student at Florida State University, majoring in the Editing, Writing, and Media program in the English department, with a focus on sports journalism and media production. He has written for Florida State’s student newspaper, The FSView, as well as a Greek Life newsletter, The Odyssey, in his time at Florida State University. His dream is to cover South Florida professional athletics as a sports writer. Brandon was born and raised in Weston, Florida, and currently has a residence in South Florida.

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