I’ve been preoccupied by the concept of happiness for some time. Since I was a kid in fact. As an introspective teen I often wondered what this was all about – our 75 times (give or take) around the sun. What did it all mean? What was the purpose? The intent? And what was the best way to spend those years?
At some point I concluded happiness was perhaps the best pursuit.
You see, I caught myself in a “happy” moment at some point in my teens on a family holiday in Italy – and I was instantly addicted. Sitting alone in a hotel room, surrounded by the cacophony of sounds that constructed that place (horns, sirens, vespas, loud Italian voices drifting in through the open window), I knew myself to be happy.
Sometimes we catch ourselves in those moments. It’s almost like an out of body experience, where we glimpse ourselves from above – the same as always, only this time, happy.
I then spent the better part of my twenties searching for happiness – mostly in Italy (because of course, that’s where happiness resided), but then in yoga, meditation and finally books. I pursued relentlessly. But as soon as I had a handle on the emotion, it would slip out of my grasp.
Eventually I embarked on the formal study of happiness, which manifested as a PhD – the study of happiness and the advertising industry. Surely uncovering the secrets to that emotion meant that I would eventually experience the sentiment on a minute-by-minute, day-by-day basis?
I fell into the happiness rabbit hole much like Alice, and the other punters before me. Along the way I discovered a whole heap of concepts which sat alongside that queen of all emotions – like the relationship between happiness and self, and the notion that consumer culture had become welded to our identity.
In my archaeological journey to the root of happiness I also unearthed something else. Happiness is not only close to my heart, but it’s sewn under all our skins. Embedded.
We’re all in the pursuit of it. Enthralled. Enraptured. Addicted.
Similarly, we feel its vacuum when it’s gone.
So, how can we be happy?
My book, Happy As, was released on the 1 July explores this very topic.
In this blog I’ll explore some of the key happiness concepts – the secrets to the emotion, what it comprises of and how we get there.