Happiness is defined differently by people who are asked what it means to them. For instance, when mental health clients are asked by a therapist how often they feel happy, it is often difficult for them to respond. To answer the therapist’s question, they must purposely consider the word “happiness” and try to connect it to the joyful feelings they may have once had on a frequent basis. They may be at a point where they have even lost interest in feeling joy. Responses to the question of “How often do you find yourself happy?” are purely subjective; their brand of happiness may not be anything that resembles happiness for other people.
Even for the mentally and emotionally healthy, replying to the question of frequency of happy feelings may be challenging. It may be difficult to recall the last time they truly felt true happiness without conflicting emotions such as guilt, anxiety, or underlying feelings of confusion. Genuine happiness may not have been experienced since youth or young adulthood. Life’s frustrations or setbacks may have interrupted the kind of happiness they experienced earlier in life. However, these people easily recall the feelings and wish to get them back.
In these cases, it is often easier to reply. The answer may come quickly for those who have not experienced emotional traumas earlier in life. They may report being able to feel happy on a daily basis, or at least frequently. All seems to be well in their world. They are emotionally healthy, and along with that, they are physically healthy. Each day holds a sense of adventure with some delightful experience always just around the corner. For these people, there is a feeling of optimism that provides happiness, sometimes for no apparent reason. They seem to be happy people, generally, and in most situations. Even when it would be natural to succumb to sadness or anxiety, for instance with the death of a loved one, they are able to rebound quickly without abnormally lengthy adverse effects. Many have a spiritual foundation that anchors them to optimistic views of life and provides strength. Others simply do not worry excessively about what they cannot control. They have the feeling that life is good and will remain so.
To be able to answer the question of how often you find yourself happy in a positive manner, it is necessary to leave pessimism and self-doubt in the past. Unpleasant memories need to be dealt with when they surface so that they do not cloud the skies and make true happiness impossible. Getting past old issues, opening up to new ways of thinking, and focusing on the more positive aspects of life will get you on the right track to finding yourself happy much more frequently and with more intensity. When this work is done, you will be able to answer that you find yourself happy frequently, or perhaps even every day.
If it takes professional help to guide you to happiness again, or more frequently, or with more intensity, seek it. A good counselor can direct you in ways that are seldom possible with self-help alone. If it is a matter of reconnecting with family or old friends, take that road. If it is a deeper connection with God or another spiritual direction, take the path that leads you there. If you have medical conditions or are on medications that interfere with the emotion of happiness, discuss this with your physician and see if he or she can make adjustments. If you are surrounded by people who steal your joy, remove them from your life and make new friends who are positive and supportive, and above all, happy.
Whatever you need to do to retrieve your happy self, do it and get on with your life in a joyous and positive way. You deserve to find yourself happy more often.